Dave Elliott: n theory, hydrogen is a very flexible energy vector – it can be used for power generation, heating and for transport. However, there may be limits and some say its use needs to be restricted to those parts of the economy where electrification/decarbonize is going to be hard, such as aviation and steel-making. For example, Michael Liebreich’s Hydrogen Ladder highlights those areas where hydrogen would be most useful and those areas where it would be uncompetitive. He has made it clear that he doesn’t see hydrogen cars as viable- we should stick to EVs. Provocatively, he claims that the Oil sector is lobbying for inefficient hydrogen cars ‘because it wants to delay electrification’. He feels the same about home heating- hydrogen in not a sensible option. There has certainly been much debate over its viability for direct domestic space heating, with electric heat pumps widely seen as much more efficient, at least for some parts of the annual heating cycle. The UK government’s recent Hydrogen Strategy (see my last post) seemed to agree, although that was not immediately apparent from the BEIS press release, which talked about hydrogen replacing natural gas in powering around 3 million UK homes each year. As Jan Rosenow, of the Regulatory Assistance Project, pointed out, the 3 million households figure is misleading- BEIS is actually expecting less than 70,000 homes to use hydrogen for heating by 2030. He said ‘The government’s strategy shows that less than 0.2% of all homes are expected to use hydrogen to keep warm in the next decade’. So hydrogen wasn’t going to be a big player in this sector either.
Renew Extra 25th Sept 2021 read more »