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Press releases

Former ‘Megawatt Valley’ to metamorphose into hydrogen heartland with the launch of East Midlands Hydrogen - the UK’s largest inland hydrogen cluster


7 min read Partner content
  • Heavyweight organisations come together to ensure the East Midlands seizes the opportunity that the hydrogen economy offers
  • Development of large-scale low carbon hydrogen production, distribution and industrial end use will enable wide-spread industrial decarbonisation, and protect manufacturing jobs
  • East Midlands Hydrogen partners will help attract ongoing investment, bring new skills, and ensure hydrogen industry job growth for the region

D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, Cadent, and some of the region’s leading organisations such as Uniper, Toyota, Midlands Engine, East Midlands Freeport and Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership have formed a new industrial partnership called East Midlands Hydrogen, that is poised to become the UK’s largest inland hydrogen cluster.

East Midlands Hydrogen logoEast Midlands Hydrogen is a unique proposition. Unlike other major hydrogen clusters which are coastal, this one is right in the heart of the country. It brings together an intensive cluster of hydrogen demand forecasts from around 70 industrial sites in the Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and northern Leicestershire regions, who are asking for more than 10TWh of hydrogen by 2040 in total, to enable site decarbonisation. For these sites alone, access to low carbon hydrogen would enable carbon savings of 1.9 million tonnes per year, the equivalent of gas-related carbon emissions from 860,000 homes.

The East Midlands region is perfectly set up for large-scale low carbon hydrogen production through electrolysis. Previously known as ‘Megawatt Valley’, its high voltage electrical transmission power lines were originally constructed to enable power export from the string of coal-fired power stations built along the river Trent. Available water from the river, coupled with imported renewable energy could enable ‘Megawatt Valley’ to metamorphose into a hydrogen production heartland at GW scale, with multiple forecasts received for a total of 500MW production capacity across the region.

By connecting supply and demand through a new 100% hydrogen pipeline network, this region is poised to become the UK’s largest inland hydrogen cluster, bringing massive economic benefits to the region. A PWC report set for publication in October 2023 estimates that development of a full hydrogen supply chain in the East Midlands would contribute £10 billion GVA and 110,000 jobs created or retained by 2050.

The East Midlands Hydrogen partners and their supporters will come together on Friday 22 September 2023 at Toyota Motor Manufacturing (UK) Ltd in Burnaston, Derby for an event that will showcase the plans underway to realise the hydrogen opportunity in the region. The event will host over 150 local industry partners, including hydrogen producers, distributors and more than 30 prospective industrial users of hydrogen, local authority representatives, as well as political champions of hydrogen. During the day, delegates will hear from leaders in the hydrogen value chain, including The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, Cadent, Uniper, Toyota and East Midlands Freeport. They will illustrate how East Midlands Hydrogen will support the development of a hydrogen ecosystem, create new skilled jobs and training opportunities, enable business startups and scaleups, whilst supporting levelling up across the East Midlands.

The D2N2 region, covering Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham, and Nottinghamshire, has a proud industrial and manufacturing track record and remains at the forefront of economic development, with the East Midlands Freeport and the East Midlands Development Company recently established. The region is on track to become the home of the UK’s newest and largest combined authority in 2024.

The launch event is fully booked, however there is a waiting list for places that may become available in the run-up to the event. Those wishing to join the waiting list should contact

Will Morlidge, Chief Executive, D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) said:

“We are delighted to be launching East Midlands Hydrogen with our industry partners to stimulate and grow an end to end hydrogen ecosystem in our region. We have the ambition, drive, energy, and the partnerships to do this at scale as we drive towards our Net Zero future. I can’t emphasise enough the scale and immediacy of opportunities across our region and I’m looking forward to working with our partners to make this happen at pace.”

Sally Brewis, Head of Regional Development, Cadent said:

“The sheer scale of demand for hydrogen in this region coupled with GW production potential, creates an urgent imperative for a 100% hydrogen pipeline to connect supply and demand. Bricks, building materials, food & drink and flexible power generation companies have all told us they need hydrogen to decarbonise. Design work is underway for a dedicated sub-section of Cadent’s East Coast Hydrogen pipeline network; the low carbon hydrogen delivered by our pipeline would allow industry to decarbonise their operations and protect manufacturing jobs in the region.”

Guy Phillips, Team Lead, Business Development Hydrogen, UK Uniper said:

“East Midlands Hydrogen is a fantastic collaborative initiative and there’s a really joined up picture developing for hydrogen demand in the region. Uniper’s Ratcliffe site is in a great location with significant potential for low carbon hydrogen production to supply the region’s potential future demand, once the power station has finished generating at the end of September 2024. I’m looking forward to continuing the dialogue with regional stakeholders and partners as we look to transform the Ratcliffe site to a zero carbon technology and energy hub.”

Tim Freeman, Deputy Managing Director, Toyota and D2N2 Board member said:

“Toyota is taking a multi-path approach to reducing carbon emissions, not only through our mobility solutions and services but also in our manufacturing operations. Supporting this is our goal to achieve carbon neutral operations by 2030 including here at Burnaston and hydrogen can play an important role in achieving these ambitions. It is a privilege to play host to an event of this nature bringing key players, both industrial and political, together to lay the foundations for a future hydrogen society.”

Sir John Peace, Chairman of Midlands Engine said:

“The Midlands Engine Partnership 2022 Hydrogen Technologies Strategy showcased the bold ambition of our region’s stakeholders to pioneer, commercialise and deliver a hydrogen ecosystem to establish the Midlands as a nationally important location for hydrogen innovation and application. The launch of East Midlands Hydrogen – pioneering the UK’s largest inland hydrogen cluster – is a significant milestone on this wider regional journey as partners clearly demonstrate there is both real demand for and confidence to invest in a regional hydrogen energy system at scale. The scale of the Midlands hydrogen opportunity will only increase with time as we capitalise on this economic net zero opportunity.”

Tom Newman-Taylor, Chief Executive, East Midlands Freeport said:

“East Midlands Freeport is working hard to unlock the potential of the region by attracting significant new investment, creating highly skilled employment opportunities and accelerating towards our Net Zero commitments. Backing hydrogen for industry and propulsion is the latest step to position the region as a hotbed of innovation for green energy and technology with world leading research partners at the heart of the country.

As part of this, we will be working to assist the regional hydrogen transition through strategic support for the hydrogen skills and innovation agenda. Working with regional partners, we want to see a critical mass of hydrogen skills in the region, filling the higher technical skills gap, upskilling as well as reskilling the workforce to attract and retain high calibre talent.”

Neil McGhee, LLEP Board Member and Low Carbon Champion said:

“Energy intensive industries, particularly within the manufacturing sector, must decarbonise if we are to meet the challenge set by Government of being Net Zero by 2050.

To help those businesses, protect jobs, and to capitalise on the growth opportunity of a new hydrogen economy, we need to ensure that those manufacturers are able to access low carbon hydrogen.”


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