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The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has announced £6.1m for the Bay Hydrogen Hub.

More progress on exciting hydrogen plans for Heysham 2

By EDF | Posted September 13, 2023

Bold plans to use nuclear generated hydrogen to decarbonise a key British industry, have taken another huge step forward.

Today the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has announced £6.1m for the Bay Hydrogen Hub – Hydrogen4Hanson scheme, a figure that will be matched by the project partners. The funding is from the government’s £1 billion  Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP), which provides funding for low-carbon technologies and systems.

The hub, a consortium made up of EDF, construction materials producer Hanson, National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), and Vulcan Burners, is aiming to pilot a project in which nuclear derived hydrogen is used to decarbonise asphalt and cement production.

The Government and industry funding, which combined will exceed £15m, will go towards developing a final design for the hydrogen production, distribution and end use technology and for exploring the full costs and delivery plans.

Rachael Glaving, Commercial Director at EDF, said: “For decades nuclear power in the UK has provided zero-carbon electricity to the grid and helped to constrain the nation’s emissions, collectively saving more than 700m tonnes of carbon dioxide going to the atmosphere.

“But we know nuclear power can do even more to drive the nation towards decarbonisation. Our hope is that this project shows industries that are dependent on fossil fuels, as well as the nuclear sector, that by working together we can build a lower carbon future for industry and confirm the UK’s place as a global decarbonisation technology leader.”

The Bay Hydrogen Hub proposes to build a solid oxide electrolysis cell (SOEC) electrolyser at Heysham 2 Power Station in Lancashire. The station, which generates 1.25Gw of electricity, will divert small quantities of electricity and steam, generated by the nuclear process, to an SOEC built onsite. This would create hydrogen, which would then be transported in modern high-capacity tankers, to Hanson’s Criggion asphalt plant in North Wales.

There the hydrogen would be used to fuel the industrial processes which presently use a mix of liquid fossil fuel. At present, no facility in the world has used hydrogen as a fuel for asphalt production. Earlier in 2023, a feasibility study demonstrated the significant benefit the project would bring in proving how nuclear could power hydrogen electrolysis.

Gareth Headdock, Vice President of Government and New Build, National Nuclear Laboratory, said: "This project places the UK as a global leader in the development of nuclear enabled hydrogen. We are really excited to see this new application of nuclear energy, along with the increasing investment in advanced nuclear. As we invest in the next generation of scientists and engineers, the Bay Hydrogen Hub is building the skills we need for our hydrogen future.”

Simon Willis, CEO Hanson UK, said: “Nuclear power derived hydrogen has the potential to be a complete game-changer for decarbonising asphalt and cement production. Our involvement in the Bay Hydrogen Hub project underscores our commitment to lead the way by investing in cutting edge technologies to prove they can deliver in real-world situations and help us meet our net zero goals. 

“Hanson has already successfully shown that hydrogen can be used as part of a net zero fuel mix at our cement works in Ribblesdale, Lancashire, but its use as a fuel at an asphalt site has not yet been physically demonstrated anywhere in the world. It’s an exciting time and we are hopeful that the project will demonstrate another key step forward towards the decarbonisation of our industry.”

Over the coming months, the project partners will develop the full designs for the electrolyser and scope and cost all works that will be required at Heysham 2 to take the scheme forward. Once this work is concluded, a decision will be made which could see construction, and supporting physical works, begin at the power station in early 2024.

Notes for editors

About Hanson

Hanson UK is a leading supplier of heavy building materials to the construction industry. It is split into four business lines – aggregates (crushed rock, sand and gravel), concrete, asphalt and contracting and cement – which together operate around 280 manufacturing sites and employ more than 3,500 people. For more information visit the Hanson siteHanson UK is part of Heidelberg Materials, one of the world’s largest integrated manufacturers of building materials and solutions, with leading market positions in cement, aggregates and ready-mixed concrete. It is represented in over 50 countries with more than 51,000 employees at almost 3,000 sites. At the centre of its actions lies responsibility for the environment. As the forerunner on the path to carbon neutrality and circular economy in the building materials industry, it is working on sustainable building materials and solutions for the future. It enables new opportunities for customers through digitalisation. For more information visit the Heidelberg Materials site

About EDF

EDF’s Heysham site has been identified by the UK Government as one of the UK’s prime sites for new nuclear development. EDF is helping Britain achieve Net Zero by leading the transition to a cleaner, low emission, electric future and tackling climate change. It is the UK’s largest producer of low-carbon electricity(1) and supplies millions of customers with electricity and gas. It generates low carbon electricity from five nuclear power stations and more than thirty onshore wind farms and two offshore wind farmsEDF is leading the UK's nuclear renaissance with the construction of a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C, and there are advanced plans for a replica at Sizewell C in Suffolk. Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C will provide low carbon electricity to meet 14% of UK demand and power around 12 million homes. EDF is one of the UK’s largest investors in renewables, with more than 1GW of renewable generation in operation and over 4GW in construction, planning and development across a range of technologies including onshore and offshore wind, solar and battery storage. We are constructing our largest offshore wind farm in Britain – the 450 MW Neart na Gaoithe project in Scotland. EDF is helping its customers, both in business and at home, take their first steps to sustainably powering their lives. Whether it is buying an electric car, generating and storing electricity, selling energy back to the grid or installing a heat pump. EDF is one of the largest suppliers to British business and a leading supplier of innovative energy solutions that are helping businesses become more energy independent. In addition, the company’s energy services business, Imtech, is one of the largest technical service providers in the UK and Ireland. EDF is part of EDF Group, the world’s biggest electricity generator. In the UK, the company employs around 11,000 people at locations across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

About NNL

NNL is the UK’s national laboratory responsible for nuclear fission R&D and occupies a unique position in the nuclear innovation environment, taking science from inactive laboratory-scale demonstration to deployment. It is the custodian of unique world-leading nuclear skills, facilities and equipment vital to the UK and aims to support policy and provide long-term sustainable value for the UK in four Focus Areas: Clean Energy, Environmental Restoration, Health & Nuclear Medicine, and Nuclear Security & Non-Proliferation. Visit the National Nuclear Laboratory site.

About Vulcan Burners

Founded in 2005, Vulcan Burners has become one of the leading burner manufacturers for asphalt plant technology. Designed, engineered and manufactured in the heart of the world's largest materials handling export hub of Northern Ireland, Vulcan Burners has a global reach with an extensive international dealership network. The Vulcan Burner is created on a foundation of efficiency, innovation, and versatility providing the asphalt user with a progressive production experience. For more information, please visit the Vulcan Burners site.

About the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero, Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP)

The Industrial Hydrogen Accelerator Programme provides funding for innovation projects that can provide evidence on end-to-end industrial fuel switching to hydrogen, from feasibility through to demonstration. It is part of the government’s £1 billionNet Zero Innovation Portfolio, which provides funding for low-carbon technologies and systems. Decreasing the costs of decarbonisation, the Portfolio will help enable the UK to end its contribution to climate change. For more information please see GOV.UK's information on the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio and Industrial Hydrogen Accelerator Programme.


For more information

Matthew Pardo
External Communications Manager (South)
(T) 01452 654545
(M) 07384 529006


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