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Hydrogen – Helping to meet the UKs Net Zero targets

James Glass of “Progressive Energy” gave a most interesting talk on the production of “Blue Hydrogen”, which is seen a means of producing Hydrogen in the short term in a manner which is both economic and does not emit Carbon Dioxide. 


Hydrogen offers the advantages of a fossil fuel  as an energy source but is seen as a “Green” fuel as it does not generate Carbon Dioxide emissions.  


The talk stared with some definitions 

GREY HYDROGEN – This is where Steam and Methane react in the presence of a catalyst to form Hydrogen and Cardon Dioxide.  The Cardon Dioxide is emitted.  This process has been around for over 100 years 

GREEN HYDROGEN:- This is where Electricity from a renewable source, such a s wind, is used to  produce hydrogen via electrolysis.  No Cardon Dioxide is emitted.  This is seen as the ultimate way of producing hydrogen but is not economic and is not expected to be so in the medium term. 

BLUE HYDROGEN:- This is where a process similar to Grey Hydrogen is used along with Carbon Capture and Storage to produce low cost Hydrogen without emitting Carbon Dioxide.  Blue Hydrogen is seen as a stop gap measure which can be implemented in the short term allowing a hydrogen network to the set up and used whilst waiting for Green Hydrogen to become available.     


James described the “Vertex” Hydrogen plant which is currently under development on the Stanlow refinery site.  The plant will produce Blue Hydrogen and store the Carbon Dioxide generated in existing, depleted gas fields in Liverpool and Morecambe bay.  He also described how this system could be used to store Carbon Dioxide from other industries such as cement production (where most of the Carbon Dioxide emitted is due to the process chemistry as opposed to the energy used).   


He also explained the suitability of the Cheshire salt beds (Near Northwich) for use as storage for Hydrogen.  The combination the Stanlow Oil refinery as a source of Hydrogen, the nearby depleted gas fields (and existing piping infrastructure) as a storage location for the captured Carbon dioxide and the suitability of the Cheshire salt beds for Hydrogen storage make the North West area ideal for development of Blue Hydrogen as a fuel.         


There followed a wide ranging question and answer session where James shared a lot of interesting information about the likely future direction of the use of Hydrogen as a fuel, some of the practical difficulties and their likely solutions.   


The feedback received was excellent 


Many thanks James  



John Pollard 

I.Mech.E. Regional Chairman – Merseyside and N Wales 

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