Energy & Recycling

Published: January 21, 2022 | Updated: January 21, 2022

Leading the way: Green hydrogen production facility costing £6.5m will be first in the region

By Andrew Diprose, editor

A green hydrogen production facility using only renewable energy is set to be operational later this year after completion of a £6.5 million funding package.

Dorset Green H2 will be delivered by Canford Renewable Energy Ltd and is the first of its kind in the South West.

Unlike many other hydrogen projects, which may use fossil fuels, the facility will have only renewable energy generated by on-site solar and landfill gases to make green hydrogen, a clean, zero-emission fuel.

The site, at Canford Resource Park in Poole, was previously used for landfill.

It has generated electricity by harnessing naturally occurring methane gases since 1996.

Dorset Green H2 is being funded via:

  • £3 million from Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)’s Growing Places Fund loan scheme
  • £1.5 million grant from Low Carbon Dorset
  • £1.7m loan from NatWest
  • Equity funding from Canford Renewable Energy

Green hydrogen power is expected to play an important role in moving polluting, energy-intensive industries and heavy transport, such as shipping, HGV lorries and trains, away from fossil fuels.

It is recognised by the government as an emission-free fuel for use in vehicles, homes and much more.

Producing only water vapour and oxygen as by-products, green hydrogen is a central part of the UK government’s plan to reach net zero.

Published in August 2021, the UK Hydrogen Strategy states an ambition to have a world-leading hydrogen economy.

Hydrogen is identified as having the potential to provide a third of the UK’s energy in the future.

Cecilia Bufton, Dorset LEP Chair, pictured left, said: “The UK needs green hydrogen to meet its future energy requirements.

“We are delighted to award funding to the Dorset Green H2 project, the first of its kind in the South West of England.

“Our recently published Dorset Low Carbon Opportunities document, which maps out options for Dorset to become net zero by 2050, identifies hydrogen as a major investment opportunity and key contributor to Dorset’s clean growth, alongside activities such as decarbonising the grid network, transport and heat.

“This project will be a springboard to stimulate hydrogen production in Dorset, taking us a step closer towards our net zero goal for the county.”

Dorset Green H2 will see the installation of a 5 megawatt (MW) ground-mounted array of solar panels at the site.

On overcast days, and also overnight, they will be supplemented by electricity produced from the site’s existing landfill gas.

Heather Kiel, Programme Manager, Low Carbon Dorset Programme Manager, said: “Dorset Green H2 is a truly innovative project that really showcases a determination in Dorset to invest in renewable and cutting-edge energy.

“We are thrilled to support Canford Renewable Energy to jump-start the local hydrogen economy and drive the county forward on its path to net zero.”

Energy generated by renewable sources at the site will power a 0.87MW electrolyser, producing up to 120,000kg of green hydrogen fuel each year to be compressed, stored, and sold for local and regional use as a carbon free fuel.

Hydrogen fuel ­is recognised as being superior to battery-electric power for large vehicles, particularly in terms of range and time to re-charge and re-fuel, which takes minutes rather than hours.

As the green hydrogen economy develops it’s thought there may be opportunities to decarbonise large vehicle fleets in Dorset.

Nathan Ross, Managing Director, Canford Renewable Energy, pictured left, said: “Canford Renewable Energy is an experienced, long-term developer and operator of renewable energy infrastructure.

“Dorset Green H2 is leading the way for the development of a hydrogen economy in Dorset and the South West, and we are looking to bring forward other green hydrogen production projects in the region.”

Mark Dancer, NatWest’s Commercial Relationship Director Dorset, added: “This is a significant infrastructure project with the potential to put Dorset and the South West at the forefront of the UK’s clean, green-fuel economy.

“We have been delighted to work alongside all parties involved in supporting the financing of the initiative.

“It aligns to our own climate objectives, which include helping our customers benefit from the many opportunities transitioning to a low carbon future will hold.”

Dorset Green H2 has been welcomed by the government.

Eddie Hughes, Housing Minister in the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities, said: “I am delighted to see funding go towards such a positive development in the South West, a real catalyst for a green hydrogen economy in Dorset.

“It is a priority of this government to level up opportunities and create a greener, more sustainable future.”

  • To stay up to date on the project – and all things #DorsetNetZero on Twitter and LinkedIn – as well as discover Dorset LEP’s ambitions to tackle climate change so that the county is net zero by 2050, click here.