The current process for the manufacture of Rockwool's stone wool insulation uses natural gas in the combustion systems and curing ovens. This new scheme will investigate the viability of converting natural gas usage to on-site produced green hydrogen.
Research into the low carbon technology is being funded by the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio (NZIP) under the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy through the Industrial Hydrogen Accelerator programme. The project is a partnership between ROCKWOOL Ltd, Marubeni Europower and Mott MacDonald to develop a potential end-to-end hydrogen solution in South Wales.
By including electrolytic hydrogen production from local wind and solar renewable power in Bridgend, the project could demonstrate the viability of green hydrogen as an end-to-end fuel solution in industrial processes.
This combination of research into green hydrogen use and a viable on-site production solution, could demonstrate real opportunities and deliver 'proof of concept' for this approach for other industrial sectors across the United Kingdom.
BEIS are supporting the consortium with nearly £400,000 in funding and strategic support for the project as part of a wider announcement of investments into industrial hydrogen projects across the UK.
COMMENT FROM PARTNERS
Rafael Rodriguez, Managing Director of ROCKWOOL Ltd and Senior Vice President of ROCKWOOL Group, said: "Action is needed now on climate change. We already produce a net negative product with data showing that over their lifetime, ROCKWOOL insulation products sold in 2022 will save over 100 times more carbon than was emitted during their production. However, we want to do more to reduce our operation impact. ROCKWOOL Group has set ambitious decarbonisation targets verified and approved by the Science Based Target initiative, and in line with this, we are looking forward to enhancing our own understanding about the potential for green hydrogen use in our business."
Tomoki Nishino, President and CEO of Marubeni Europower Ltd, said: "We are honoured to be part of this project to carry out a large scale decarbonisation study at the Rockwool plant, contributing Marubeni's experience in power generation and infrastructure development. We believe that this feasibility study is directly relevant to other factories of a similar kind that need to take similar measures. I hope other industries can also benefit from our study and that this type of initiative spreads widely across South Wales Industrial Cluster, Wales, the UK, and beyond. Moreover, Marubeni hopes to provide unique value to UK as a Japanese company with an access to hydrogen supply chain partners and Japanese governmental subsidy funding supports, for the purpose of promoting further mutually beneficial collaboration between UK and Japan."
Claudio Tassistro, Energy General Manager for Mott MacDonald, said: "We are proud to be supporting this exciting study on the application of hydrogen in the real world. Our multidisciplinary team has worked on green hydrogen generation and storage projects across the world and will bring with it a wealth of knowledge, and technical and economic expertise. The development of green hydrogen production projects like this are critical to achieving our net-zero ambitions and meeting the challenges posed by the climate crisis."