Hornsea Two to Power Industrial Scale Offshore Wind-to-Hydrogen Plant from 2025

The consortium behind the Gigastack offshore wind-to-hydrogen project plans to have a 100 MW electrolyser system up and running in the Humber, UK, in 2025.

Source: Ørsted

ITM Power, Ørsted, Phillips 66, and Element Energy have now published a report, highlighting the progress made on the project to date and describing the pathway to a final investment decision within the next 18 months, and commercial operation in 2025, subject to a supportive policy environment.

Funded to date as part of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Hydrogen Supply Competition, Gigastack is a multi-phase programme aimed at proving renewable hydrogen at industrial scale and demonstrating the full decarbonisation potential of offshore wind in the UK’s largest industrial cluster.

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Gigastack Phase 2 has taken feasibility stage concepts through Front End Engineering Design for a 100 MW electrolyser system, using renewable power from Hornsea Two, the world’s largest offshore wind farm, to provide renewable hydrogen to the Phillips 66 Humber Refinery to replace hydrocarbon-based fuels within industrial-scale fired heaters.

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”The Phillips 66 Humber Refinery is a UK leader in the production of lower carbon fuels and the only European producer of graphite coke for electric vehicle batteries. Gigastack is an exciting part of the Refinery’s decarbonisation journey and we look forward to progressing the project through to deployment,” Philip Gothard, Project Development Lead Humber Refinery at Phillips 66, said.

The Phase 2 has seen ITM Power progress its next generation of electrolyser technology and move into their new Gigafactory in Bessemer Park, Sheffield, now the world’s largest electrolyser production facility – representing a step-change in ambition and capacity, enabling a 40 per cent reduction in costs for electrolyser stacks over the next three years, the consortium said.

Ørsted and Phillips 66 have developed the technical design for an industry-scale renewable hydrogen facility near Immingham, exploring the current policy and regulatory landscape, identifying barriers to developing large-scale renewable hydrogen production facilities, with potential solutions identified and building a business case to map a pathway to an investable proposition. The study suggests an opportunity to significantly reduce the Levelized Cost of Hydrogen (LCOH) by around 47 per cent by 2030.

”The findings from the Gigastack project provide an important step for renewable hydrogen in the UK and highlight the decarbonisation opportunities achievable with the right support framework in place,” Duncan Clark, Head of Region UK at Ørsted, said.

”Offshore wind provides enormous potential with the installed capacity we already have in the UK and with huge amounts more to come. There is a genuine opportunity to support the pathway to net-zero for energy-intensive industry through truly green hydrogen and for the UK to be at the global forefront of renewable hydrogen development and deployment.”

The Gigastack project is expected to lay the groundwork for future expansion in the Humber region and will catalyse the renewable hydrogen sector by providing a blueprint for scalable electrolyser technology in the UK. 

”The consortium has demonstrated to the UK Government and the wider hydrogen sector the benefits of renewable hydrogen alongside a pathway to commercialisation and deployment of a GW-scale electrolyser facility by the end of 2025, subject to government support. The Gigastack project has the potential to catalyse the large-scale production and supply of renewable hydrogen in the UK, an important step in our wider decarbonisation journey to net zero,” Matthew Wilson, Senior Consultant at Element Energy, said.

The project has already helped create more than 100 jobs at ITM Power’s Gigafactory and the initial 100 MW is projected to create an additional 180 jobs, whilst an expansion to 1 GW by 2030 could contribute up to GBP 2.5bn Gross Value Added and 1,700 permanent jobs to Immingham’s local economy.

The consortium will seek to work with UK Government over the next twelve months to secure revenue support, agree specific deployment targets for renewable hydrogen, and ensure the Gigastack deployment target of 2025 is achieved.

”Gigastack is exactly the kind of project that will help to make the UK a world leader in technologies that can help the whole world address climate change issues. Backing green hydrogen now will deliver investment, skilled jobs and leadership in an energy transition sector that is set to grow exponentially over the coming decade. We need to be ready for that growth,” Dr Graham Cooley, CEO of ITM Power, said.