Hynet is an ambitious Government backed project to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 10m tonnes every year by 2030 – the equivalent of taking 4m cars off the road. Hynet aims to reduce fossil fuel use and replace it with low carbon hydrogen in industry, transport and heating. Low carbon hydrogen will be produced, transported and stored across the North West and North Wales via a new infrastructure of pipelines, production plants and storage facilities. Hynet also state that via a series of different elements and infrastructure CO2 emissions will be captured and stored by industries which cannot move to a low carbon fuel. Hynet say that the project is a ” real catalyst for clean growth” and will create thousands of jobs and investment for the region, and improve air quality for a “cleaner, greener future for the years to come. “
Back in January the Hynet plans for Cheshire and beyond were discussed at an event at Storyhouse . MP Chris Matheson chaired the event and commented that “I believe we could lead the way in West Cheshire, but I also understand why some people have reservations. I have talked many times about how we need to mobilise industry to tackle the climate crisis, to create the green jobs of the future and to work collaboratively to re-think how we create energy, manage waste and reduce carbon. “. The debate can be viewed here:
The council have welcomed the initiative with plans recently revealed for huge CO2 pipeline network at Protos in Ellesmere Port. Hydrogen production plants will be built at nearby Stanlow. The Council have also proposed Ellesmere Port as the UK’s first “hydrogen village” with residents supported in the move away from natural gas to hydrogen for heating and cooking.
The full Hynet vision can be viewed here https://hynet.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/HyNet_NW-Vision-Document-2020_FINAL.pdf
Cheshire West and Chester Green party are opposing the plans. Leader Nicholas Brown offers he following comments . The article below is the opinion of Cwac Green party and are NOT endorsed by The Chester Blog or @shitchester.
” Hynet is a programme that takes a number of different fossil fuel organisations and high carbon dioxide producers and users, and puts them together in one well-funded programme that is going to take place in Cheshire. Their business aims to produce Hydrogen to use as a fuel, capture the emissions and store them under the sea. If Hynet reduced CO2 emissions as they say, we would be in favour of it, however this is yet an unproven technology with most scientific evidence and peer reviewed data saying that at best, it is a distraction to allow fossil fuel companies to continue business as usual.
“We currently use natural gas to heat our homes, cook our food and for a number of industrial uses. The Blue hydrogen produced by Hynet has the potential to create more CO2 and Methane than the current output accelerating the effects of climate change. Hynet’s assumptions of this being a ‘low carbon solution’ are based on what we call “carbon capture and storage”. The idea is that there are empty oil and gas fields under the Liverpool Bay, and they are going to take the carbon dioxide produced by the hydrogen plants and they will pump it into the bay. When its full they are going to put a concrete cap over it where it will stay forever. Monitored for potentially thousands of years.
“Hydrogen can be Grey, Blue or Green. Grey hydrogen is where natural gas fossil fuels are pumped out of the ground and, using a huge amount of energy, a plant breaks it down into hydrogen and other component parts. You have large Carbon and methane emissions and leakage at the emission points and in the pipes. Just look at the recent oil pipe leak in Liverpool Bay from ENi, Hynets partner responsible for piping the Carbon back out to sea. This is very polluting.
“This Grey Hydrogen only turns to Blue Hydrogen when the emissions are then captured and stored somewhere. Money is being pumped into this and they aren’t green jobs it’s just rebranded fossil fuel. This will be based on the existing Essar oil site. They will need to do some remedial work to get the pipe into the Liverpool Bay and there will be consultations on how people will be affected. It requires a huge amount of energy to get the gas back into the ground as well. It is complicated, polluting and not required.
“Carbon Capture and Storage has been done in 4 places in the world and they only capture a maximum of 43% of the CO2 they are emitting. Hynet are suggesting that they will capture close to 80%, but have no evidence of how they aim to achieve this level. This is an unproven technology that hasn’t been done on a large scale before. Their plans are to build a hydrogen plant that is burning significant quantities of natural gas, producing more emissions than just using natural gas as we do today and their answer to the problem is to stuff it away under the sea and not worry about it. Kick the can down the road and let future generations worry about the consequences.
“Green hydrogen uses renewable energy such as wind turbines to create electricity. Using this energy water is electrolysed splitting it into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen gets pumped to wherever its being used. When this burns its only emission is water…Amazing! However, it requires a huge amount of green electricity to produce and a huge amount of land. A new plant is being built in Northern Ireland called GenComm which will use excess wind energy to store as hydrogen. This is the future, NOT Blue Hydrogen.
