Ambitious plans for the Tees region to become the hydrogen capital of the UK has taken a big step forward.
Tees Valley mayor Ben Houchen has secured an agreement with government to bring the UK’s first Hydrogen Transport Centre to the region.
The centre, the first of its kind in the UK, will result in the research, development and testing of new hydrogen technologies, including for cars, buses, trains, lorries, boats and planes taking place in Teesside, where more than half of the UK’s hydrogen is already produced.
The new hub will complement the new Tees Valley Net Zero Innovation Centre, creating a national centre for hydrogen research and development, further strengthening the region’s clean growth ambitions while paving the way for hundreds of more clean energy jobs.
The new centre, which will provide a place for academic and industrial experts to come together to drive forward the UK’s plans to embrace the use of hydrogen as an alternative fuel, will create hundreds of jobs, while seeing the region become a global leader in the green hydrogen sector.
Combined with renewable electricity, hydrogen can be produced, stored and used to generate heat and electricity without producing any greenhouse gases or air pollutants.
The knock-on benefits of a strong hydrogen economy include adding up to £7 billion to the region’s economy from now until 2050, creating thousands of jobs in the process
The government has highlighted Teesside as being perfectly placed to reap these benefits as the UK’s first Hydrogen Transport Centre would sit alongside plans to build the world’s biggest hydrogen refuelling station in Teesside – plans which have already been backed by Government.
The new hub will sit alongside the new Tees Valley Net Zero Innovation Centre, established by Mayor Houchen with £14m in funding.
It will be built next to TWI in Middlesbrough, in partnership with Teesside University, to form a new innovation campus focused on clean energy research and development.
Mayor Houchen said: “I am delighted that, after months of hard work and conversations with ministers, the government has been able to announce today that Teesside will be the place for the government’s first Hydrogen Transport Centre.
“This is yet more proof we are the number one place in the country for hydrogen research.
“Hydrogen is playing a massive part in our future plans. We already produce more than 50% of the UK’s hydrogen, so by becoming the home of the National Hydrogen Transport Centre, we can properly utilise this and fully unleash our area’s potential.
“Teesside has led the world in steel manufacturing and engineering for generations. Now we can become a trail blazer in the industries of the future.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “As we continue on our road to a green recovery, we know that to really harness the power of transport to improve our country – and to set a global gold standard – we must truly embed change.
“That’s why I’m delighted that through our plans to build back better we are embracing the power of hydrogen and the more sustainable, greener forms of transport it will bring.”
Teesside University’s pro vice-chancellor for research and innovation, professor Simon Hodgson, said: “Finding new ways to produce clean energy is integral to ensuring a sustainable future for the planet and a key focus of our university’s research .
“This announcement puts Middlesbrough and the Tees Valley at the forefront of the UK’s hydrogen economy and we are delighted to be able to bring our research and expertise to bear in helping provide an innovative solution to the climate emergency.”