The UK Parliament poured cold water on the potential of a hydrogen economy | Daily News Byte


Proposed site of Shoreham H2 plant, Shoreham, UK (H2 Green)

Posted by December 23, 2022 at 4:01 pm

Maritime Executive

The UK Parliament has poured cold water on the global drive towards hydrogen investment, saying H2 is not a “panacea” for reaching 2050 net zero targets. Parliament took particular aim at the utility of hydrogen in the UK, where the government aims for 10 GW of low-carbon?H2 production capacity by 2030.

As many countries prioritize green hydrogen in their hydrogen strategies and continue to invest in different corners of the world, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee released a report arguing that hydrogen will have a “definite but limited” role in decarbonizing sectors. , including the shipping industry.

The committee believes that hydrogen is unlikely to play a significant role in global net zero ambitions in the near future, although it has the potential to become and grow as a “large niche” fuel for certain sectors and applications. In the UK, hydrogen is unlikely to be practical and economically viable for most consumer applications, the committee found, due to financial, technical and infrastructure challenges.

The government’s H2 strategy sets out a two-track approach to support both electrolytic ‘green’ and carbon capture (CCUS)-enabled ‘blue’ hydrogen production, along with other potential production routes.

Currently, hydrogen is produced from natural gas in a carbon-intensive process. Production of “green” hydrogen depends on abundant, cheap renewable electricity. The same electricity can be used directly to power the grid or battery-powered cars – without paying 50-80 percent of the round trip efficiency loss of producing and using green hydrogen. “Blue” hydrogen would require carbon capture and storage on such a large scale that it would be challenging to make a material contribution to reducing emissions, the parliament found.

Effectively, the committee found that it was “untenable” to believe that hydrogen could make a major contribution to reducing UK greenhouse gas emissions in the short and medium term.

“There are significant infrastructure challenges associated with converting our energy network to use hydrogen and uncertainty about when low-carbon hydrogen can be produced at an economic cost,” said Greg Clark, committee chair.

Around the world, the race is on with countries implementing strategies to produce hydrogen. As of September, 40 countries had hydrogen strategies. Goldman Sachs estimates that the global market share of low-carbon hydrogen will be at least $12 trillion in 2050.

A parliamentary report notes that if the supply of green electricity increases and the cost of electrolyzers decreases, green hydrogen costs are likely to fall rapidly and become cost-competitive with blue hydrogen – and even gray hydrogen from natural gas.


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