“This is being tested out here and it’s never been done in the UK. The government is giving significant money to the oil companies to test this. Cheshire is the preferred site because it’s all ready to go. The hydrogen switchover is similar to when it was revealed smoking caused cancer, the response from the tobacco companies was to bring out low tar cigarettes not to stop people smoking. This is the same problem!
“The gas is going to come from Russia or Continental Africa, or it will be home grown. There was a comment from someone in the Conservative party who said the British people need to “suck it up” and accept earthquakes because we need home grown gas. It seems the Conservatives are desperate to restart fracking and a hydrogen plant is desperate to suck in huge amounts of gas. We either import it or frack it. It won’t be long until local fracking is back on the cards. One of the Hynet partners is Ineos, and they were part of the fracking team that we all fought against a few years back.
“I would ask Chris Matheson to support our campaign and to stand up to the Government. The Government currently give 25 million pounds a day to the oil companies. That’s just to support them, they’re making record profits and they’ve put our prices up significantly and they’re still getting these huge quantities of cash thrown at them. Reduce the money we give to these companies and put it into home insulation and renewables, so we wouldn’t be linked to gas and oil prices from Russia and around the world, and we wouldn’t have this threat of fracking hanging over us.
“You can go to a shop today and you can buy insulation for your home, and you can buy a heat pump. The technology is there. A heat pump is like a fridge in reverse. As a fridge sucks out warm air and spits it out the back, a heat pump sucks the air from outside, heats it and it’s pumped into your home. They are super-efficient. If you had 100kwh of electricity, with a normal one bar heater it would emit 86kwh, so it would be 86% efficient. A heat pump is 270% efficient, compared to hydrogen which is 46% efficient, there’s no contest. If you insulate your home as well you are taking yourself off the gas grid and you’re not kowtowing to international funding, regulations and gas. We can do that now, today.
“The Green Party want more wind and solar farms. When building new homes, Cheshire West could make it so all that new homes had to have solar panels and be insulated to a high standard. If we insulate to a Passivhaus standard (or even slightly lower) we are taking people away from fuel poverty. The council could refuse planning unless certain standards are met. Meanwhile Chris Matheson could lean on the government to redivert the money given to the oil companies to renewable sources. Our economy is intrinsically linked to Big Oil. There are Government Ministers with shares or work in consultancies with the oil companies, and it does provide thousands of jobs. However, it is complete contradiction to our COP26 commitments. Green jobs are being touted – yes, a lot will be invested, but the transitional technology for Hynet’s “Blue hydrogen” and Sustainable ‘Green Hydrogen’ is completely different.
“The arguments for it are you will have hydrogen coming out of the plants to your homes and businesses, that will power us through the next twenty years without upsetting the current power structure with oil and gas companies at the top, dictating policy. It will maintain or create jobs and we can give hydrogen to the industrial sites to make glass and steel. By 2030 aim to reduce emissions- there’s no contract to say they need to do that. Their contract is simply to produce the hydrogen.
“Globally there is a massive battle against the continuation of big oil and fracking for Blue Hydrogen. We have even called in the Avengers to help us fight. The Hulk- we were in a meeting with him. Mark Ruffalo is a massive anti fracking and blue hydrogen campaigner and willing to stand up against this type of destructive industry across the world.
“The most efficient thing to do is to remove hydrogen and use green electricity via a heat pump and a fully insulated house. Industrially you can’t use heat pumps, to make glass etc, so you will need some liquid or gas fuel, but again blue hydrogen has got higher emissions than the current gas so you might as well use the current gas until we find an alternative solution.
“All of the green groups in Cheshire, Merseyside and North Wales are combining like they did with fracking. I would urge people in Helsby and across Cheshire to contact their MP and their local councillor. We don’t know how turning off gas and replacing it with hydrogen will affect house insurance as it has never been done before! What will happen with house prices in Helsby if you only have hydrogen heating in place? We have a chance of slowing it down if councils don’t support it, as happened with fracking. Job creation can come from green energy, wind turbines or solar, you also have insulation of homes. We haven’t got many heat pump engineers or insulation engineers and this is an area of business growth. The University should focus on training these skills instead of blindly supporting Hynet, desperate for funding scraps. The people that work on oil sites and that are looking for work need to be upskilled to do real green jobs. They need to do this instead of supporting the fossil fuel companies and rebranding it as hydrogen.