Using nuclear power to generate hydrogen could help limit global warming and clean up heavy industries, a report has claimed. Hydrogen is rapidly turning into the holy grail for environmentalists and big oil companies alike, because the only by-product of its combustion is water. The government is committed to the UK achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050. The report, by consultancy LucidCatalyst, claims that nuclear power could create hydrogen and “decarbonise aviation, shipping, cement and industry using … proven technologies”. For hydrogen to be affordable and clean, it says, the gas “must be generated from non-fossil sources, at a price which is competitive with cheap oil”. It reckons the cost of this transition globally would be about $17 trillion by 2050 — versus $70 trillion if renewables such as wind and solar power were used. The nuclear industry is on a last-ditch lobbying push as ministers prepare to publish a much-delayed energy white paper that will explain how they plan to cut emissions while keeping the lights on — as well as powering the growing fleet of electric cars. Companies including France’s EDF and Japan’s Hitachi have warned they will need state funds to support the construction of a new generation of nuclear plants. The Times reported last month that EDF was exploring plans to produce hydrogen or suck CO2 from the atmosphere using surplus power and heat from its proposed £20bn Sizewell C nuclear plant in Suffolk. Duncan Hawthorne, chief executive of Horizon Nuclear Power, which hopes to build Hitachi’s plant on Anglesey, said it would be a “destiny year for us”.
Times 13th Sept 2020 read more »