Dave Elliott: A new study by the Hydrogen Council, with consultants McKinsey, says that hydrogen production and distribution systems at scale will unlock hydrogen’s competitiveness in many applications sooner than previously anticipated. It looks to a 60% cost reduction by 2030 for the end user. It says hydrogen can meet about 15% of transport energy demand cost- competitively by 2030 and make similar incursions into other sectors. For example, in addition to the continued use of hydrogen as an industrial feedstock, it says that hydrogen boilers will be a competitive low-carbon building heating alternative, especially for existing buildings currently served by natural gas networks, while in industrial heating, hydrogen will be the only viable option to decarbonise in some cases. And it claims that hydrogen will play an increasingly systemic role in balancing the power system as hydrogen production costs drop and demand rises. Most current proposals for using hydrogen have so far focused on using blue hydrogen, as for example in the H21 project for using it to replace methane in the gas mains in Leeds, the hydrogen being from fossil gas via SMR, with added CCS to make it lower carbon. Note that this blue hydrogen is not zero carbon – CCS at best can only effectively deal with some of the emissions, and the SMR and CCS processes use energy. So the whole thing at best might be ‘low carbon’, reducing emissions by perhaps 60%, compared what they would have been if the natural gas was used directly for heating. By contrast, green hydrogen made from renewable power is zero carbon and it’s now seen as getting cheaper, certainly cheaper than grey hydrogen and perhaps even cheaper in some usages than other fuels.
Renew Extra Weekly 29th Feb 2020 read more »