Business leaders meet to drive the conversation on biohydrogen

By Nick Batten on 20 October, 2021

Business leaders gathered this week (19th October) at Advanced Biofuel Solutions Ltd (Absl) in Swindon to drive conversation around hydrogen and its many uses. 

The event saw the innovative firm explore its plans to develop the world’s first plant to convert household waste into bio-substitute natural gas (BioSNG). The facility, located in Swindon, will convert 8,000 tonnes of waste into 22GWh of gas each year. 

The Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership (SWLEP) supported Absl with a loan of £1.25m in February 2020 from its Growing Places Infrastructure Fund programme, which has led to the creation of 30 new highly skilled engineering jobs. 

The event marked the latest leg of a UK-wide roadshow, spearheaded by the Decarbonised Gas Alliance (DGA), a collective of nearly 30 expert organisations that have come together to help decarbonise the gas system and meet the country’s target of net-zero climate emissions. 

Launched in Westminster on 18th October, the ambitious national tour will run until 27th October, ending the weekend before the much-publicised UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow. 

The DGA’s goal – with the support of members, Hydrogen Now, the UKHFCA and BEIS – is #GettingNetZeroDone. 

Speaking about the Roadshow, Chris Barron, DGA Chair, said, “Hydrogen – like many other decarbonised gases – can help us meet the UK’s ever-pressing need for net-zero climate emissions, safely, at low cost, with minimal disruption, while creating thousands of sustainable jobs across the country. 

“It has a particularly valuable role to play in the hard to decarbonise sectors like transport, industry and heat. As a nation, we rely heavily on these industries, but they account for 40% of UK greenhouse gases. They’re therefore the elephant in the room if we don’t work together to create a deliverable pathway to a net-zero energy infrastructure.” 

Robert Buckland, Member of Parliament for South Swindon, said, “Following a loan from the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership in February 2020, Advanced Biofuel Solutions has been able to invest in essential capital equipment in the final phases of the construction and commissioning of its new energy plant here in the town. 

“This has created 30 new jobs at the Swindon Plant. The company is also involved in an exciting trial project with Wales and West Utilities to insert 1% hydrogen into the Swindon gas network, which would reduce fossil fuel-derived gas content. 

“The Government has sent out a 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution. Working with industry, we are aiming for 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 for use across the economy. This level of hydrogen production could be equivalent to the amount of gas consumed by over 3 million households in the UK each year.” 

He added, “It is great that here in Swindon we are leading the way with this green initiative at the new Advanced Biofuel Solutions Plant, whilst creating new jobs here in the town.”