The Anonymous Widower

Keadby 3 Low-Carbon Power Station

This article on Business Live is entitled Huge Green Power Station Proposed By SSE As It Embraces Hydrogen And Carbon Capture.

SSE Thermal is working on a low-carbon 910 MW gas-fired power station to join Keadby and Keadby 2 power stations in a cluster near Scunthorpe.

A spokesman for SSE is quoted as saying they will not build the plant without a clear route to decarbonisation.

On this page of their web site,  SSE Thermal, say this about Keadby 3.

As part of our commitment to a net zero emissions future, Keadby 3 will only be built with a clear route to decarbonisation, either using hydrogen as a low-carbon fuel, or equipping it with post-combustion carbon capture technology. The project is at the early stages of development and no final investment decision has been made.

It should also be noted that SSE Renewables have also built a wind farm at Keadby. The web site describes it like this.

Keadby Wind Farm is England’s largest onshore wind farm. This 68MW renewable energy generation site can power approximately 57,000 homes.

There are a lot of good intentions here and I think that SSE haven’t disclosed the full picture.

It would seem inefficient to use hydrogen to power a gas-fired power station to achieve zero-carbon power generation.

  • If you are using hydrogen created from steam reforming of methane, this creates a lot of carbon-dioxide.
  • If you are using green hydrogen produced by electrolysis, then, why don’t you store the electricity in a battery?

Perhaps, SSE are trying out a new process?

This Google Map shows the area of Keadby to the West of Scunthorpe.


  1. The River Trent meandering through the area.
  2. Althorpe station is in the bend of the River,
  3. I’m fairly certain, that I remember an old airfield in the area.
  4. Keadby power station is a bit to the North of the waterway running West from the River and close to where the railway crosses the waterway.

This second Google Map shows a close-up of the power station.

This visualisation from SSE Thermal shows how the site might look in the future.

For me the interesting location is the village of Althorpe, where C and myself had friends.

They were always getting tourists arriving in the village looking for Princess Diana’s grave!

Carbon Capture And Storage At Keadby

If SSE have three large power stations at Keadby, a shared carbon capture and storage system could be worthwhile.

  • There are numerous gas fields in the area and a big gas terminal at Theddlethorpe, to where they all connect.
  • I was surprised to see, that one of thee fields; Saltfleetby is owned by President Putin’s favourite gas company; Gazprom.
  • Some of these fields are actually on-shore.
  • The power stations probably get their gas from the same terminal.

Some of these gas fields that connect to Theddlethorpe could be suitable for storing the carbon dioxide.

As there is masses of space at Keadby, I can see more gas-fired power stations being built at Keadby.

All would feed into the same carbon capture and storage system.

If gas was needed to be imported in a liquified form, there is the Port of Immingham nearby.

Absorption Of Carbon Dioxide By Horticulture


  • Increasingly, horticulture is getting more automated and efficient.
  • Automatic harvesters are being developed for crops like tomatoes and strawberries.
  • Instead of storing the carbon-dioxide in worked-out gas fields, it can also be fed directly to fruit and vegetables that are being grown in greenhouses.
  • Keadby is surrounded by the flat lands of Lincolnshire.

How long will it be before we see tomatoes, strawberries, peppers and cucumbers labelled as British zero-carbon products?

Offshore Hydrogen

I’ll repeat what I said in ITM Power and Ørsted: Wind Turbine Electrolyser Integration.

This is from a press release from ITM Power, which has the same title as the linked article.

This is the introductory paragraph.

ITM Power (AIM: ITM), the energy storage and clean fuel company, is pleased to share details of a short project sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), in late 2019, entitled ‘Hydrogen supply competition’, ITM Power and Ørsted proposed the following:  an electrolyser placed at the wind turbine e.g. in the tower or very near it, directly electrically connected to the DC link in the wind turbine, with appropriate power flow control and water supplied to it. This may represent a better design concept for bulk hydrogen production as opposed to, for instance, remotely located electrolysers at a terminal or platform, away from the wind turbine generator, due to reduced costs and energy losses.
Some points from the remainder of the press release.

  • Costs can be saved as hydrogen pipes are more affordable than under-water power cables.
  • The proposed design reduced the need for AC rectification.

After reading the press release, it sounds like the two companies are performing a serious re-think on how wind turbines and their links to get energy on-shore are designed.

  • Will they be using redundant gas pipes to bring the hydrogen ashore?
  • Will the hydrogen come ashore at Theddlethorpe and use the existing gas network to get to Keadby?

It sounds inefficient, but then the steelworks at Scunthorpe will probably want masses of hydrogen for carbon-free steel making and processing.

Boosting Power Station Efficiency

There is also a section in the Wikipedia entry for Combined Cycle Power Plant called Boosting Efficiency, where this is said.

