20 January 2022

Dorset Green H2 - South West's first green hydrogen production facility

A field with solar panels and large white containers for an electrolyser to generate green hydrogen fuel

The hydrogen economy in the South West has taken a huge step forward with the completion of a £6.5 million funding package that will enable Dorset-based Canford Renewable Energy Ltd to deliver its Dorset Green H2 facility, the first of its kind in the region. 

Unlike many other hydrogen projects which may use fossil fuels to produce the fuel, the Dorset Green H2 facility will use only renewable energy generated by on-site solar and landfill gases to make green hydrogen, a clean, zero-emission fuel. 

The site, previously used for landfill, has been used to generate electricity by harnessing naturally occurring methane gases from landfill since 1996. This legacy will be continued through this exciting Dorset Green H2 project.

Green hydrogen power will play an important role in moving polluting, energy-intensive industries and heavy transport such as shipping, HGV lorries and trains, away from fossil fuels. It is recognised by the government as an emission-free fuel for use in vehicles, homes and much more. Producing only water vapour and oxygen as by-products, green hydrogen is a central part of the UK government’s plan to reach net zero.

Published in August 2021, the UK Hydrogen Strategy states an ambition to have a world-leading hydrogen economy and identifies hydrogen as having the potential to provide a third of the UK’s energy in the future.

Housing Minister, Eddie Hughes, Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities said: “I am delighted to see funding go towards such a positive development in the South West, a real catalyst for a green hydrogen economy in Dorset. It is a priority of this Government to level up opportunities and create a greener, more sustainable future”.

The facility at Canford Resource Park, Poole, is expected to be operational later this year and is being funded via £3 million from Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)’s Growing Places Fund loan scheme, a £1.5 million grant from Low Carbon Dorset, a £1.7m loan from NatWest and equity funding from Canford Renewable Energy.

Cecilia Bufton, Dorset LEP Chair, said: The UK needs green hydrogen to meet its future energy requirements and we are delighted to award funding to the Dorset Green H2 project, the first of its kind in the South West of England.

“Our recently published Dorset Low Carbon Opportunities document, which maps out options for Dorset to become net zero by 2050, identifies hydrogen as a major investment opportunity and key contributor to Dorset’s clean growth, alongside activities such as decarbonising the grid network, transport and heat. This project will be a springboard to stimulate hydrogen production in Dorset, taking us a step closer towards our net zero goal for the county.”

Dorset Green H2 will see the installation of a 5-Megawatt (MW) ground-mounted array of solar panels at the site, which on overcast days and overnight will be supplemented by electricity produced from the site’s existing landfill gas.

Low Carbon Dorset Programme Manager, Heather Kiel, said: Dorset Green H2 is a truly innovative project that really showcases a determination in Dorset to invest in renewable and cutting-edge energy. We are thrilled to support Canford Renewable Energy to jump-start the local hydrogen economy and drive the county forward on its path to net zero.”

Energy generated by renewable sources at the site, will consistently power a 0.87MW electrolyser, producing up to 120,000kg of green hydrogen fuel each year to be compressed, stored, and sold for local and regional use as a carbon free fuel. Hydrogen fuel ­is recognised as being superior to battery-electric power when it comes to large vehicles, particularly in terms of range and time to re-charge and re-fuel, which takes minutes rather than hours. As the green hydrogen economy develops, there may be opportunities to decarbonise large vehicle fleets in Dorset.

Nathan Ross, Managing Director of Canford Renewable Energy said: “Canford Renewable Energy is an experienced, long-term developer and operator of renewable energy infrastructure. Dorset Green H2 is leading the way for the development of a hydrogen economy in Dorset and the South West, and we are looking to bring forward other green hydrogen production projects in the region.”  

Mark Dancer, NatWest’s Commercial Relationship Director Dorset, said: “This is a significant infrastructure project with the potential to put Dorset and the South West at the forefront of the UK’s clean, green-fuel economy. We have been delighted to work alongside all parties involved in supporting the financing of the initiative. It aligns to our own climate objectives, which include helping our customers benefit from the many opportunities transitioning to a low carbon future will hold.”

Find out more about this project on our website and discover our ambitions to tackle climate change for the county at: www.dorsetlep.co.uk/dorset-net-zero.

Use #DorsetNetZero on Twitter and LinkedIn to join the conversation and stay up to date on Dorset's journey to net zero.

Notes to editors:

The need for hydrogen fuel was reported by Carbon Brief in July 2020: https://www.carbonbrief.org/in-depth-hydrogen-required-to-meet-uk-net-zero-goal-says-national-grid. An electrolyser is a piece of equipment which uses electricity to break down water into hydrogen and oxygen through a process called electrolysis. The hydrogen produced from an electrolyser can be used as a fuel. This specific electrolyser will be 0.87MW.

Dorset LEP


Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is a business led private and public sector partnership, promoting local economic growth and prosperity. Dorset LEP deliver projects that support and develop infrastructure, housing, skills, enterprise, and business growth to achieve long-term economic benefit for all in Dorset. For more information visit the Dorset LEP website http://www.dorsetlep.co.uk/

Growing Places Fund

Dorset LEP was awarded £9.4m of the government Growing Places Fund (GPF) in 2015. It is a rolling loan scheme providing short-term repayable loans to kick-start economic development projects across Dorset. The fund supports key infrastructure projects designed to unlock wider economic growth, increase innovation and productivity, create jobs and housing, and deliver tangible economic outcomes. To date, 13 projects have been successfully awarded Growing Places Funding by Dorset LEP, which through the recycling of repayments and match-funding has seen £17.8m invested across Dorset.

Earlier projects benefitting from the GPF include: Agri-tech Innovation Centre, Cobham Gate and North Dorset Business Park

Low Carbon Dorset


A programme of activities led by Dorset Council in partnership with Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), which aims to boost Dorset’s low-carbon economy, and reduce its carbon footprint. The five-year programme of activities is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). To date the Low Carbon Dorset programme has awarded £5.2M worth of grant funding to projects in Dorset and has attracted over £10M of match-funding investment

European Regional Development Fund - The Low Carbon Dorset project is receiving up to £8.3m of funding in total from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. 

Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding. For more information please contact:
Katie Dawes, Communications & Engagement Officer, Dorset Council
01305 221310

Canford Renewable Energy

For more information, please contact:
Leah Tompkins/ James Mallinson at DevComms

NatWest Bank

Having surpassed our previous £20bn target in the first half of last year, in October 2021 we announced an additional £100bn of Climate and Sustainable Funding and Financing by the end of 2025. We are determined to be a leading bank addressing climate change and supporting more projects like Dorset Green H2, which are important to challenging the climate issues we face.

Noel Davies, PR & Media Relations Manager Wales and the South West: noel.davies@rbs.co.uk, +44 (0) 7970 332 895

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