The centre, the first of its kind in the UK, will result in the research, development and testing of new hydrogen technologies, including for cars, buses, trains, lorries, boats and planes taking place in Teesside, where more than half of the UK’s hydrogen is already produced.
The new centre, which will provide a place for academic and industrial experts to come together to drive forward the UK’s plans to embrace the use of hydrogen as an alternative fuel, will create hundreds of jobs, while seeing the region become a global leader in the green hydrogen sector.
Combined with renewable electricity, hydrogen can be produced, stored and used to generate heat and electricity without producing any greenhouse gases and with huge reductions in many other air pollutants.
The knock-on benefits of a strong hydrogen economy could add up to £7billion to the region’s economy from now until 2050, creating thousands of jobs in the process
The Government has highlighted Teesside as being perfectly placed to reap these benefits. Utilising its unique geography and industrial strengths, the new National Hydrogen Transport Centre would sit alongside plans to build the world’s biggest hydrogen refuelling station in Teesside – plans which have already been backed by Government.
The new centre will sit alongside the new Tees Valley Net Zero Innovation Centre, a partnership between Teesside University and TWI made possible by the support of Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen with £14million in funding, to jointly form a new innovation campus focused on clean energy research and development on Teesside Advanced Manufacturing Park in Middlesbrough.
Mayor Houchen said: 'I am delighted that, after months of hard work and conversations with ministers, the government has been able to announce that Teesside will be the place for the Government’s first Hydrogen Transport Centre. This is yet more proof we are the number one place in the country for hydrogen research.
'Hydrogen is playing a massive part in our future plans. We already produce more than 50% of the UK’s hydrogen, so by becoming the home of the National Hydrogen Transport Centre, we can properly utilise this and fully unleash our area’s potential.
Finding new ways to produce clean energy is integral to ensuring a sustainable future for the planet and a key focus of our university’s research
'Hydrogen and Net Zero Teesside aren’t just a key part of my plan for jobs – a plan to create good quality, high skilled local jobs for local people across Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool – but they will create the clean jobs which are essential for our future
'I’ve always said that if the Government wants to prove to the people of Teesside, Darlington and Hartlepool that it is serious about its levelling up agenda, then bringing the National Hydrogen Transport Centre to our region would be a no-brainer. That is exactly what they have done and it shows once again how much they recognise the potential of our region.
'Teesside has led the world in steel manufacturing and engineering for generations. Now we can become a trail blazer in the industries of the future.'
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: 'As we continue on our road to a green recovery, we know that to really harness the power of transport to improve our country – and to set a global gold standard – we must truly embed change.
'That’s why I’m delighted that through our plans to build back better we are embracing the power of hydrogen and the more sustainable, greener forms of transport it will bring.'
Teesside University is leading development of the Net Zero Industry Innovation Centre. Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Simon Hodgson said: 'Finding new ways to produce clean energy is integral to ensuring a sustainable future for the planet and a key focus of our university’s research.
'This announcement puts Middlesbrough and the Tees Valley at the forefront of the UK’s hydrogen economy and we are delighted to be able to bring our research and expertise to bear in helping provide an innovative solution to the climate emergency.'