Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen has called on the government to use the expertise in Teesside, gained through generations of working in the engineering, processing and chemicals sectors, to unleash the potential of hydrogen as a fuel source.
In order to capitalise on the huge amount of expertise across the region, mayor Houchen has urged the government to establish the National Hydrogen Centre in Teesside, further strengthening the region’s clean growth ambitions and paving the way for more clean energy investment and good quality, well paid jobs for local people.
This will allow new hydrogen technologies, including for cars, buses, trains, bin lorries and trucks, to be used in Teesside – paving the way for more clean energy jobs and investment.
The National Hydrogen Centre would also compliment plans to build the world’s biggest hydrogen refuelling station in Teesside – plans which have already been backed by Government.
The region already produces 50% of the UK’s hydrogen, much of which is used in existing industrial processes.
The basing of the National Hydrogen Centre in the Tees Valley will also build upon the building blocks put in place by mayor Houchen to position the region as the number one place in the country for hydrogen research. This includes providing £14m to establish the Tees Valley Net Zero Innovation Centre.
The new centre will be built next to TWI in Middlesbrough to form a new innovation campus focused on clean energy research and development.
Generations of Teessiders have worked in the fields of engineering, process innovation and chemicals, allowing the region to develop an enviable reputation as a place to go when a problem needs solving.
Coupling this with the can do, problem solving attitude and technical knowhow with the new National Hydrogen Centre will allow the government to turbocharge hydrogen research and speed up progress meeting its CO2 reduction targets.
Mayor Houchen said: “For well over 100 years Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool have been at the forefront of innovations that have reshaped the world.
“If the government want to do so again, they should bring the National Hydrogen Centre to Teesside and allow our engineers to revolutionise the world again – this time with our work on hydrogen.
“Investing in Hydrogen is also key to my plan for local jobs – creating the good quality, well paid jobs of the future and developing the clean energy technologies that will keep the UK moving.
“There is absolutely no need to reinvent the wheel, our region makes more than 50% on the UK’s hydrogen, we are already investing large amounts of money into hydrogen research and we have the expertise to supercharge clean energy development.
“All that will be achieved by setting up the new centre somewhere else will be a duplication of what’s already in Teesside – meaning a slower introduction of new ground-breaking technologies and more limited progress towards our ambitious C02 reduction targets.”
Jacob Young, Conservative MP for Redcar and Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hydrogen, said: “As I mentioned earlier in the year, new hydrogen technologies represent a major part of the UK’s cleaner, greener future and I want Redcar and Cleveland to be at the centre of this exciting emerging sector.
“It’s great to be part of a united Conservative front pushing for success for all of Teesside and I’m certain that working alongside Ben and his team, we can put Redcar front and centre of those plans.
“This would be a huge investment for Teesside bringing thousands of jobs to an area that is ready and raring to go.
“We’re already at the forefront of Hydrogen technology with Northern Gas Networks undertaking a world first trial for Hydrogen in an existing gas network in South Bank.
“The National Hydrogen Centre is an exciting step, and the mayor has my full support.”