The efficiency of CCGT and GT can be boosted by pre-cooling combustion air. This is practised in hot climates and also has the effect of increasing power output. This is achieved by evaporative cooling of water using a moist matrix placed in front of the turbine, or by using Ice storage air conditioning. The latter has the advantage of greater improvements due to the lower temperatures available. Furthermore, ice storage can be used as a means of load control or load shifting since ice can be made during periods of low power demand and, potentially in the future the anticipated high availability of other resources such as renewables during certain periods.

So is the location of the site by the Trent, important because of all that cold water?

Or will they use surplus power from the wind farm to create ice?

The Proposed North Sea Wind Power Hub

The North Sea Wind Power Hub is a proposed energy island complex on the Eastern part of the Dogger Bank.

  • The Dutch, Germans and Danes are leading the project.
  • Along with the Belgians, we have been asked to join.
  • Some reporting on the Hub has shown, airstrips in the middle of the complex to bring the workforce to the site.
  • A Dutch report, says that as much as 110 GW of wind power could be developed by 2050.
  • We are also looking at installing wind farms on our section of the Dogger Bank.

Geography says, that one of the most convenient locations to bring all this electricity or hydrogen gas ashore is North Lincolnshire

A Very Large Battery

I would also put a very large battery on the site at Keadby.

One of Highview Power‘s proposed 1 GWh CRYOBatteries would be a good start. This will be four times the size of the 250 MWh CRYOBattery, which the company is currently designing and building at Carrington in Greater Manchester.


The three power stations at Keadby are the following sizes

  • Keadby 1 – 734 MW
  • Keadby 2 – 803.7 MW
  • Keadby 3 – 010 MW

This adds up to a total of 2447.7 MW. And if they fit carbon capture and storage it will be zero-carbon.


  • Hinckley Point C is only 3200 MW and will cost around £20 billion or £6.25 billion per GW.
  • Keadby 2 power station is quoted as costing £350 million. or £0.44 billion per GW.

These figures don’t include the cost of carbon capture and storage, but they do show the relatively high cost of nuclear.

July 11, 2020 - Posted by | Energy, Energy Storage, Hydrogen | , , , , , , ,


  1. like you, I can’t see why you would use hydrogen in a power plant. Unlike natural gas, it does not occur naturally and has to be manufactured, for which you need power. from power generation. The Grid is committed to decarbonisation by 2025, and coal has pretty much disappeared. Gas is next on the list to remove, and given the large pipeline of wind/solar/storage projects, that looks eminently feasible. Like nuclear power, this looks like a project that will be redundant by the time it is built.

    Comment by Peter Robins | July 11, 2020 | Reply

  2. The joint project between ITM Power and Orsted is crucial. It might make it significantly more affordable to bring the energy to the shore as hydrogen gas, rather than electricity, especially, if you already have an existing gas-handling network.

    It should also be noted, that hydrogen can be used to make important chemicals like fertilisers and in the production of steel, so Humberside could have a massive need for the gas to decarbonise its existing industries.

    So using some of the plentiful gas back into electricity might be a useful part of a decarbonisation strategy.

    Where Humberside goes, the chemical plants of Merseyside, Teesside and Grangemouth will surely follow. Expect INEOS to play its hand soon, but I can see them developing a serious decarbonisation program based on hydrogen.

    Comment by AnonW | July 11, 2020 | Reply

  3. Their consultation website says “Keadby has been deliberately chosen to be able to connect into the emerging proposals for a carbon dioxide or hydrogen pipeline within the Humber region, being developed by National Grid Ventures and Equinor.” According to this is based round Drax, not hydrogen produced in the N Sea. It’s aimed at decarbonising “other areas of the economy” than power generation. AIUI, this is simillar to the NW Hydrogen Alliance based round Merseyside/Cheshire and similar proposals on Teesside, repurposing existing gas/chemical/hydrocarbon plants around hydrogen. I’m sceptical about CCS but I can see how it would help in the short term as a transition technology – it should be much easier than trying to massively ramp up electrolysis.

    Comment by Peter Robins | July 11, 2020 | Reply

    • This is ITM Power’s plans for the area, which has won government funding for a study.

      If they can make this work, then ITM Power’s part-owner, Linde, can probably sell this concept to all of the world’s windy places.

      One thing, that should be remembered in all this, is that carbon capture from a cluster of gas-fired power station is probably a lot easier, than capture from a similarly-sized coal-fired power complex.

      It won’t have the nasty impurities and there will be less of it for a start.

      Comment by AnonW | July 11, 2020 | Reply

  4. Too much electricity is generated at times. They ‘pay’ companies to use it. Yes they do. So this surplus energy can be stored for later use, which also balances the grid. Hydrogen (surplus electricity) is a candidate in powering hydrogen fuel cell trains with zero emissions. Also using grid battery storage banks.

    Only further studies can ascertain if using stored hydrogen is feasible to generate electricity to supply the grid.

    Comment by John | July 12, 2020 | Reply

    • I would envisage, that large hydrogen users, like chemical companies and the steel companies would have large gas holders, as there used to be with all the coal gas in my youth. They’re not so common now!

      Comment by AnonW | July 12, 2020 | Reply

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