In August the UK Government released the first Hydrogen Strategy. The strategy sets out the foundation for how the UK government will work with industry to meet its ambition for 5GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030 – the equivalent of replacing natural gas in powering around 3 million UK homes each year as well as powering transport and businesses, particularly heavy industry.
Government analysis, which underpins the Strategy, suggests that 20 – 35% of the UK’s energy consumption by 2050 could be hydrogen based, which could be critical to meet the UK targets of net zero emissions by 2050 and cutting emissions by 78% by 2035.
The document highlights the key role of low-carbon hydrogen in decarbonising polluting, energy-intensive industries (chemicals, oil refineries), power and heavy transport like shipping, HGVs and trains, as well as a limited role in replacing natural gas in UK homes.
The strategy is split into five chapters:
- Making the case for hydrogen: role of hydrogen in achieving net zero in the UK, why hydrogen makes sense in the UK strategic framework.
- Scaling up the hydrogen economy: establishing a market and actions required across the value chain.
- Realising economic benefits for the UK: developing UK supply chain, jobs, skills and investment.
- Demonstrating international leadership and the UK’s role in international efforts.
- Implementation and monitoring: measuring impact, evaluation of progress and process for review.
The Hydrogen Strategy is one of a series of strategies the UK government is publishing ahead of the UN Climate Summit COP26 taking place in Glasgow this November. The UK government has already published its Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy, Transport Decarbonisation Strategy and North Sea Transition Deal, while its Heat and Buildings and Net Zero Strategies will be published this year.
The UK Government has also set out options in a consultation for an emissions standard that defines what is meant by ‘low carbon’ hydrogen, including:
- a methodology for calculating GHG emissions associated with hydrogen production
- a subsequent greenhouse gas emissions threshold against which different low carbon hydrogen production pathways would be measured