This week, 13 months after the European Commission published a hydrogen strategy report to the European Parliament, the European Council and others, the UK government announced the “very first hydrogen strategy“.
A hydrogen economy is not a new idea and has been under consideration in Europe for two decades. Hydrogen isn’t just about fuel cell electric cars, far from it. The idea of a hydrogen economy is to use gas at all levels, for industry and the home, for heating, for energy storage, to supply maritime transport, airplanes, light and heavy commercial vehicles and railway locomotives, both indirectly with hydrogen fuel cells and directly by burning it in piston engines or gas turbines.
But is the government’s enthusiastic announcement all it seems? Its goal is jobs, investment, money and more than a touch of revolution. “The start of the hydrogen revolution in the UK“, In reality. But there is also the slightest feeling of backpedaling in the ad. Only hydrogen “could be” essential to achieving our net zero emissions by 2050 and only has the “potential” to transform the way we fuel our lives. Call me old-fashioned, but it doesn’t have the kind of solace I’m looking for as we teeter on the brink of climate apocalypse.
Yet a UK hydrogen strategy “could” be worth £ 900million and create 9,000 jobs by 2030. It “could” also reduce carbon emissions by 78% by 2035, which seems a big deal. not very optimistic but wonderful if that happens. However, the strategy will take a “two-way” approach of including both “green” and “blue” hydrogen in the mixture. And this is where things get a little sticky.
The National Grid, which in its 2020 Future Energy Scenarios report makes it clear that hydrogen is essential, points out that 8.7 trillion watt-hours of wind power have not been used in the past decade for lack of support storage. Producing green hydrogen using surplus sustainable electricity plays on one of the main advantages of hydrogen: that of energy storage.
Blue hydrogen, on the other hand, is produced by steam reforming natural gas, which means splitting it into hydrogen and CO2 using high temperature steam and then “sequestering” (carbon capture) the CO2. by pumping it into holes in the ground. Carbon capture on this scale has never been attempted and to be successful it would have to be 100% secure with no leakage until hell freezes over.
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This notice was published: 2021-08-17 09:37:21