100% Hydrogen demonstration project planned at Unilever household goods Manufacturing plant in UK

March 14, 2022
During the trial, 100% hydrogen and a blend of natural gas and hydrogen will be used to fire a boiler. This boiler provides steam for the production process

Staff and Wire Reports

Unilever will set up large-scale demonstration project of 100% hydrogen-firing at its Port Sunlight factory, which manufactures household brands including TRESemme hair and Persil laundry products, in northern England.

During the trial, 100% hydrogen and a blend of natural gas and hydrogen will be used to fire a boiler. This boiler provides steam for the production process.

This demonstration project will provide information which can be leveraged to decarbonize several industry sectors and contribute to the UK’s journey to Net Zero. The demonstration is part of a wider ‘HyNet Industrial Fuel Switching’ program, which will provide evidence to facilitate major manufacturing sites to transition to low carbon hydrogen when it is available from the HyNet project.

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HyNet is the country’s leading industrial decarbonization project. HyNet consortium partner Vertex Hydrogen will supply low carbon hydrogen to the first 100% hydrogen pipeline network in the UK that is being developed by Cadent.

The HyNet partners are supporting wider industry sites in food and drink, paper, chemicals and automotive sectors to transition from fossil gases to low carbon hydrogen.

“When it is up and running in the mid-2020s the project will provide a huge boost to our economy and our ambitious net zero targets,” Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region said. “Alone, HyNet will reduce the region’s carbon emissions by 10 million metric tons every year by 2030. It is my ambition for our region to be at the forefront of the green industrial revolution, leading the charge towards net zero, and taking advantage of the myriad of jobs, investment and opportunities that it provides.”

Meanwhile, Unilever aims to achieve zero emissions from their operations by 2030. The firm will also increase the use of renewable energies, including wind and solar. Unilever is also exploring innovation in new renewable heating technologies, including hydrogen. It will also explore the application of these technologies to its global operations.

“At Port Sunlight, alongside Unilever sites around the world, we’re adapting and innovating our factories and processes to help reduce the impact we have on our planet and to progress our climate commitments,” Madeleine McLeod, Factory Director Port Sunlight, Unilever, said. “In our operations, we’ve already reduced our emissions by 64% since 2015, and now we’re working towards our commitment to have zero emissions by 2030. To achieve this, we’re looking at new technologies, which is why we’re excited to be working with Progressive Energy to trial the use of hydrogen at an industrial scale. The results will help us to better understand the role hydrogen could play in decarbonizing our factory sites and provide insight and learnings to support wider-industry action towards Net Zero too.”

Port Sunlight opened in the 1880s as a soap factory.