MOSCOW (MRC) -- Essar Oil (Mumbai, India) and clean energy specialist Progressive Energy (Stonehouse, UK) say they have agreed to partner on the development of two low-carbon hydrogen production plants at Essar’s Stanlow refinery in Cheshire, UK, that will supply Progressive’s planned HyNet low-carbon regional distribution network, accoring to Chemweek.
The companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly invest GBP750 million (USD1.02 billion) to build two hydrogen production hubs, they say. The first hub will initially produce 3 terawatt-hours (TWh) of low-carbon hydrogen each year from 2025, converting natural gas and fuel gases from the refinery. This will be followed by a facility twice as large, enabling a total capacity of over 9 TWh of hydrogen/year. Carbon dioxide (CO2) from the process will be captured and injected using existing pipelines into subsurface geological reservoirs offshore in Liverpool Bay on the UK’s west coast.
The Stanlow refinery produces 16% of UK road transport fuels and processes 10 million metric tonnes/year of crude oil and other feedstocks.
The new plants will provide Essar with low-carbon hydrogen to decarbonize its own energy demand, in addition to creating a regional hydrogen economy, Essar says. The hydrogen supplied into Progressive’s HyNet North West system will be used for both industrial and domestic purposes, it says.
The plants will utilize Johnson Matthey’s Low Carbon Hydrogen (LCH) technology, with engineering in partnership SNC-Lavalin well advanced, Essar says. An initial GBP7.5 million in funding for early engineering work on the hydrogen project was provided by the UK government in February last year.
The hydrogen development will set the Stanlow refinery “on a journey to be the UK’s first net-zero emission refinery,” says Stein Ivar Bye, CEO of Essar’s UK energy business. The project has the potential to remove over 2 million metric tonnes/year of CO2 emissions current being produced, he says.
Essar acquired Stanlow refinery from Shell in 2011.
As MRC reported earlier, in late September 2019, Essar resumed operations at its cracker in Stanlow, UK with the capacity of 45,000 mt/year of ethylene and 165,000 mt/year of propylene. It was shut on 11 September, 2019, due to the power outage at the site.
Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).
According to MRC's DataScope report, PE imports to Russia decreased in January-November 2020 by 17% year on year and reached 569,900 tonnes. High density polyethylene (HDPE) accounted for the greatest reduction in imports. At the same time, PP imports into Russia increased by 21% year on year to about 202,000 tonnes in the first eleven months of 2020. Propylene homopolymer (homopolymer PP) accounted for the main increase in imports.