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A site in Ellesmere Port is one of two shortlisted sites set to lead the way in replacing natural gas by becoming the UK’s first hydrogen powered community.
The Whitby community of the Cheshire town is set to pilot the way in using hydrogen as a low-carbon alternative to traditional natural gas infrastructure for heating homes. Proposals for the scheme have been put forward by Cheshire West and Chester Council, gas distribution company Cadent, and energy giant, British Gas, and will see around 2,000 homes transferred over to this alternative fuel.
Proposals will see residents get their existing boilers replaced with hydrogen-compatible alternatives, with household bills charged as if they continued to receive natural gas to their homes. Hydrogen fuel is also compatible with existing infrastructure for natural gas, meaning no works to lay or replace pipelines will be necessary to deliver the change.
The Ellesmere Port location has been chosen for the project thanks to its proximity to a major planned hydrogen manufacturing facility (pictured), which also will act as the locus for HyNet, the North-west region’s planned hydrogen distribution network and associated green manufacturing cluster.
The project is part of the North-west’s ambitions to become carbon neutral by 2045, and will supply industrial sites with green energy throughout the region, as well as deliver a network of fuelling stations for powered HGVs and public transport across Cheshire, driven by hydrogen-fuel cells. Runcorn-based Inovyn recently announced a Europe-wide €2 billion investment which will see the production of high-quality hydrogen for fuel cells expanded to support the Ellesmere Port site.
A second site in Teesside, also close to a hydrogen plant is also being considered for the pilot programme.