Freeport East hydrogen hub aims to boost green recovery

The figures behind the Felixtowe and Harwich Freeport scheme have said its hydrogen hub will boost the government’s decarbonisation agenda.

The planned hub at the Freeport East project aims to include an innovative transport decarbonisation scheme – and could be a key pillar in the UK’s net zero capabilities in the build-up to COP26, the developers said.

The scheme will include a zone for zero emission vehicles with a cluster based approach to hydrogen supply and demand, which will allow for a rapid roll-out of hydrogen buses, trucks, emergency vehicles, trains, construction and agricultural vehicles across the region.

Freeport East is centred upon the Port of Felixstowe and Harwich International Port, both operated by Hutchison Ports, part of the CK Hutchison group. Other partners are South East and New Anglia LEPs, Suffolk and Essex county councils, Mid Suffolk Council, East Suffolk Council, Tendring District Council, Harwich Haven Authority and the Haven Gateway Partnership. The project will generate 13,500 new jobs, investment of over £500m and provide £5.5bn to the economy over five years.

Jo Bamford, Executive Chairman of Ryse-Hydrogen, said it would rival the world’s biggest ‘green’ projects’ – and could potentially power the whole of London’s bus fleet in hydrogen alone.

“The Freeport East Hydrogen Hub will be seen as a global ‘heavy-weight’ decarbonisation project, with delivery achievable within 18 months due to the significant private organisations involved, and the pace at which they are able to begin investment.

“The Government wants to kick-start a green recovery and it is projects like this one which can deliver. In addition to hydrogen production and zero-emission transport at the ports, it contributes to the nuclear power programme, will use power from wind farms off the East Anglian coast, will drive innovation and promote green maritime – that’s six boxed ticked of the PM’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution.”

At its peak, the project will produce 1GW of hydrogen – 20% of the 5GW target in the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, the developers said.

Speaking about the plan, George Kieffer, chairman of the Freeport East Project Board, said: “Green energy is at the heart of the Freeport East proposition. The development of the Hydrogen Hub, and the involvement of serious partners in Ryse-Hydrogen and EDF, shows that ours is a proposal backed by real substance.

“By creating a hotbed for green energy innovation Freeport East will create high-value jobs helping drive regeneration both locally and nationally.

Julia Pyke, director at Sizewell C, said: “Using reliable nuclear power from Sizewell B and C alongside renewables, Freeport East has the potential to host one of the most exciting ‘green’ hydrogen schemes in the UK. Suffolk has great opportunities to benefit from the combination of its nuclear
and renewables industry, its ports, and the construction of Sizewell C using hydrogen vehicles wherever possible, to build a hydrogen economy and be at the forefront of this exciting development.”

Clemence Cheng, managing director, Hutchison Ports Europe, said: “The development of the Hydrogen Hub will allow the Port of Felixstowe and Harwich International to lead in the development of alternative fuel port equipment. Establishing a test-bed to showcase hydrogen’s potential in a port environment will establish the UK as a clear leader in developments that will help address climate change and the net-zero agenda.

“With the largest road, rail and maritime freight hub in the country as part of our bid, we have the scale necessary to secure the early take-up of hydrogen power across the freight and maritime sectors.”

  • image courtesy of Freeport East

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