Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has today (17 March) hailed a £3million Government investment and master plan to kick-start the UK’s first ever hydrogen hub being created in the region.
The hub, which could be fully operational by 2025, could also create up to 10,000 new jobs across the region and wider North-East over the next 30 years.
It will bring together government, industry and academia to focus research, testing and trials across all modes of transport, supporting a clean energy recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. By creating real world hydrogen transport pilots, it will also help to understand how hydrogen can be used to meet Government’s 2050 net zero ambitions.
The facility is just one of a number of projects announced to help the Tees Valley become a clean energy powerhouse for the UK.
It was recently revealed that GE Renewable Energy is establishing a wind turbine blade manufacturing site on Teesworks, alongside a £20million Government investment to create a port to serve the sector. Work is also continuing to establish Net Zero Teesside’s full-scale carbon capture, utilisation and storage project on the site, creating the UK’s first decarbonised cluster by 2030.
Mayor Houchen said: “From offshore wind manufacturing, carbon capture, utilization and storage and hydrogen, make no mistake Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool are at the forefront of powering forward the UK’s clean energy ambitions.
“Our region already produces more than 50% of the UK’s hydrogen so it was a no-brainer for the Government to set up the UK’s first Hydrogen Transport Hub in Teesside so we can properly utilise this and fully unleash our area’s potential.
“Growing the clean energy sector across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool is a key part of my plan for jobs, a plan that is delivering the clean, high-skilled, well-paid jobs which are essential for our future.
“From Net Zero Teesside to last week’s momentous announcement that GE Renewables will build the UK’s first ever factory to build blades for offshore wind turbines right here in Teesside, we are making huge progress. But there is so much more to do and we cannot put at risk what we have achieved.
“Teesside has led the world in steel manufacturing and engineering for generations. Now we are leading the world in the industries of the future.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “By harnessing the power of hydrogen technology, we have the opportunity to bring long-term prosperity right across the country.
“The Hub will establish the UK as a global leader in hydrogen technology, paving the way for its use across all transport modes and propelling us towards our net-zero goals.”
Pop-up trials could see shops, supermarkets, online retailers, warehouse operators and delivery companies using hydrogen-powered transport to move goods and carry out last mile deliveries.
It could also see local transport operators working with the transport research and development sector to deliver emission-free hydrogen passenger services, such as on demand regional buses, or zero-emission refuse vehicles.
The facilities within the hub also include a Research & Development campus for the creation and sharing of knowledge, so the Hub can act as a living lab to understand the role of hydrogen as part of the energy transition in the transport sector.