Is the Government’s hydrogen plan mainly a back-door means of keeping the gas industry going? The Government’s newly published hydrogen strategy is looking like a plan to protect the gas industry. It will, in effect if not motivation, be mainly concerned with keeping the supply of unmitigated natural gas flowing in the UK under the guise of promoting ‘blue’ hydrogen. The announcement on the hydrogen strategy contains what many will see as a ‘giveaway’ section when it says that the Government will be: ‘working with industry to assess the safety, technical feasibility, and cost effectiveness of mixing 20% hydrogen into the existing gas supply. Doing so could deliver a 7% emissions reduction on natural gas’ To me this could be a sneaky attempt to simply maintain natural gas production either through (mainly) carrying on to produce methane without any decarbonisation at all or through production of ‘blue hydrogen’ for which it will be paid extra by the consumer. And in doing so this will achieve a pretty pathetically small amount of carbon reduction in the process – even assuming that blue hydrogen actually works to do this!
100% Renewables 17th Aug 2021 read more »
The plan doesn’t model costs for hydrogen production from nuclear power plants, but does envision a role for existing reactors to power electrolyzers this decade. The role for nuclear power to produce hydrogen could be expanded after 2030.
Bloomberg 17th Aug 2021 read more »
The UK government has backed a plan to use the production of hydrogen from fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage to clean up heavy industry. This comes despite concerns that the technology doesn’t capture all CO2 emissions, remains commercially unproven and perpetuates natural gas extraction. In a 120-page hydrogen strategy published on 17 August, which follows in the wake of similar plans by the EU and other countries last year, the UK laid out how it will boost hydrogen production. A strategic decision on the role hydrogen could take in decarbonising heating in buildings will also be taken within five years, it said. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said it is mulling over subsidies similar to ones for offshore windfarms to bring down the cost of both blue hydrogen, made from natural gas but with most of the CO2 captured, and green hydrogen, where renewable electricity is used with electrolysers that produce hydrogen from water. “It’s not a surprise the UK is backing both,” says Anise Ganbold at Aurora Energy Research in the UK. “It’s what the UK has been pushing for, and not a surprise given how strong the gas lobby is. At the moment, it is cheaper to make hydrogen from blue, but we don’t think that will last for long. We think green will be cheaper by the 2030s.” Blue hydrogen is opposed by some environmentalists, partly because at best it only captures 95 per cent of the CO2, raising questions over its role in hitting net-zero targets.
New Scientist 17th Aug 2021 read more »
With little fanfare, three months ahead of the Cop26 climate summit, the government on Tuesday launched its “Hydrogen Strategy”, which makes some astonishing claims. Despite hydrogen contributing a minuscule part of the UK’s energy and fuel mix at the moment, the government has suggested up to 35 per cent of the UK’s energy consumption by 2050 could be hydrogen-based. You could be forgiven for not knowing much about this fuel, with many people’s strongest association with the gas being the fiery demise of the Hindenburg airship in 1937. Today, if hydrogen is produced through using renewable energy, it is clean, can be highly efficient, and like any other flammable gas, if correctly managed, is safe. However, there have been teething issues with the latest generation of hydrogen facilities, with explosions in California and South Korea, both in 2019, generating local backlash to the placement of hydrogen-fuel sites. Research released this month by academics at Cornell and Stanford universities has warned that the blue hydrogen process could generate 20 per cent more emissions over its life cycle than burning the natural gas in the first instance – and possibly even more. Greenpeace is among the organisations warning the government that the blue hydrogen part of its plan, “looks like a bad idea both environmentally and economically”. Ineos, named the biggest climate polluter in Scotland, and also one of the UK’s biggest producers of hydrogen, is among the companies which has welcomed the government’s new strategy.
Independent 17th Aug 2021 read more »
The UK Government has today (17 August) unveiled its long-awaited Hydrogen Strategy, outlining how a multi-billion-pound investment into the technology can reduce emissions and create jobs on the road to net-zero. Here, edie looks at five roles that hydrogen could play in delivering rapid decarbonisation.
Edie 17th Aug 2021 read more »
For the UK to reach net zero, delivering hydrogen and carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects at scale will be “essential”, according to a new report from Aurora Energy research. Released to coincide with the publication of the government’s hydrogen strategy, its Out of Gas? report argues that the increasing power demand in Britain will necessitate the use of these technologies to provide flexible low carbon power. Power demand is expected to grow from roughly 50GW of firm capacity today to 80GW by 2050 it found, as sectors like transport and heating electrify to decarbonise. A large share of this demand will be met by renewables, with over 100GW of wind and solar added to the electricity system between 2021 and 2050 according to Aurora. But the variable output of these technologies mean they cannot be relied upon to provide security of supply, the report continues. It points to January as an example, when the load factor of UK wind farms fell to just 10% .
Current 17th Aug 2021 read more »
Will the UK’s new hydrogen strategy lead to higher bills for consumers? The government is to spend just over £100m to kickstart the hydrogen economy in the UK, which it hopes will help the fuel become a major clean energy source. Hydrogen has long been tipped as the fuel of the future as it can more easily replace fossil fuels in combustion-based sectors that are more difficult to electrify – such as aviation, shipping and other heavy industries. However, subsidies for such initiatives in the past have been passed on to consumers when it came to bill time, so we all might end up paying for our greener future.
Independent 17th Aug 2021 read more »