Creation of a ‘Hydrogen Valley’ could bring jobs, reduce CO2, and attract investment to the West Midlands and East of England

A feasibility study conducted by two of Britain’s leading gas networks has shown that a hydrogen economy in the West Midlands and East of England could:

  • Safeguard and create 34,000 jobs in the region, creating real, tangible benefits to constituents of the Hydrogen Valley region
  • Reduce CO2 emissions by 12.9 million tonnes
  • Attract up to £28 billion in private capital investment in hydrogen production by developing a green economy in the Hydrogen Valley region
  • Boost energy resilience and protect consumers from volatile prices through locally produced and consumed hydrogen
  • The Hydrogen Valley project is delivered by Cadent and National Gas Transmission and is supported by more than 30 regional stakeholders, including PEPSICO, Birmingham Airport, CEMEX, British Sugar, RWE, West Midlands Combined Authority, and others from across the private and public sector.

The Hydrogen Valley is an East-West corridor that encompasses Norfolk in the east to Shropshire in the West, comprised of the administrative counties of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire, Milton Keynes, Norfolk, Northamptonshire, Peterborough, Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, Telford and Wrekin, and the West Midlands.

The vision for the Hydrogen Valley is being set out at a House of Commons launch event, hosted by MP Bim Afolami this afternoon (29/03/2023). The event will bring together more than a hundred representatives from politics, industry, academia and business to outline their commitment to collaborate, to accelerate decarbonisation and to bring the benefits of a hydrogen economy to the West Midlands and East of England.

Initial research identified that the Hydrogen Valley is home to major operations in power generation, automotive, manufacturing, metal processing, and building materials, employing tens of thousands of people collectively.

Simon Richards, chief finance and sustainability officer for Birmingham Airport, said: “We expect zero-emissions, hydrogen-powered air travel to become a reality in the next few years. The more brains and organisations involved, the sooner game-changing advances like this will become a reality.”

Helen Boyle, Head of Regional Development at Cadent, said: “With the launch of the Hydrogen Valley study, we are nearer to understanding the role that hydrogen could play in delivering a net zero energy system while boosting local economies, communities and creating a resilient system that enhances the UK’s energy security.”

Danielle Stewart, Hydrogen Project Director at National Gas Transmission, said: “We are looking forward to sharing the results of the feasibility study, which has enabled us to explore how we can maximise the value of existing UK infrastructure and give consumers fair access to cost effective low carbon hydrogen.”