EDF plans 50-MW UK hydrogen project for steel, port operations

EDF is planning to develop a 30-50-MW electrolyzer in Teesside, UK, to produce renewable hydrogen for decarbonizing steel production in the region, the company said in a statement March 9.

The planned Tees Green Hydrogen plant, to be situated near the former Redcar steelworks, will be powered by the nearby Teesside Offshore Wind Farm, together with a new solar farm that EDF Renewables plans to construct close by.

The hydrogen production capacity could be scaled to over 500 MW as further demand emerges, EDF said.

“Tees Green Hydrogen […] will utilize locally produced green electricity to create the means to decarbonize local industry and safeguard its operation for many years to come, well beyond Net Zero 2050,” EDF Renewables UK Director of Strategy and Analysis Tristan Zipfel said in the statement. “In the current world climate the importance of locally produced renewable power cannot be underestimated.”

The hydrogen could be used to decarbonize port operations and steel production in the region, EDF said.

EDF is to supply PD Ports with hydrogen to decarbonize port operations, and British Steel has a memorandum of understanding with EDF Renewables on green hydrogen. British Steel launched a low-carbon road map in October, which includes plans to develop hydrogen use in its operations.

“This development will allow us to explore innovative technology options that could support the implementation of our low-carbon road map and our ambition to deliver net-zero steel by 2050,” British Steel’s Teesside operations manager, Matt Stockwell, said in the statement.

The project would directly support PD Ports’ ambitions to reach carbon neutrality across its Tees-based operations by 2027, CEO Frans Calje said.

A timeline for the project was not yet available, though EDF said detailed plans would be released later in 2022, and a consultation on the 49.9-MW Tees solar development is due later in March.

Conservative MP and chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for hydrogen Jacob Young said hydrogen projects were vital to the UK’s security of energy supply.

“Given the current uncertainties in gas prices, it’s vital that we see more projects like this which demonstrate diversity in our energy sector and embrace the fuels of the future, like hydrogen,” he said in the statement.

S&P Global Commodities Insights assessed the cost of producing hydrogen via alkaline electrolysis in the UK (including capex) at GBP15.80/kg ($20.79/kg) March 9, based on month-ahead grid power prices. Prices were down from a recent high of GBP20.88/kg on March 7, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine sent underlying gas and power prices higher.

— James Burgess