The UK government has published a plan to promote the production of hydrogen as a major source of low-carbon fuel.
The UK’s first Hydrogen Strategy sets out a roadmap for how the government will work with industry to meet its goal of securing 5GW in hydrogen production capacity by 2030.
Hydrogen could replace natural gas in around three million homes in the UK, with the potential to become a core low-carbon power source for transport and industry.
Government analysis suggest that 20-35% of the UK’s energy consumption by 2050 could be hydrogen-based if the country is to meet its target of net-zero emissions by 2050.
‘Essential to tackling climate change’
Commenting on the strategy, Business and Energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Today marks the start of the UK’s hydrogen revolution.
“This home-grown clean energy source has the potential to transform the way we power our lives and will be essential to tackling climate change and reaching net-zero.
“With the potential to provide a third of the UK’s energy in the future, our strategy positions the UK as first in the global race to ramp up hydrogen technology and seize the thousands of jobs and private investment that come with it.”
The government says hydrogen can be made as safe as natural gas and that, as the hydrogen economy develops, all necessary assessments will be carried out and measures put in place to ensure hydrogen is stored, distributed, and used safely.
The government said it is currently working with the Health and Safety Executive and energy regulator Ofgem to support hydrogen heating trials – which will help inform a UK government decision in 2026 on the role of hydrogen in decarbonising heating.
By 2035, hydrogen could play a significant role in heating people’s homes and businesses, powering cars, and more.
The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is also promising grants totalling £40m for the development and demonstration of low-carbon alternatives to diesel for construction machinery.
Further, the government is consulting on the design of a £240m Net Zero Hydrogen Fund, which aims to support the commercial deployment of new low-carbon hydrogen production plants across the UK.
Other measures in the strategy include:
- Collaborating with industry to develop a UK standard for low-carbon hydrogen
- A review to support the development of the necessary network and storage infrastructure
- Assessing the safety, feasibility, and cost-effectiveness of mixing 20% hydrogen into the existing gas supply
- Launching a hydrogen sector development action plan in early 2022
Commenting on the strategy, National Grid director Antony Green said: “The transition to a green economy will require a mix of technologies and hydrogen will play a vital role.
“This strategy signals the UK’s commitment to hydrogen and provides the certainty needed to boost consumer and investor confidence and support commercial solutions.
“Importantly, unlocking the potential of hydrogen as a clean energy solution requires significant pace and innovation to scale up production, and the guidance from government today will be key to triggering the investment and buy-in needed to achieve this.”
The Hydrogen Strategy is one of a series of strategies the UK government is publishing ahead of the UN Climate Summit COP26, set to take place in Glasgow in November.
Image: Possessed Photography/Unsplash
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