Cuadrilla Resources CEO Francis Egan says the UK-based onshore shale gas operator is looking at ways to produce hydrogen from its shale gas exploration site in Northwest England.

Egan says the company is committed towards carbon capture and storage and hydrogen production, which he hopes will power local transport in Lancashire.

“We recognise that carbon capture and storage and hydrogen production are critical if the UK is to meet its net-zero emissions target,” Egan said on the Cuadrilla website.

“To that end we are engaging with a number of existing initiatives so that that UK shale gas rather than imported gas can and will be a vital source of emission free UK energy by 2050. We don’t pretend that we have all of the answers but we are becoming fully engaged in conversations around the hydrogen economy and new technology that will get us there.”

Cuadrilla is looking at the possibility of using shale gas for hydrogen production, and a pilot project could reportedly be up and running by the early 2020s.

“We’re in touch with key groups to develop the hydrogen economy including the North West Hydrogen Alliance, infrastructure engineering specialists and academic institutions,” Egan said.

“We’re looking carefully at the option of using shale gas for hydrogen production as we progress development economic and commercial assessments for our exploration site in Preston New Road. We’ll be prioritising Lancashire projects including powering local hydrogen buses or trains in the region. We’ll be working with others to find productive uses for CO2, with the potential to re-use it as a fracking fluid, as well as assessing options for utilising depleted shale reservoirs for CO2 storage.

“The north of England can become both a major gas producer and a major hydrogen hub. Talent and business will be attracted to the area which will provide the wind, nuclear power, shale gas and hydrogen energy underpinning economic growth for the country as a whole.”