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21-03-2023

Shell Blue Hydrogen process wins Humber H2ub® process design package contract

The international energy company Uniper, and Shell UK Limited (Shell UK), have awarded Shell Catalysts & Technologies a contract to deliver a process design package for the Humber H2ub® project, using the Shell Blue Hydrogen Process (SBHP). The deal, which was awarded following a formal selection process, could see the technology deployed at Uniper and Shell UK’s proposed project in the Humber, UK, which aims to produce low-carbon hydrogen that could be used to decarbonise industry, transport and power throughout the region.

Two other companies are also working on plant design proposals for the project, and the one that is selected will become the Humber H2ub® project’s preferred low-carbon hydrogen production technology provider. That company will also support the project’s FEED and EPC stages, ahead of the financial investment decision (FID) which is expected by around 2025.

The proposals involve building a blue hydrogen production unit at Uniper’s Killingholme, UK, site, capable of generating 720MW of low-carbon hydrogen from natural gas (enough to heat more than half a million homes a year*). The carbon dioxide produced as a result of this process, estimated to be 1.6 million t/y, would be captured and stored permanently in a geological formation in the North Sea. This project could potentially contribute towards the UK government’s target to capture and store 20–30 million t/y of carbon by 2030 and to produce up to 10 GW of low carbon hydrogen.

Nick Flinn, Vice President, Decarbonisation Technologies, Shell Catalysts & Technologies, said: “Momentum is building for low-carbon hydrogen and also for the SBHP, which has recently been selected for a number of other Shell projects.

“Before we developed the SBHP in 2020, blue hydrogen projects only had steam methane reforming (SMR) or autothermal reforming (ATR) to select from. Now, the SBHP provides a third option. It uses Shell gas partial oxidation (SGP) technology and, in comparison with SMR and ATR, it captures carbon dioxide at higher pressures and at larger scales, which results in a lower levellised cost of hydrogen. With these advantages I believe we will develop a highly competitive process design package for the Humber H2ub®.”

Guy Phillips, Uniper Team Lead Business Development Hydrogen UK, said: “The award of process design package contracts represents a significant step towards our plans for low-carbon hydrogen production at Killingholme. This will help to decarbonise the UK’s largest carbon dioxide emitting industrial region. Hydrogen will be one of the solutions to achieve the UK’s target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050, and the Humber region and this project, will contribute to achieving it.”

The selection process involved Uniper and Shell UK sending a request for information in 2021 to a long list of technology companies. Based on this, they submitted requests for proposal documents which asked seven contractors to propose solutions for a final bid. Bidders had to submit costs, preliminary designs and bid concepts for the project team who were then able to select the contractors to carry out the full process design for the design competition.

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