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.

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. Check out Regen’s Hy to hydrogen blog where the role of hydrogen in a net zero future is explored.

 

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.

 

Keep an eye out for an exciting upcoming episode of the Regen podcast, centred on hydrogen and its many applications.

 

Much of Regen’s recent 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

Bruce Bardsley
Graduate intern
Bruce is a new intern at Regen. He will be assisting the data analytics…
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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