Macquarie’s Green Investment Group (GIG) and gas network company SGN announced today a funding commitment confirming plans to explore the potential for a hydrogen super-hub in the Port of Southampton, on the south coast of the UK.

In November, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled his 10-point plan for the country’s Green Industrial Revolution as a central part of the UK plan to transition to a net zero economy by 2050 or earlier. The plan will involve tens of billions of pounds of investments in areas including renewable energy, clean mobility and green building initiatives, and calls for partnership on the initiatives between the public and private sectors. One of the key areas of the plan was the for the development of hydrogen production capacity, with a 2030 target for 5GW of low carbon hydrogen capacity for industry, transport, power and homes.

Ed Northam, Head of GIG Europe, said:

“The UK has been a global leader in the deployment of new energy technologies, and is now pushing for a full economy transition backed by bold partnerships between the public and private sectors. We believe that we can play an important role in accelerating this transition by looking for new opportunities to support innovative emerging technologies like hydrogen.”

According to GIG, Southampton, one of six major industrial clusters identified by the UK Government, emits around 2.6 million tonnes of CO2 from various industrial activities, and customers connected to SGN’s network for heat. The partners stated that a scheme incorporating carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS) technology could reduce these emissions, and further decarbonisation of highly polluting activities could be achieved through localised hydrogen production.

Gus McIntosh, Director of Energy Futures at SGN, said:

“We’re at the forefront of hydrogen exploration and Southampton could easily become a world benchmark for decarbonising whole industrial areas. That would bring cleaner air, large numbers of jobs, and new economic opportunities in hydrogen production and export.”

The partners also announced the commissioning of engineering consulting firm WSP to prepare a feasibility study investigating opportunities to decarbonise local industry and transport, and to create a centre of excellence for hydrogen production and distribution in the region. WSP will conduct a six-month programme of engagement with local stakeholders, aimed at developing a clear understanding of the potential to decarbonise industrial emissions.

Ben Clarke, Head of Gas Networks at WSP, said:

“This study will help us understand the potential to decarbonise the Southampton Water industrial cluster through the use of hydrogen and carbon capture. The government has signalled their keenness for hydrogen and CCUS to be explored at pace and we’re delighted to be supporting SGN and GIG on this project.”