Pioneer One – Production Begins

— 4 min read

Protium and partners achieve commissioning milestone for the production of green hydrogen for industry in Wales

Today, (Tuesday 28 March) Protium, the leading green hydrogen company, together with partner organisations, Fuel Cell Systems Ltd, Enapter and the University of South Wales (USW) have commenced operations to generate green hydrogen at Baglan Energy Park, South Wales.

Commissioning Pioneer One marks a significant milestone in building a network of hydrogen generating facilities for the UK’s green hydrogen infrastructure. The project highlights the critical role green hydrogen can play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions from industry.

This important milestone will help drive change, scale up and increase adoption of zero emission green energy as part of the government’s drive to net zero. As a fully-fledged operation Pioneer One will produce green hydrogen without emitting greenhouse gases. This will displace up to 111 tonnes of CO2 per annum which is equivalent to: planting 4,440 trees (or covering 34 football fields with trees) or, offsetting emissions of 113 London to New York return flights.

In 2022 Protium announced its partnership with USW to deploy its first 100kW electrolyser at the University’s Hydrogen Centre in Baglan, Neath Port Talbot. This is the UK’s largest AEM integrated electrolyser, sourced from award winning design and manufacturing brand, Enapter, responsible for developing the first scalable AEM electrolyser, to generate electrolytic green hydrogen. Fuel Cell Systems Ltd., leaders in the design, manufacture and integration of hydrogen refuelling technologies was responsible for integration, installation and commissioning.

Development of Protium’s first hydrogen production facility has included design, site works and equipment installation. This week installation and commissioning of the Hydrogen Production Facility (HPF) was finalised and will start generating green fuel cell grade hydrogen. The first batch of green hydrogen filled storage containers (MCPS) will now start to roll off the production line.

Jon Constable, Chief Assets and Engineering Officer, Protium said:

“This is a landmark moment for the whole team that have made this happen at Protium, USW, FCSL and Enapter. As of the beginning of April we will have our first commercially operating hydrogen production facility, capable of supplying green hydrogen filled containers to customers. We are proud to have reached this point where we can make decarbonisation happen for industry and can now focus on longer term plans to scale up operations, here and in other locations.”

Tom Chicken, CEO, Fuel Cell Systems Ltd., said:

“This is a practical, working example of green hydrogen production in operation. The project partners have shown that hydrogen technologies are available now and can be implemented across industry. We are delighted to be a part of the decarbonisation solution.”

Commenting on the collaborative venture and what this means for the ongoing development of the hydrogen economy in Wales, Professor Jon Maddy, Director of the Hydrogen Centre at the University of South Wales said:

“The University of South Wales is dedicated to the development of clean hydrogen technologies, and we are delighted to work with Protium to deliver another first in hydrogen in the UK. Electrolytic hydrogen is critical to the transition to net zero and Pioneer One is another important step on this important journey.”

The facility can produce 40kg H2 / day which gives Protium the capability to deliver hydrogen MCPs at a rate of 10 per week, ready to supply directly to customers for uses such as vehicle trials, gen-sets and other smaller initial hydrogen operations. Customers will be able to collect filled cylinders of hydrogen from the Baglan facility.

Jon continues:

“This is the largest AEM Enapter electrolyser deployment in the UK and whilst this facility is currently on a small scale, it is designed to enable supply chain development and hydrogen training as we continue to develop larger facilities over the next 5 years.

We have all gained many important learnings, and the project has facilitated hydrogen safety operations development, vital to the future operations of any electrolyser-based system in the UK.”

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