Hydrogen energy projects are among the recipients of new government funding worth £90 million to reduce emissions from homes and heavy industry.
Hydrogen is a low or zero emission alternative to fossil fuels, which could be used to power industry and transport.
A total of £70 million is being awarded for projects that include the development of two of Europe’s first hydrogen production plants – one on the banks of the Mersey and the second planned to be located near Aberdeen – and technology to harness offshore wind off the Grimbsy coast to power electrolysis and produce hydrogen.
The investment will also fund projects to trial cutting-edge technologies for switching industrial production from fossil fuels to renewables in industries such as cement and glass production.
The rest of the funding – £20 million – will support projects aimed at cutting household emissions and bills through nine UK-wide local “smart energy” projects.
Under 10 community pilot projects, more than 250,000 households from Rugeley near Stafford to Coleraine in Northern Ireland could have their homes powered by local renewable energy sources by 2030, expected to reduce bills by as much as half.
In Rugeley, a coal-fired power station is to be demolished and turned into a sustainable village of 2,300 homes and residents are expected to benefit from thermal storage units instead of traditional gas boilers, enabling them to draw, store and heat their homes with geothermal energy from local canals and disused mine shafts.
In Coleraine, a microgrid of nearly 100 homes will be developed, powered entirely by local wind power, helping reduce household electricity bills by as much as 50% and boosting the contribution of renewables to the local energy mix by a quarter.
The investment supports the government’s ambition for a net zero Britain by 2050.
Kwasi Kwarteng, Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth said: “Cleaning up emissions from industry and housing is a big challenge but today’s £90 million investment will set us on the right path as we develop clean technologies like hydrogen.
“This is an important part of our world-leading efforts in eliminating our contribution to climate change by 2050 while also growing our economy, creating up to two million green collar jobs across the country by 2030.”