A north-east engineering giant founded by the family of Sir Ian Wood has won a design contract on a carbon capture project in England that beat out a rival bid in Scotland in a recent competition.
Wood announced it has been awarded a front-end engineering design (FEED) contract for HyNet North West, a project that aims to unlock a lower carbon economy for the North West of England and North Wales.
News of HyNet being chosen as among the first two carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) developments in the UK was met with widespread dismay in Scotland, not least by Sir Ian who said he did not understand why the bid was chosen instead of Acorn.
He said the decision to choose the bid, led by Italian oil and gas firm Eni, did not “make sense” when compared the Scottish Cluster, led by the Acorn project at St Fergus because of the infrastructure and skills available in the region to support the project.
Sir Ian, chairman of business development body Opportunity North East, has urged the government to reconsider the decision following the announcement on the £1billion CCUS competition by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (Beis) last week. He has also sent a second letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and signed by a number of business leaders asking him to add the Acorn project to the Track 1 scheme where funding is fast-tracked.
Wood said it will lead the design, consenting and consultation of a new 85km hydrogen pipeline and above-ground installations for gas distribution network owner, Cadent, which is part of the HyNet consortium.
Josh Carmichael, vice president of hydrogen at Wood, said: “Together with our clients, we’re driving hydrogen production and distribution at pace and at an industrial scale as one of the mission-critical pathways to a more sustainable future.
“Industries and clusters will be key to catalysing the hydrogen industry in the UK, and we are excited to be a part of this leading project.
“This first-of-its-kind project will help meet the challenge of reducing CO₂ emissions from industry, providing fuel for our transport as well as heating for our homes and businesses, and could really put the region at the forefront of the UK’s drive to reaching net-zero by 2050.”
Wood said it has been supplying hydrogen production units globally for more than 60 years.
It added it is the company is “well positioned to support the opportunities of a clean hydrogen energy system” due to its experience in CCS, renewable power and pipelines for distribution.
A Wood spokeswoman said: “As well as the contract we announced today on HyNet, we are also working on the Acorn project where we are supporting Carbon Clean with the FEED carbon capture study.”
Sir Ian is credited for having transformed his family’s fishing business into Wood Group, the multinational oil services company.
He joined the firm in 1962, became chief executive in 1967 and took the business public in 2002. He later served as chairman before retiring in 2012.
The HyNet North West project said it has the potential to reduce carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions by 10 million tonnes a year by 2030 – the equivalent of taking 4 million cars off the road.
From 2025, the project will produce, store, and distribute hydrogen, as well as capture and store carbon from industry in the North West of England and North Wales.