Published date 22 February 2024

West’s first “Green Hydrogen” plant to be opened by Regional Mayor

Metro Mayor Dan Norris meets businesses and people in the West of England at IAAPS hydrogen plant

The first green hydrogen plant which will produce and store the zero-emission fuel in the West of England was opened by regional Mayor, Dan Norris, this week.

The unit is based at IAAPS, the state-of-the-art engineering and innovation centre in Emersons Green, and has been funded with a £2.5m cash injection from the West of England Mayoral Combined Authority, which Mr Norris leads.

Green hydrogen is made from water by removing the oxygen through a process called electrolysis, which requires a lot of energy. But it currently accounts for just 1% of the hydrogen produced globally.

It’s different from "grey" hydrogen - which is currently made through fossil fuel-powered electrolysis, meaning it is far less environmentally friendly.
The zero-emission energy created at the plant will be used to make IAAPS fully self-sufficient while they carry out research on how to use green hydrogen in sectors like aviation, shipping and heavy-duty transport. Importantly, avoiding the use of grey H2 will save around 84% of the carbon emissions.

A key area of research at the new plant will be hydrogen storage – which includes a facility to cool the gas to below -250C. Finding a practical method of storing hydrogen is seen as key to making it viable versus fossil fuels for these tricky-to-decarbonise sectors,

The green hydrogen production capability is the first of its kind in the region, according to Norris, who said the project will bring an estimated £5m to the West as firms move to the region to undertake research at the site.

The green plant was officially opened by Mr Norris who cut the ceremonial ribbon alongside Professor Chris Brace, Executive Director of IAAPS.

Mr Norris said: “Green hydrogen is one really important solution to the world’s climate problems - it’s powerful and there’s lots of it. The potential when it comes to slashing emissions in those hard-to-decarbonise sectors like transport, and others, is huge. That’s why I’m pleased to open the region’s first ever green hydrogen plant funded by a £2.5m cash injection from my Mayoral Combined Authority which could really help lead to green hydrogen being much more widely used globally. It just goes to show how our West of England region really is becoming a zero-emission and innovation leader.”

Professor Chris Brace, Executive Director, IAAPS. added: "Green hydrogen represents a pivotal shift towards a more sustainable and environmentally responsible energy landscape, offering immense potential as a clean alternative to traditional fossil fuels. At IAAPS, we recognise the transformative power of H2 technologies, in particular for the hard to electrify sectors of the mobility industry.

"Our new hydrogen production plant, in tandem with our cutting edge H2 research facilities, provides us and our partners with the tools that we need to accelerate this transition. It's not only a regional beacon, but also a national asset, crucial in driving forward sustainable R&I and actively addressing the challenges of climate change."

The Mayoral Combined Authority has also provided cash for the IAAPS ‘Hydrogen Sustainable Transport Economy Accelerator’ consortium project, and £10m for the IAAPS building itself.

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