The chemicals company owned by Sir Jim Ratcliffe has agreed to become a key investor in a new ‘clean’ hydrogen fund scheduled to be listed on the London Stock Exchange later this year.
Ineos, who made Monaco-based Ratcliffe one of the richest people in the UK, will invest at least Â£ 25million in HydrogenOne Capital Growth as it plans to raise a total of Â£ 250million by becoming the first hydrogen specialist to float in the UK.
The world’s third-largest chemicals company said the investment would open “new windows to the world of clean hydrogen,” which is poised to experience rapid growth in the emerging green economy by replacing fossil fuels in heavy industry and long distance transport.
Ineos announced plans to invest in hydrogen plants across Europe late last year and revealed its next step in the UK hydrogen market weeks before the UK government launches a strategy worth Â£ 240million to support hydrogen production.
The government’s strategy, which could emerge as early as next week, has been eagerly awaited by the energy industry to launch billions of pounds of investment in the production of clean-burning gas.
Hydrogen is seen as a key pillar in the UK government’s plans to end the country’s contribution to the global climate crisis. But it has also raised concerns among green groups that the hydrogen industry may be too dependent on fossil fuels rather than using renewables.
HydrogenOne plans to invest in hydrogen projects, including “green hydrogen” – made from renewable energy and water – and “blue hydrogen”, which is extracted from traditional fossil gas, while capturing remaining carbon emissions before they are released into the atmosphere.
Blue hydrogen has caused outcry from environmentalists because carbon capture technology is unable to trap all of the carbon released as a byproduct of hydrogen production, meaning some will still contribute to global warming. planet. It can also foster continued dependence on fossil fuel production, which itself is a major source of carbon emissions, critics say.
Brian Gilvary, chairman of Ineos Energy and veteran of oil company BP, said his investment in HydrogenOne would help “accelerate and diversify” the company’s existing hydrogen strategy and “mark the start of another substantial partnership and long term “.
Centrica, owner of British Gas’s FTSE 250, is also preparing to invest in hydrogen. The company is in talks with the UK government over a Â£ 650million plan to convert a disused underwater gas storage site off the coast of northeast England to store gas. hydrogen.
Meanwhile, the Norwegian state oil company, Equinor, plans to triple the amount of blue hydrogen it produces in the UK, and Royal Dutch Shell started production at a hydrogen plant last week. green in Germany.