Sep 2023

IGEM CEO attends the launch of the UK’s largest inland hydrogen cluster

IGEM CEO Oliver Lancaster attended the launch of East Midlands Hydrogen at the Toyota manufacturing site in Derby on 22 September.

D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership is leading the initiative with Cadent Gas Limited to enable a broad range of businesses and services to make connections and build on how hydrogen will benefit them.

It was a strong collective statement on behalf of industry and regional politicians and bodies, which outlined the importance of producing, distributing and consuming hydrogen within this inland cluster.

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Lord Callanan, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance, outlined how hydrogen could play a huge role in the region in terms of jobs and investment.

He was encouraged by the formation of this cluster and can help with the UK's bold ambition to be one of the best hydrogen economies in the world.

Dharmesh Jadavji, Head of Hydrogen Business Model Allocation in the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, gave a summary of their facilitating of investment in hydrogen production through the hydrogen allocation rounds.

However, it came across clearly that this fledgling industry was facing a delay before transport and storage business models would go live in 2025, and thus government only having a focus on co-located production and demand until then.

A broad range of industry joined in with the conversation, with some voicing their role in employing people across the region now. The stage gave its delivery of statistics regarding how much natural gas each business uses, how important hydrogen is to their decarbonisation journey, and how much hydrogen they envisage needing by 2040.

Organisations who gave their views included senior representatives of the NHS, British Sugar, Hanson and East Midlands Airport.

What came across was a clear ask, or rather need, for a hydrogen network to deliver to their premises.

The volumes they require are vast – with a brickworks an example of how they can produce and use hydrogen onsite as a demonstrator, but for the transformation of the entire works, the requirement is for Cadent to step up with the distribution infrastructure to deliver the hydrogen.

Lack of capacity in the electricity network is leading their direction of travel with hydrogen.

It was staggering to hear of the NHS need for hydrogen across its properties to feed CHP, and that changing over to low temperature heating in hospitals is, practically, a non-starter.

Likewise, Mercia Power who operate flexible gas engines to keep the lights on when demand is high or renewables are low, are also looking to hydrogen pipelines as being critical to their net zero dispatchable electricity generation sites that, on average, use 1.9 TWh of gas per year.

Helped in part by the anticipated role of hydrogen in aviation at the airport, the businesses being interviewed had a collective ask for over 7.3 TWh by 2040 within this cluster.

With IGEM at the heart of this region, we’ll be playing our part as a reginal partner from a technical, policy and communications perspective, but also in being able to bring a network of hundreds of Company Members in the emerging hydrogen supply chain to engage and participate.