Teesside: A Hydrogen Hub Igniting a Greener Future

16 April 2024

Recently, Hydrogen Safe delivered a CPD webinar to The Welding Institute Teesside branch on the hydrogen industry in the region, and also highlighted the un-ignorable skills gap for welders and similar skilled trades with the recent surge in industrial activity. When researching the area, we discovered that Teesside is no stranger to industry, but lately it’s become a champion for a new kind of fuel: hydrogen. This blog post dives into the rise of the Teesside hydrogen economy and its potential to revolutionise energy, not just for the UK, but globally.

Perfectly Positioned for Hydrogen Power

Teesside sits central within the UK, making it perfectly placed for upscaling industrial capacity for national and international trade. With major ports and transport links nearby, the region is ideal for distributing and producing hydrogen. Plus, it’s surrounded by key industrial areas, making it the perfect location for collaboration and accelerating the hydrogen economy’s growth.

Teeside Net Zero

Teeside Net Zero

Image taken from Net Zero Teesside website: Net Zero Teesside

Building on a Strong Foundation

Teesside’s industrial legacy isn’t a burden – it’s a springboard. Decades of experience in manufacturing, engineering, and energy production make the region a natural fit to create a hydrogen cluster in the region. Existing infrastructure is well placed however with an ageing demographic for many of the skilled workers, there is still uncertainty around the feasibility of the ambitious goals of the Teesside’s hydrogen developments.

Partnerships Fuelling Innovation

The Teesside region provides an exemplar case of public and private entities working together to achieve a shared goal. Government agencies, local authorities, industry leaders, and research institutions are all collaborating on initiatives like the Tees Valley Hydrogen Transport Hub and Net Zero Teesside. These projects are attracting investment and driving innovation in hydrogen technology and infrastructure.

Jobs and Growth: A Green Renaissance

The hydrogen economy isn’t just about clean energy, it’s about opportunity. As the construction of hydrogen projects are underway, new routeways into the hydrogen sector are appearing in various subsectors, from construction and manufacturing to research and development. This economic revival is revitalising Teesside, and to ensure a skilled workforce, a brand new £3.2 million Clean Energy Education Hub was launched at Redcar and Cleveland College with Hydrasun to equip residents with the knowledge needed for green energy careers. However, it is predicted that by 2027 that there will be a shortfall of 225,000 workers in construction with the added hydrogen activity that is due to start. This is going to require extensive effort and collaboration between businesses operating in the area and colleges to be able to provide opportunities for apprenticeships and upskilling programmes for the local community.

Cleaning Up the Act: A Breath of Fresh Air

The most significant benefit of the hydrogen economy? A dramatic reduction in carbon emissions. Teesside currently holds the unfortunate title of the UK’s second-worst emitter, so a clean alternative like hydrogen is urgently needed. By using renewable sources to produce hydrogen, the region can transition away from being a fossil fuel-dependent region and support the UK’s goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.

Teesside: A Global Hydrogen Leader

The Teesside region is establishing itself as a frontrunner in hydrogen innovation and production. With the expansion of hydrogen infrastructure, there will be a significant increase in demand for skilled professionals such as welders, engineers, and plumbers. Collaboration between industries and educational institutions is essential to address this expanding skills gap and facilitate a seamless energy transition.

Teesside’s story is one of transformation, and it’s far from over. By embracing hydrogen, the region is not only cleaning up its act but also forging a path towards a sustainable and prosperous future.

“Let’s create a greener, more sustainable and safer world for everyone.”

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