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Plans unveiled for 20MW green hydrogen plant

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Global green hydrogen specialist Lhyfe has unveiled plans for its first UK plant to support the country’s net zero ambitions.

The company’s proposed facility in the North East of England is receiving support from Shepherd Offshore, a leading maritime and energy service provider, following the signing of a land deal.

If plans are approved, Lhyfe’s facility on the brownfield site of the historic Neptune Bank Power Station in Wallsend, North Tyneside, would have an initial capacity of 20 megawatts (MW), capable of producing up to eight tonnes of green hydrogen per day.

As an equivalent, eight tonnes would enable a hydrogen truck to travel approximately 100,000 km without emitting any CO2. With the same quantity, a car could go around the Earth 20 times or travel around 800,000 km.

Named Lhyfe Wallsend, the plant aims to supply a range of organisations seeking to decarbonise their manufacturing and transport operations.

Lhyfe is one of the world’s pioneers in the production renewable green hydrogen through water electrolysis, with its units being powered by green electricity. Water is fed into the electrolyser, which is split into hydrogen and oxygen meaning the only by-product is oxygen.

The France-based multinational’s first plant in Pays de la Loire, Western France, has been operational since the second half of 2021, with two more sites inaugurated in the Occitanie and Brittany regions in December 2023. Several other sites are currently under construction or extension across Europe.

The announcement comes 18 months after the organisation launched its’ UK subsidiary, headquartered in Newcastle, to meet the increasing demand from companies aiming to reduce their reliance on natural gas and other fossil fuels. The company reportedly aims to become a major supplier to energy-intensive industries and transportation, boosting the country’s energy security and creating new economic opportunities. It also has ambitions to develop offshore hydrogen production, tapping into the huge offshore wind potential the UK offers.

The proposed plant will occupy 4 acres of leased industrial-zoned land along the north bank of the River Tyne – a site once part of the Neptune Bank Power Station, an early 20th-century pioneer in high-voltage power distribution and a model for the National Grid.

Lhyfe Wallsend will use green electricity from the grid, complying with the UK Low Carbon Hydrogen Standard. The company is also exploring options to source power from local renewable assets, such as solar and wind.

The proposed plant is receiving support from Shepherd Offshore, a company that has more than 40 years of experience as leading UK service providers, developing and operating facilities, and supporting world-class manufacturing on the north bank of the River Tyne, who have also extensively redeveloped Neptune and Swans Energy Park. The company offers over 1,700 meters of quay frontage and more than 200 acres of overall capacity on the north bank of the Tyne.

The planning application will be submitted to North Tyneside Council in the spring, with a programme of community engagement underway, with the project subject to obtaining building permission and a financial investment decision.

Taia Kronborg, Chief Business Officer at Lhyfe, said:

“We are excited to announce North Tyneside as the site for our first UK green hydrogen production project. The development of green hydrogen projects is critical if major energy users are to decarbonise their operations. We hope this project will not only help the North East but the whole of the UK reach its net zero targets.

“At Lhyfe, we are demonstrating that green hydrogen is now a reality and a key driver of the clean energy transition. We have a strong ethos of working with partners and communities to create projects that deliver real local value, and this is a key focus in growing our operations in line with demand.”

Charles Shepherd, Managing Director at Shepherd Offshore, said:

“We at Shepherd Offshore are excited to announce the partnership with Lhyfe on the hydrogen production facility in Wallsend. Shepherd Offshore is fully committed to yet another critical milestone in the growing strength and evolution of the River Tyne and looks forward to welcoming Lhyfe to the north bank of the Tyne.”

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