IGas has revealed it wants to produce hydrogen from methane at its Bletchingley site in Surrey.
The company has already announced similar plans for its site at Albury in the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
IGas has opened an online exhibition, which runs until Friday 30 July. This does not replace a formal consultation which would be run by Surrey County Council if IGas submitted a planning application.
The Bletchingley site is in the greenbelt, east of Redhill, at Kings Farm, Tiburstow Hiill Road, South Godstone.
In 2016, planning officers, using delegated powers, granted planning permission for oil and gas production at Bletchingley for 15 years. In 2019, IGas got consent to generate electricity from gas produced from the field.
IGas has estimated that methane production from Bletchingley would be up to 34,000m3 a day.
In a letter to residents, IGas said hydrogen would be producing using the Steam Methane Reformation (SMR) process. This reacts methane with steam to produce hydrogen and carbon dioxide (CO2).
IGas has no current plans to capture and store the CO2 so hydrogen produced at Bletchingley would be “grey hydrogen”. “Blue hydrogen” is also produced from methane but the CO2 captured and stored.
The company said the CO2 released by the SMR process would be the same amount as if the gas were burnt in a boiler or gas engine.
“Because the emissions are produced in a single location they are much easier to capture and process for future utilisation or storage. IGas is exploring options for a future phase of development at the site once the Government has provided direction of the regulations and standards for “blue hydrogen”.
IGas said the hydrogen would be taken off site by tanker. It could be used in electrical fuel cells in large vehicles, like lorries and busses, replacing diesel.
IGas said total hydrogen output at Bletchingley could be 2,000kg per day. It estimated the site could power 50-100 buses a day.
“IGas have made the strategic decision to support the Government and national transition towards net zero and is proposing the exciting new development as an alternative use of the existing gas that is produced at the site. The proposal will facilitate the reduction of emissions that would otherwise be generated by diesel powered vehicles.”
If the scheme were approved, the company said it would install two SMR generators, both 7.6m tall, with flues 10.9m tall.
Tanker movements to export the hydrogen would be six-eight per day, IGas said. They would be at currently allowed times, with “minimal morning hours during weekends and Public Holidays”.
DrillOrDrop will follow IGas plans for Bletchingley and Albury and reaction to them.
Last year, the Weald Action Group, a network opposing hydrocarbon developments in southern England, argued there was no need to make hydrogen from fossil fuels. In a briefing paper, it said blue hydrogen was “still a pipe dream”. It said the UK was unlikely to have sufficient CCS capacity in the coming decades to reach net zero by 2050.