Industry

IGas plans to produce hydrogen at south east sites

IGas has announced a partnership with a US company to turn methane extracted from sites in south east England into hydrogen.

In a statement today, IGas said it had signed a memorandum of understanding with New Mexico-based BayoTech, which supplies modular systems to generate hydrogen on site.

IGas said it had:

“initially identified two of its existing sites, in the South East, where the gas resource can be reformed into hydrogen which will then be sold to local or national customers.”

Asked by DrillOrDrop which sites had been identified, a spokesperson said:

“We have not yet stated which sites.”

The company’s chief executive, Steve Bowler, said today:

“Preliminary engineering work has confirmed that gas at these sites is suitable for BayoTech’s innovative, modular system.

“We look forward to working with BayoTech to be well placed in the growing hydrogen economy which will add value to our existing gas resource through the delivery of cost effective hydrogen.”

About half of IGas oil and gas production comes from the Weald Basin in southern England. It has 10 producing wells in the region but only Albury in Surrey is a gas site. Others are mainly oil sites, including Stockbridge in Hampshire, Singleton in West Sussex and Palmers Wood, in Surrey.

Hydrogen production

Production of hydrogen from methane releases carbon emissions. IGas said BayoTech’s equipment was more efficient and had lower carbon emissions than traditional hydrogen processes which use high pressure steam.

But asked by DrillOrDrop how IGas would capture, store or use the released carbon, the company said the hydrogen would initially be grey. This is hydrogen made from fossil fuels without carbon capture technologies.

The IGas spokesperson said the hydrogen would produce less CO2 because it would be used locally and would not be transported long distances.

The spokesperson added that the plan was “to utilise CCS [carbon capture and storage] and get to blue hydrogen”.

Green hydrogen, the cleanest of the three types, is made by separating water into hydrogen and oxygen by electrolysis, powered by renewable energy.

“Energy transition”

Today’s statement also said this was a further step in IGas’s strategy to be “well placed in the energy transition”.

Last month, IGas announced it had acquired a geothermal firm with plans to use redundant oil and gas wells for deep geothermal energy.

IGas is not the first UK onshore gas company to publicly talk about turning methane into hydrogen. Over a year ago, Cuadrilla said shale gas was “at the heart of the hydrogen economy”. The company’s chief executive, Francis Egan, said:

“We recognise that carbon capture and storage and hydrogen production are critical if the UK is to meet its net-zero emissions target. To that end we are engaging with a number of existing initiatives so that that UK shale gas rather than imported gas can and will be a vital source of emission free UK energy by 2050.”

Since then, there have been no further public statements on the subject from Cuadrilla.

9 replies »

  1. Exactly, hewes62.

    What UK energy sector has not been in receipt of subsidy? The on shore wind sector was built on landowners being able to trouser £150k NET PROFIT PER YEAR for EACH turbine, even when electricity generated was not required by the country. And the tax payer picked up the bill. I know landowners who suddenly changed their minds about not placing them on their land, and were rushing to calculate whether it should be 4 or 5, and the damage to local wildlife could then be forgotten.

    And if you really want the Rolls Royce of energy subsidy, we still have the Swansea Lagoon to delight.

    Hydrogen production is fine, but I would like to see carbon utilisation rather than capture as an end goal. After all, graphene is carbon. I suspect to achieve both does require a cheap reliable source of electricity, maybe fusion. Although, if oil and gas are removed from producing tax, then all other energy sources will probably have to take the burden and so costs in 2050 would look very different. And, of course, all those pensioners who currently receive part of their income from oil company dividends would need that burden to be picked up by other energy sectors as well.

    jP with his “could” by 2050 might find a lot of UK residents will not be convinced regarding speculation for when they are pushing up the daisies. I do recall my comic annuals when such speculation was the future.

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