Hydrogen

The world of energy is changing and WSP is working with our global clients to reduce their CO2 emissions and deliver low-carbon solutions to limit the effects of climate change. Hydrogen will be a significant part of the solution to the world’s carbon problem and developing a hydrogen economy will be vital to achieving the necessary reductions in emissions.

Hydrogen is attractive because it is zero-emission at the point of use; it can be stored in large volumes for extended periods; and it has applications in heating, transport, industry and power generation. Realising these benefits depends on advances in hydrogen technology and infrastructure, on which we have already been working for nearly a decade.

Producing low-carbon hydrogen

‘Green’ hydrogen is produced using renewable electricity from either wind turbines or solar panels to electrolyse water, producing hydrogen and oxygen. Electrolysis is suitable for smaller-scale, localised hydrogen generation and carries fewer risks than distributing pure hydrogen under pressure over long distances. 

‘Blue’ hydrogen is produced using what’s known as either natural gas or steam-methane reformation (SMR). More suitable for large-scale hydrogen production, SMR removes the carbon from natural gas. In doing so it creates large volumes of CO2 and so requires the parallel development of carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS) technology.

 

img-hydrogen-diagram


Our carbon capture usage and storage (CCUS) experience includes the detailed engineering of the first scalable demonstration power plant, built by NET Power in Texas, USA. This plant uses supercritical CO2 to produce emission-free energy from natural gas.

" WSP’s understanding of the technology and business cases for hydrogen and CCUS have been vitally important to our efforts to deploy market-leading, clean hydrogen projects globally. Their willingness to dive deep into the details, their sector-wide expertise and understanding of cutting-edge technology solutions, and their focus on and understanding of the business needs makes WSP a go-to partner everywhere that we want to go. "

Cam Hosie

Principal, 8 Rivers Capital

The breadth of our consultancy and design experience enables us to advise throughout the design lives of our client projects. Whether for an electrolysis or a SMR hydrogen plant, we can offer a whole-energy-system approach, across the hydrogen economy – as outlined in the diagram above. We also work with local and national governments, banks and financial institutions in order to assist with the much-needed financial backing required to make these projects a reality.

Our projects include a technical due diligence study for a proposed near-zero emission ‘blue’ hydrogen facility. For this client, we identified the potential technical risks associated with the plant design, reviewing mitigation measures and then the residual risk. This gave our client the confidence to proceed with their project and helped support their discussions with potential investors, partners and public agencies.

Storage and Distribution Expertise

Transmitting, storing and transporting hydrogen is a real challenge. Underground salt caverns used to store methane could soon be used for hydrogen. WSP in the USA has 40 years’ experience in methane storage, which they’re now applying to the design and construction of hydrogen storage caverns in Texas. 

A hydrogen economy then requires infrastructure to get the hydrogen to industry and household consumers. The existing gas distribution network can be used for hydrogen blended up to 20% with methane and UK cities such as Leeds and Liverpool are already developing this concept.

WSP has been working with the UK gas network operators for decades and we are applying our knowledge and expertise to hydrogen engineering, in the UK and elsewhere. We are members of the Decarbonised Gas Alliance: this UK-wide alliance of industry players advises the government, with a common goal to decarbonise the gas networks.

Global hydrogen expertise

By applying our global expertise to local projects developing low-carbon hydrogen production, localised hydrogen generation and distribution networks, we are playing a key role in the world’s energy future.

Our services:

  • Pre-feasibility and feasibility studies
  • Pre-FEED and FEED services
  • Site selection feasibility studies
  • Technology assessment and selection
  • Owner’s engineer
  • Lender’s technical advisor
  • Process, mechanical, electrical, civil and structural, and C&I engineering and design
  • Pipeline routing studies
  • Technical & environmental due diligence 
  • Process risk analysis (HAZOP, HAZID, HAZCON)
  • Strategy development and master planning
  • 3D modelling 
  • Process simulation
  • Permitting and licensing
  • Environmental impact assessments
  • Pipeline routing studies
READ MORE ABOUT OUR EXPERIENCE IN HYDROGEN AND CCUS