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#H2Explainer: What is Southampton’s hydrogen super-hub?

31 January 2022

Press contacts

Ed Gill

Communications Lead, Gas Goes Green

+44 (0)20 4599 7684

[email protected]

ENA Press Office

+44 (0)20 4599 7691
[email protected]

Southampton is home to one of the UK’s busiest ports, with around 2.6 million tonnes of carbon emitted each year. How can reducing those emissions help households too?

On the south coast of England, the Southampton Water project looks to support the decarbonisation of local industry and transport.

The city has been identified by the UK Government as one of Britain’s six Industrial Clusters, which are distinct because they have a significant number of industrial sites in the same location.

These Clusters are expected to act as the foundation for the world’s first zero-carbon gas grid, with the use of hydrogen for reducing carbon emissions in other areas, such as home heating, growing outwards from them over time.

The Clusters include businesses that manufacture products such as chemicals, iron, steel, glass, ceramics, and paper, which are sold both home and abroad. In the case of Southampton, shipping (both by sea and land) and storage is the largest sector of the city’s economy, due to its world-leading port.

Around the world, hydrogen is expected to have a leading role in reducing the emissions of heavy goods vehicles and maritime shipping because of its ability to safely and securely deliver the large amounts of energy that are needed to power big trucks and ships that need to travel long distances without refuelling.

As we set out in our recent Innovation Impacts report, local gas network SGN’s plans for the city are the biggest proposed investment in hydrogen innovation projects out of all the gas distribution networks. Over the next ten years, the company has proposed investing £1.1bn, which could create 4,500 high-tech, green jobs for people working for network companies and their associated supply chain partners.

“We’re at the forefront of hydrogen exploration and Southampton could easily become a world benchmark for decarbonising whole industrial areas,” says Angus McIntosh, SGN’s Director of Energy Futures, said in December last year. “That would bring cleaner air, large numbers of jobs, and new economic opportunities in hydrogen production and export.”

The project will investigate the feasibility of developing a hydrogen super-hub at the Port of Southampton to help deliver hydrogen production and distribution across the entire south coast of England. In practice, this means it will scope the site’s suitability as a centre of excellence for hydrogen production and distribution, carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), and other green technologies. 

Eventually, it aims to further develop this by laying the foundations for further decarbonisation in high emission sectors like shipping and industry and, laying the groundwork for the full conversion of SGN’s gas network in the south of England away from natural gas.

So, in helping Southampton reduce its carbon emissions from its world-leading industry, SGN is also helping open the door to the residents of southern England, to reduce their home carbon emissions through the use of hydrogen, an example of how tomorrow’s heat is today’s opportunity.    

Notes to editors

Gas Goes Green #H2Explainers are a series of blogs setting all the key information you need to know about how Britain’s gas networks are working to deliver hydrogen to our homes, as part of our 'Tomorrow's Heat, Today's Opportunity' campaign. Check out the ENA Newsroom to find other articles and updates from both gas and electricity network companies.

About Energy Networks Association

Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body representing the companies which operate the electricity wires, gas pipes and energy system in the UK and Ireland.

ENA helps its members meet the challenge of delivering electricity and gas to communities across the UK and Ireland safely, sustainably and reliably.

Its members include every major electricity and gas network operator in the UK and Ireland, independent operators, National Grid ESO which operates the electricity system in Great Britain and National Grid Gas which operates the gas system in Great Britain. Its affiliate membership also includes companies with an interest in energy, including Heathrow Airport and Network Rail.

What are energy network operators?

Energy network operators manage and maintain the wires, pipes and other infrastructure which delivers electricity and gas to your home, business and community. They are private companies which are regulated by Ofgem and employ around 45,000 people in the UK and Ireland. They are represented by their industry body, Energy Networks Association (that's us).

Energy supplier or network operator? Energy network operators are entirely separate to your energy supplier, which is the company that bills you for using electricity and gas. Energy suppliers and generators are represented by Energy UK.

Press contacts

Ed Gill

Communications Lead, Gas Goes Green

+44 (0)20 4599 7684

[email protected]

ENA Press Office

+44 (0)20 4599 7691
[email protected]

Downloads

GGG Innovation Impacts report

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GGG Industrial Clusters pamphlet

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GGG Industrial Clusters Infographic

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