One of the country's biggest industrial producers will be creating green hydrogen on-site to decarbonise its processes
Spotted: Electrifying traditionally fossil-fuel-powered technologies provides one of the most efficient ways to reduce carbon emissions, for example by replacing diesel or petrol engine vehicles with electric ones. But in the case of industrial processes that require heating products to 1,400 degrees Celsius, simply replacing fossil fuels for electrical components is not as straightforward. In this scenario, there is a need for a green fuel alternative.
Mannok, a major producer of cement and building materials, believes that it has found this green alternative through a partnership with Slieve Rushen Wind farm, an established site a mile from Mannok’s industrial base in Northern Ireland, in a joint initiative with Gravis. The wind farm is consistently told to regulate its production of energy down by between 8 and 15 per cent in order to not produce an excess supply to the grid. An efficient fuel can be created using this excess supply of electricity: hydrogen.
Usually, hydrogen production itself has a significant carbon footprint, with hydrogen derived from fossil fuels accounting for over 99 per cent of the global market. However, a process called electrolysis can utilise electricity to split water (H2O) into its component atoms (H2 and O), creating green hydrogen. Mannok will be using surplus energy from Slieve Rushen to power the process. The initial plan is for Mannok to displace its fuel need by 70 per cent by 2035 and use hydrogen to power fuel cell heavy-duty goods vehicles, with hopes of also blending the hydrogen with alternative fuels to power Mannok’s cement manufacturing processes.
In 2022 the application was submitted to the UK government’s Net Zero Hydrogen Fund to receive the necessary funding to take the project from conceptual to “ready to build”. Ultimately, The Mannok Energy Valley programme is a 15-year multistage project that would see Mannok pioneer green energy alternatives.
Written By: Archie Cox