27 September 2021

Gigastack: Refuelling the Humber Refinery

Phillips 66 is one step closer to delivering green hydrogen to support fuel switching and the decarbonisation of its Humber Refinery in the U.K.

The Gigastack project aims to harness offshore wind to power electrolysis, producing renewable hydrogen. Renewable hydrogen is produced from water and renewable power and does not yield CO2 emissions in its production. As an energy vector, it is capable of powering transportation and heavy industry, as well as multiple processes within refining.

“This exciting project aligns with our record of developing new low-carbon markets within the U.K. and worldwide,” said Darren Cunningham, Humber’s General Manager and Lead Executive for Phillips 66 in the U.K.

As part of Phillips 66's plans for the "Refinery of the Future", renewable hydrogen is essential for the Humber Refinery's energy transition. Renewable hydrogen molecules will become part of the refinery's production of graphite coke for battery anodes, also supporting the government's desire to create a UK based electric vehicle value chain. Without the requirement for CO2 transportation and sequestration, renewable hydrogen can be deployed earlier than other forms of low-carbon hydrogen production. It is well evidenced that the Humber Region is the UK's largest cluster by emissions (12.4MtCO2/yr) and that this region is crucial for achieving the UK's 2050 net zero emissions target.

The Humber region has set an ambitious target to become the world’s first net-zero carbon industrial cluster by 2040. Alongside other decarbonisation solutions, renewable hydrogen is needed in these areas since many of these industries cannot decarbonise through direct electrification and a sustainable transition needs to occur in these industries to sustain the economy for which the region is so dependent. Gigastack will demonstrate how renewable hydrogen will lower the carbon intensity of the Phillips 66 Humber Refinery feedstock by commercialising transformative technology and the possibility of further upscaling. This aligns with the regional Humber Industrial Cluster Plan under development through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

The Gigastack project will lay the groundwork for a rapid ramp up in hydrogen production capacity including a large-scale electrical connection, using renewable electricity from Orsted's Hornsea 2 offshore wind farm, located 89km off the Yorkshire coast in the North Sea with an associated onshore substation at lmmingham. This substation is conveniently located in the vicinity of the Phillips 66 Humber Refinery. An electrical supply will run from the substation to the Gigastack facility, from where the renewable hydrogen will be supplied to the adjacent Humber Refinery.

The Phillips 66 Humber Refinery is one of the most complex refineries in the Phillips 66 portfolio and one of the most sophisticated refineries in Europe. The vast range of products it produces includes not only fuel – it produces some 14 million litres a day, some of which is sold at our JET branded petrol stations – but raw materials that are transformed into everything from essential components for electric vehicle batteries to toiletries. Some 20% of all UK petroleum products come from our Humber Refinery. As part of our vision to become the refinery of the future we will continue to produce essential products, providing energy and improving lives.


Jenny Sutcliffe, Phillips 66 Principal Consultant Regulatory Affairs said, “Working on the development of the Gigastack has been really interesting, and the collaboration among the partners has been fantastic. Gigastack not only represents a tangible opportunity to lay a foundation on which the hydrogen economy can build, but it can also kick start the growth of green electrolytic hydrogen in the UK. We look forward to continuing to work with the partners to develop and realise this project.”