Meat-free Pioneer and Market Leader Quorn to Investigate Decarbonised Production Using Green Hydrogen

— 4 min read
  • Green hydrogen leader Protium has received funding to explore the deployment of green hydrogen technology with meat-free market leader, Quorn
  • Given the ongoing natural gas shortage and high gas prices, green hydrogen could present a realistic, sustainable alternative for Quorn to secure its energy supply and meet its 2030 net positive targets
  • With the UK food and drink sector accounting for 35% of the UK’s total CO2 output, green hydrogen presents a significant opportunity to future-proof and revolutionise the manufacturing process for British brands

Protium, the UK‐based green hydrogen energy services company, and its consortium partner, Petrofac, will explore the deployment of green hydrogen technology with meat-free pioneer Quorn, the unrivalled market leader in its space.

Quorn’s production facility, Belasis, is based in Billingham in the North East and continues to expand its production capacity to support the company’s ongoing growth. Protium and Petrofac will assess how the introduction of dual-fuel boilers (combusting both hydrogen and natural gas blend) can meet their expanding production capacity.

Located close to Quorn’s Belasis production facility, Protium and Petrofac will explore the feasibility of supplying green hydrogen via a pipeline as part of Protium’s green hydrogen project in Teesside.

The project – which would further accelerate the brand’s decarbonisation efforts – demonstrates yet another sustainability commitment from Quorn and forms part of their ambitious net positive roadmap.

Following a string of recent updates demonstrating Protium’s project velocity and expanding CAPEX pipeline, this project represents a wider strategic move from Protium who recently announced a planned hydrogen hub, in Teesside, located one mile from Belasis. Here, the team will be utilising Wilton Engineering’s site to deploy up to 40MW of electrolysis, which will produce over nine tonnes of green hydrogen per day. Initially, Protium would look to displace part of Quorn’s natural gas demand with green hydrogen which could save as much as 13,200 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year. This would be equivalent to removing 7,600 cars from the road.

Mark C Taylor, Chief Engineering Officer at Quorn, said: “Quorn Foods is committed to being net-positive by 2030. This means we will put more into our planet than we take out. Health, well-being, nature, society, and the way we manage our business sustainably are all part of this journey.

We are also aiming for net-zero emissions within our operations by 2030. To achieve this, we are considering all options to drive down the carbon intensity of our process heat and electricity consumption. The transformational opportunity which green hydrogen potentially presents is one we are taking very seriously. Changing well-established manufacturing processes comes with real challenges, and we are excited about working with Protium and their team of partners. The approach that Protium have taken with us has been highly collaborative; engineering based; and commercially pragmatic.

We look forward to completing this phase of the project and to fully understanding the green hydrogen opportunity.”

Commenting on the announcement, Chris Jackson, CEO of Protium, said: “Quorn has proven through this project that it is committed to delivering its mission by focusing on its production process and how to drive long-term sustainability. We are thrilled to be working alongside an industry leader and food pioneer to help them implement their net zero strategy. We hope other brands in the space follow suit and support the drive to decarbonise Britain.”

Jon Carpenter, Petrofac’s Vice President, New Energy Services, added: “We’re looking forward to collaborating with the teams at Protium and Quorn and deploying our engineering expertise to define the potential for using green hydrogen in Quorn’s production processes. The project could unlock a game-changing solution for decarbonising Quorn’s manufacturing process – one that could benefit the food and drink sector as a whole.”

The project could serve as a blueprint for other manufacturing companies looking to decarbonise their manufacturing processes, not only in the vegan protein space but across the broader food and beverage manufacturing sector.

According to a 2021 report by the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), the UK food and beverage industry contributes to 35% of the UK’s total GHG emissions, meaning the industry plays an integral role in tackling climate change and achieving net zero[1].

Exploring green hydrogen for energy or heat sources is an increasingly prevalent trend shaping the UK manufacturing arena, with many businesses either in the early stages of developing their net zero strategies, or others are looking to implement alternative energy sources and technologies that have been proven to drastically reduce GHG emissions.

This project builds on Protium’s recent announcement with AB InBev and demonstrates their expertise in decarbonising the Food & Drink sector.

[1] WRAP ‘Delivering a 50% reduction in the GHG footprint of UK food and Drink’ report, 2021

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