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HyNet Hydrogen Production Plant consultation

We are currently preparing a ‘hybrid’ planning application in order to obtain planning permission from Cheshire West and Chester Council for a proposed Hydrogen Production Plant (HPP) to be located at the Stanlow Manufacturing Complex in Ellesmere Port.

The consultation is now closed. We have reviewed all comments raised and have provided a response to each - please click the button below to view the responses.

View the response to community feedback

The HPP is part of a wider project being delivered as part of HyNet North West

HyNet will decarbonise North West England and North Wales by replacing fossil fuels we use to power industry, transport and to heat our homes with low carbon hydrogen. It will also capture and store carbon dioxide from energy-intensive industries in the area, and from the HPP.

The use and addition of hydrogen to products has been a major part of the Stanlow production processes for transportation fuels for over 60 years. For HyNet to happen, we need to build new infrastructure and repurpose some infrastructure which already exists. This includes infrastructure to capture carbon dioxide emissions, a pipeline which will transport and safely store these emissions underground in depleted gas reservoirs in Liverpool Bay and pipelines to transport low carbon hydrogen. These are subject to separate planning applications and do not form part of this ‘hybrid’ planning application.

View of Phase 1 Hydrogen Process Area & Associated Infrastructure from the South East

What is the Hydrogen Production Plant?

The proposed HPP comprises two phases, both of which include hydrogen production process areas, which combined are capable of producing the energy equivalent of enough fuel to fill approximately 1,800 medium sized average UK cars every hour. It also includes associated utilities, site pipelines, storage infrastructure, and tie-ins to the underground pipelines that will export hydrogen and carbon dioxide. The two phases will be delivered in sequence:

  1. The initial phase will consist of the first hydrogen production process area and all the associated infrastructure that will be needed so that hydrogen production can begin.
  2. The second phase will add further infrastructure in order to increase the amount of hydrogen being produced.

A ‘fly-through’ model of the proposed HPP has been produced and can be viewed here:

Where will it be located?

The HPP will be located on a largely redundant plot of land in the South East corner of the Stanlow Manufacturing Complex, near to Pool Lane and the A5117 (shown below). The site was identified as the most suitable following an evaluation of a number of sites within the complex.

Proposed Site at Stanlow Manufacturing Complex

How is the hydrogen produced?

The HPP will be built using Johnson Matthey’s Low Carbon Hydrogen (LCH™) technology and is designed to produce a compressed hydrogen product from a feedstock of natural gas / Refinery Off Gas (ROG), water/steam and oxygen. The outputs from the process are:

  • Hydrogen, which would be transported to industry who will be switching their processes from the fossil fuel, natural gas, to hydrogen, and be blended into the gas distribution system in order to heat our homes and businesses.
  • Carbon dioxide produced by the reforming process, which would be captured, compressed and dehydrated, so it is suitable to be transported safely to depleted gas reservoirs in Liverpool Bay.

View of Phase 1 Hydrogen Process Area & Associated Infrastructure from the North

What are the benefits?

Hydrogen offers a viable alternative to fossil fuels, such as natural gas, to reach a net zero, sustainable world. Hydrogen can be used to generate energy safely and reliably. It is an attractive alternative to fossil fuels because it does not produce carbon dioxide when burned. This means that HyNet’s goal of delivering hydrogen energy to heat homes, power businesses and fuel transport (including trains, heavy goods vehicles and shipping) will help reduce the region’s, and the UK’s, carbon emissions. Creating a cleaner, greener and safer environment for future generations.

More information on the benefits of hydrogen can be found here

Questions and answers

Will there be an increase in traffic?

Once the HPP is operational there will be a very slight increase in traffic as a result of approximately 20 members of staff who will work at the plant over the course of a 7-day working week. This level of increase in traffic will not result in any observable change to traffic on the local roads close to the HPP site.

It is anticipated that there will be a temporary increase in traffic whilst the HPP is being built through construction related traffic movements, such as construction workers travelling to / from the site and through the delivery of construction materials.

A range of mitigation measures will be put in place to ensure that any disruption on the local roads, particularly during peak periods, is kept to a minimum during the construction period. This is likely to include the following:

  • On-site working during construction limited to Monday to Friday, with no work carried out on weekends or Bank Holidays.
  • All construction traffic travelling to the site via the motorway network and then via the A5117 from its nearest motorway junction in order to enter the site access at the existing Gate 6 entrance off Pool Lane.
  • All construction traffic will park on site.
  • Arrangements for shared transport for construction workers travelling to / from site will be put in place.
  • Staggered start / finish times for different trades of workers on site will be implemented.
  • Heavy vehicles would only arrive and depart the site outside of the hours when construction workers are scheduled to arrive or depart the site.
  • The number of oversized loads delivered to the site is expected to be low, but where needed they would be carefully managed and scheduled through agreement with the local highway authority. These deliveries would be made at a separate access off the A5117.

As part of the ‘hybrid’ planning application, we are preparing a Transport Assessment and a Framework Travel Plan. These will assess any potential impact on the highway network and identify the full range of mitigation measures that will be required.

Will the HPP impact on the local environment?

As part of the ‘hybrid’ planning application, we are preparing an Environmental Statement which assesses noise, air quality, landscape and visual impact and ecology. We will also be submitting a separate Flood Risk Assessment. These will assess any potential impact on the local environment and identify any mitigation measures that will be required.

What is a ‘hybrid’ planning application?

A 'hybrid' planning application is one that seeks outline planning permission for one part of a scheme and full planning permission for another part of the same scheme on the same site.

Applications for full planning permission seek approval of the details of the design and access of a proposed development. Whereas applications for outline planning permission seek to establish whether the scale and nature of a proposed development would be acceptable to the local planning authority, before a fully detailed proposal is put forward. This type of planning application allows fewer details about the proposal to be submitted. Once outline permission has been granted, you seek approval of the details (“reserved matters”) before work can start. These details (ranging from appearance, access, landscaping, layout and scale) will be the subject of a “reserved matters” application at a later stage.

The ‘hybrid’ application for the HPP will seek full planning permission for all of the components that will be needed to support hydrogen production for the first phase, with outline planning permission being sought for phase 2.

The ‘hybrid’ planning application approach is being taken because of the way that HPP design is being developed and the plant will be delivered. There is a greater level of design detail available for the phase 1 works compared with those that form phase 2, but there is still sufficient detail available for planning permission to be secured for both phases 1 and 2, subject to future planning submissions to discharge planning conditions and approve details through reserved matters applications.

What are the timeframes for construction of the HPP?

The current aim is for work to commence on site for the construction of phase 1 by late 2022. Phase 2 construction will commence towards the end of completion of the phase 1 works. The aim is for hydrogen production to start by the mid-2020s.