SGN and Pale Blue Dot Energy are working together in collaboration with National Grid Transmission to evaluate the potential uses of an exciting new energy option that could find a natural home in the north east of Scotland.
Hydrogen provides a means to eliminate CO2 emissions from the future energy system. When it is used to make energy, the only by-products are water, and CO2 when the hydrogen is made from natural gas.
Pale Blue Dot Energy are delighted to announce a new partnership with Carbon Engineering (CE), a leading provider of Direct Air Capture (DAC) technology that captures carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the atmosphere. The companies have announced their intentions to work together to deploy commercial DAC projects in the UK and have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate on the development of facilities that will contribute towards the removal of millions of tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere each year. This agreement marks the first partnership between a DAC technology company and a UK development partner and signifies the next step towards establishing a UK DAC industry that will create significant environmental and economic benefits.
The Hydrogen in Scotland report published in September 2020 summarises that Scotland could be producing 121 TWh of hydrogen by 2050 through a combination of hydrogen supplied from the reforming of natural gas with carbon capture and storage (blue hydrogen) and the electrolysis of water (green hydrogen). Acorn Hydrogen will initiate large scale hydrogen production starting with a 200MWt reformer in 2025 at St Fergus in North East Scotland, with the project acting as a catalyst for developing the hydrogen market within Scotland and beyond.
Several key enablers are required to enable hydrogen development at scale, including clarity on the business model to support hydrogen production and use. To further support large scale hydrogen production a further enabler is the need to establish long term potential demand for hydrogen.
With this in mind the Acorn Hydrogen Project is inviting Expressions of Interest from large energy users who are interested in receiving hydrogen, most probably as a low carbon fuel switch. Whether you are an existing or planned site, if you have genuine interest in being supplied hydrogen for your operation then Acorn Hydrogen would like to hear from you.
The input will also help inform the logistics, practicalities and prioritisation of the various routes to market being explored for how hydrogen is moved from points of generation to points of use. Whilst 2025 might appear to be a long time in the future, projects of the scale of Acorn Hydrogen take several years to mature.
Please follow this link to the simple, Hydrogen Demand Expression of Interest form.
A perspective from Sam Gomersall, Pale Blue Dot Energy’s Hydrogen Champion
Scotland could be producing 121 TWh of Hydrogen by 2050, sufficient to meet all its own needs and exporting to Europe. Hydrogen is key to meeting Net Zero and rapid action is required to address climate change. Acorn Hydrogen will initiate large scale hydrogen production by 2025 at St Fergus in North East Scotland and will act as a catalyst for the regional and national hydrogen transformation, enable Net Zero and provide a key stepping-stone for the Just Transition. In the report Hydrogen in Scotland recently completed by Element Energy, the role of the Acorn Hydrogen Project in enabling Net Zero has been assessed based on potential hydrogen growth scenarios.
In 2019, the Climate Change Act, approved by the Scottish Government, set the ambitious target to achieve a carbon neutral Scotland by 2045, five years earlier than the UK Net Zero target. To accomplish these targets, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) has identified hydrogen and carbon capture and storage (CCS) as indispensable technologies for the transition, highlighting the importance of an early deployment of these technologies beginning in the 2020s.
The Acorn Hydrogen project will be the first large-scale hydrogen project developed in Scotland, located at the St Fergus gas terminal, where 35% of the UK’s annual gas supply enters the National Transmission System. The project is initially planning the construction of a 200 MW hydrogen production plant, that could become operational by 2025, and which would allow for a 2% hydrogen blend by volume into the National Transmission System (NTS). The emissions from the hydrogen production would be captured, transported, and safely stored offshore deep underground, reusing current oil and gas infrastructure, enabled by the sister project, Acorn CCS.
The project is highly scalable, due to large volumes of natural gas feedstock available, the massive offshore CO2 storage capacity and the availability of existing offshore pipeline infrastructure. This means that large volumes of hydrogen can be generated in the 2020s and beyond, offering an opportunity to establish hydrogen infrastructure before other complementary decarbonisation technologies reach scale.
The report considered the potential role for hydrogen in decarbonizing heat through the gas network, either by blending or 100% hydrogen, potential hydrogen use in power generation at Peterhead Power Station and supply of hydrogen for industrial and transport applications. The work looked at the complimentary and evolving roles of blue hydrogen (hydrogen from natural gas with CCS) and green hydrogen (hydrogen from the electrolysis of water).
