Hydrogen is set to play a critical role in enabling the UK economy to achieve net zero carbon. As well as providing a low carbon energy source for difficult to decarbonise sectors, such as heavy transport, aviation and various industrial processes, hydrogen could also play an important role in system balancing as a multi-vector fuel, using very low-cost electricity during times of over-supply to convert, store and transport renewable energy for many applications.

Over the coming months Regen will be looking into the development of the global hydrogen market, specifically the government policies needed to make hydrogen-based energy solutions competitive, the strategy needed to provide investment in production and distribution infrastructure, and the wider role that hydrogen can play within a low carbon energy system.

Recent research

Regen has recently undertaken some research into hydrogen trial projects in Great Britain, as part of our work on Distribution Future Energy Scenarios. Active projects include BIGHIT in Orkney and H2ME hydrogen refuelling stations in Swindon, Beaconsfield, Aberdeen and Gatwick. These projects produce hydrogen via electrolysis, the process of splitting water using electricity; however, there are many early-stage projects focused on the production of ‘blue’ hydrogen from natural gas, combined with carbon capture and storage. These include the H21 Leeds City Gate project, the Acorn project and the Zero Carbon Humber partnership.

Hydrogen Production (3)

 

Regen director Johnny Gowdy has summarised his thinking around the hydrogen value chain in our latest hydrogen insight paper. He considers how the development of the hydrogen value chain can best be supported by targeted policy interventions and discusses why a simple Contract for Difference approach may not be appropriate for developing low carbon hydrogen markets.

 

 

Recent blogs

Grace Cornwall Hydrogen BlogOpportunities for hydrogen in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly

Regen conducted a study for Cornwall Council and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP on the opportunities for hydrogen to support decarbonisation in the region by 2030, both as a low carbon fuel and as a driver for innovation and economic growth in the region. In this blog, our energy analyst Grace Millman reflects on the study and how it has helped inform our understanding of the wider role of hydrogen in a low carbon energy system. Read the blog here.

 

 

1

What role could hydrogen play in decarbonising the industrial sector?

As a new low carbon fuel source, hydrogen could be used across a broad range of applications to meet existing and future sources of energy demand. One such target area for hydrogen-based solutions is the industrial sector (including heavy industries in steel, cement, and chemicals). We explore this potential application in greater detail. Read the full blog here

 

 

Hydrogen Production (3)Hy to Hydrogen

In the UK government’s Ten Point Plan, the Prime Minister has committed to deploying 5 GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030, as well as developing a pilot town powered entirely by hydrogen. This is the first time that hydrogen has held such a prominent place within government policy, but why is hydrogen considered so important to reach net zero? Grace Millman explores. Read the full blog here.

 

Podcast

In this episode of Regen’s ‘Transforming Energy’ podcast series, we hear from our in-house experts on the future of hydrogen, following on from our paper ‘Building the hydrogen value chain’.

Listen on Spotify
Listen on Apple Podcasts

 

 

Much of Regen’s wider work has featured hydrogen, including:

Data ReportNet Zero South Wales – This innovation project brought the South Wales gas and electricity distribution networks together, developing insights from an integrated approach to gas and electricity scenario planning in an increasingly flexible and cross-vector system. The Net Zero South Wales project developed a new methodology for conducting cross-vector scenario forecasting, including a ‘High Hydrogen’ future net zero scenario.

 

 

 

 

Regen Heat Paper - Front coverDecarbonisation of Heat paper – This paper investigated how the UK may decarbonise heat in buildings, including the potential use of hydrogen as a heating fuel. The paper identifies actions that are needed to be taken now to put the UK on track to achieve net zero well ahead of the government’s 2050 target, including:

  • Transforming domestic environmental levies, which account for around 21% of electricity bills, into a new fuel carbon levy.
  • Increasing the market demand for efficient, low carbon buildings through the housing market and rental sectors.

Regen director Johnny Gowdy says: “Fundamental changes are needed to ensure that consumers, tenants and building owners see value in shifting to low carbon solutions. These changes must be accompanied by measures to support those in fuel poverty and protect consumers from bill increases through greater energy efficiency and better heating solutions.

Paper co-author Mark Howard says: “Heat is a challenge, but as an engineer I also see tremendous opportunities. Our paper highlights some great examples of innovative technology, new building designs and heating solutions which bring exciting opportunities for innovation, new skills and jobs as part of the wider shift to a low carbon economy.

 

SSENSSEN DFES 2020 – Regen worked alongside Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) to undertake the 2020 edition of their Distribution Future Energy Scenarios analysis for both the North of Scotland and Southern England licence areas. This year, Regen has included detailed projections of hydrogen electrolyser capacity connecting to SSEN’s distribution network out to 2050 under a range of future energy scenarios.

 

 

If you are interested in finding out more about this work, please contact Grace Millman gmillman@regen.co.uk


Header image courtesy of https://www.cummins.com/news/releases/2020/06/23/cummins-form-joint-venture-nproxx-hydrogen-storage 

People on this project

Ray Arrell
Head of technical development
Ray leads Regen's technical development strategy, coordinating the development of the company's technical capabilities…
Johnny Gowdy
Director
Johnny is a director of Regen and leads the development of our advisory projects,…
Grace Millman
Energy analyst
Grace is an energy analyst at Regen delivering high quality research, analysis and energy…

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