UK government announces UK hydrogen strategy

The UK hydrogen strategy, published yesterday, sets out the Government’s ambition to kick-start a “hydrogen revolution” that, it says, will support over 9,000 jobs and unlock £4bn investment by the end of this decade.

The government plans to deliver 5GW of hydrogen production capacity by 2030, estimating that the industry could be worth £900m. The potential role of hydrogen in achieving this target has been highlighted by a government analysis suggesting 20-35% of the UK’s energy consumption by 2050 could be hydrogen-based.

The strategy details how both ‘blue’ hydrogen, produced using fossil fuels with the resulting emissions captured using Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology, and ‘green’ hydrogen, produced using electricity generated by renewable energy sources, will be used to help decarbonise the UK economy.

“We welcome the strategy overall; we see hydrogen playing an important role in getting to net zero but there are urgent innovation issues to address. A twin track approach makes sense because blue hydrogen can be made at scale and help establish whole value chains quickly and effectively while giving green hydrogen systems time to scale up. The UK has an active research base and small and large companies with leading edge technology in this field and the strategy provides an opportunity to take a leading international position in this field,” said Professor Nilay Shah, System Lead for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell System for the Hub, and Head of Imperial’s Department of Chemical Engineering.

The government is using Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme, the same business model used to drive down the cost of offshore wind power, and plans to review the infrastructure  needed to underpin hydrogen power in the UK.

Other measures included in the UK’s first-ever Hydrogen Strategy include:

  • Collaborating with industry to develop a UK standard for low carbon hydrogen consistent with net zero goals
  • Review of the network and storage infrastructure to underpin a thriving hydrogen sector
  • Working with industry to assess the safety, technical feasibility, and cost effectiveness of mixing 20% hydrogen into the existing gas supply.
  • Launching a hydrogen sector development action plan in early 2022