Global engineer Worley has been appointed to develop the concept design for Ireland’s first green hydrogen plant able to supply more than 20 tonnes of fuel a day to businesses and remove 63,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year.
The 50-megawatt plant in Aghada, near the lower Cork Harbour, is expected to be finished before the end of 2023 if it gets planning permission. The cost of construction is estimated at around €120m, according to a press release issued by Cork local-government body, Cork Smart Gateway.Â
It will use excess offshore wind energy to power electrolysis, the process by which water is broken down into its constituent elements, hydrogen and oxygen. It is promoted as helping Ireland to meet its target of cutting emissions by 51% by 2030, as mandated in the country’s recent Climate Bill.
Worley was commissioned by start-up green energy firm EI-H2, which formed in March this year.
Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney backed the plant when plans for it were unveiled last month. "Ireland faces a challenge to decarbonise over the next decade, and a plan like that being put forward by EI-H2 would go some way towards helping us achieve what might now seem like impossible targets," he said.
When the plans were announced, EI-H2 was due to begin an intensive round of pre-planning discussions with Cork County Council, the Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications and other interested parties ahead of the formal lodging of planning permission later this year.
At that time, EI-H2 chief executive Tom Lynch said: "Ireland has incredible potential as an emerging leader in green hydrogen. We have identified East Cork as the first site to develop this safe form of new energy, and will be looking at other strategic locations around the country where the power of excess energy can be harnessed."
"This is an exciting opportunity for Worley to apply our vast experience in delivering the world’s most ground-breaking green hydrogen projects to the Irish market," said Eoghan Quinn, Worley’s vice president for power and energy.
"As more renewable energy comes online, Ireland has a strategic role to play in decarbonising Europe. We continue to grow our strong footprint in this geography, supporting our customers to build a more sustainable future."
Image: Aerial view of Cork Harbour (acediscovery/CC BY 4.0)