INEOS, Engie partner on hydrogen pilot project

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LONDON, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Chemicals manufacturer INEOS Group and French utility Engie said on Thursday they plan a pilot project to replace natural gas with hydrogen at INEOS' industrial plant in Belgium.

The aim of the pilot project is to replace natural gas with hydrogen used by the INEOS gas turbine.

Initially 10% of the gas feed will be replaced by hydrogen. If this goes well the feed will be increased to 20%, INEOS said in a statement.

INEOS already produces 300,000 tonnes of hydrogen on an annual basis as a "co-product" of its chemical processes. It did not say how would be needed for the project.

Engie will be responsible for the design, installation and operation of the technology at the INEOS site in Doel.

Hydrogen has been touted as a clean alternative to fossil fuels if produced using renewable energy. In November, INEOS said it would launch a clean hydrogen business in Britain to invest in production projects across Europe. (Reporting by Nina Chestney; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)