The report found that Acorn Hydrogen could play an essential role in unlocking benefits across Scotland and the UK, including helping achieve Net Zero, driving economic growth, and developing both physical and intangible assets that could be leveraged in the longer term. In terms of emissions reduction, just displacing natural gas for heat would reduce emissions by 9MtCO2/year.
Large-scale adoption of hydrogen would also result in economic growth and long-term job creation across the hydrogen supply chain. The macro-economic benefits of a Scottish hydrogen economy would be multiple and would cover several sectors, ranging from hydrogen production through reformation and CCUS, to gas grid conversion, and spanning to production and operation of electrolysers and deployment of off-shore wind.
Acorn Hydrogen would bring an opportunity for future hydrogen projects to exploit the physical assets that early deployment of Acorn Hydrogen would enable and are needed in the transition towards Net Zero.
Hydrogen presents a stepping-stone in the Just Transition. By leveraging local skills from workers in the oil and gas sector and applying them to hydrogen and CCS, regional supply chain jobs can be protected. Similarly, the relatively low disruption brought in by the use of hydrogen in carbon-intensive sectors, such as power plants or industry, means that current workforce skills would be easily transferred once hydrogen substitutes for natural gas, thus leading to job retention and savings associated with reskilling.
Acorn Hydrogen is key to Scotland’s hydrogen economy. Hydrogen will create economic growth, act as a catalyst for Net Zero and unlock wider long-term growth opportunities which can support the Just Transition.
We are very pleased to announce that on Friday 14th August we were awarded the ‘Energy Transition for Future Generations’ award at the Offshore Achievement Awards. On receiving the award during the online ceremony, PBDE Managing Director Alan James said:
‘It has been great to see over recent years the profile of the energy transition increasing in the oil and gas industry, reflected in this award at this event, and of course across industry through changing business activity and industrial and regional commitments. What is particularly important now is encouraging and motivating young people to join the energy sector and play a key role in delivering the transition and driving our energy supply towards Net Zero. Our business exists to progress the energy transition and this award is a real recognition of our success to date in doing that.’
Pale Blue Dot Energy are delighted to receive this honour for the business and continue to encourage the young professionals in the team to flourish and grow.
Pale Blue Dot is pleased to announce a corporate restructure that will see Storegga Geotechnologies become the new holding company for the Scottish based business. Macquarie Group’s Commodities and Global Markets business has become a cornerstone investor in Storegga to assist Pale Blue Dot drive forward its low carbon energy ambitions. The investment in Storegga will catalyse the creation of a new, independent, UK based low carbon technology business.
Pale Blue Dot leads the development of Acorn, one of the UK’s first carbon capture and storage projects. Acorn is on track to be storing CO2 by 2024 and is also working on a parallel programme which will see hydrogen introduced in to the UK’s gas supplies to cut carbon emissions from homes and industry by 2025.
The new board of Storegga, will comprise Pale Blue Dot directors, Alan James and Steve Murphy, as well as Nick Cooper, Alan Booth and Jon Taylor of Storegga. Macquarie Group will also have two Board seats in the newly configured enterprise.
Alan James, Managing Director, Pale Blue Dot Energy Ltd and Storegga Geotechnologies Ltd, said, ‘Industrially viable carbon reduction projects are a critical part of our future, especially as we look towards a sustainable recovery post-Covid. The team at Pale Blue Dot Energy are fully committed to making positive change across our industry and energy sectors and now with our new corporate structure and strategic support of Macquarie Group we are able to accelerate the progress that Scotland and the UK needs to make. We look forward to working with both Governments and our partners to make rapid progress towards our goals.’
Nick Cooper, Chief Executive of Storegga Geotechnologies Ltd, said ‘We are excited to be joining the Pale Blue Dot team, that has so successfully and tenaciously progressed the Acorn CCS and Hydrogen projects to the point where they are now recognised as vital to the future decarbonisation infrastructure for Scotland and the UK. Storegga has been established to become a long term, independent UK champion of CCS, Hydrogen and other low carbon transition technologies; our strategic partnership with the Macquarie Group provides significant additional capabilities and the financial strength to realise these ambitions.’
Erik Petersson, Senior Managing Director in Macquarie’s Commodities and Global Markets Group said, ‘CCS and hydrogen are expected to play a key contribution in the UK’s energy transition. This cornerstone investment and support for the Acorn CCS project is consistent with our longstanding commitment and expertise in the energy infrastructure and clean technology sectors. We believe this project could make a significant contribution to the green transition of the UK gas sector.’