Hydrogen bodies urge government to better support fuel suppliers

The government plan for hydrogen production, announced as part of the Energy Strategy, has been broadly welcomed by the industry although there are concerns that more needs to be done if the UK is to take the lead on this low carbon fuel that ‘is readily scalable and which can be used across multiple energy vectors.’

Green entrepreneur and Ryze Hydrogen founder, Jo Bamford, welcomed the news that the Government will double its hydrogen production targets as part of its Energy Security Strategy.

“It is great to see the Government raising its ambitions for hydrogen and recognising the need to move fast if we are to secure the maximum number of jobs and economic growth in this emerging global industry. It is now clear that the Prime Minister sees the UK’s hydrogen as vital to not just our long-term energy security, but short-term job creation in all parts of the country.”

Ryze Hydrogen, founded by green entrepreneur Jo Bamford in 2020, distributes affordable low and zero emission hydrogen to customers across the UK for use in transport, industry and homes.

Delivering energy security

Steven Lua, CEO of zero-emission solutions provider Unitrove, commented: “The development of the hydrogen industry is absolutely key to the UK’s long-term energy strategy both in terms of cleaning up the energy industry and for delivering energy security that is affordable and accessible to all of society.

“We need collaboration across the entire energy industry as there is no one-size-fits-all solution. We need to embrace multiple renewable and clean energy solutions to achieve our net-zero ambitions.

“The Prime Minister recently stated that hydrogen could be a fantastic solution, particularly for heavy goods vehicles, farm machinery, diggers, and ships.

“What we need to see now is real investment in infrastructure to help the UK realise its ambitions to become a major player in the hydrogen field so that it can contribute to affordable, reliable, sustainable energy in the future.

“Unitrove is therefore heavily focused on the development of innovative technology and infrastructure to help make this a reality.”

More could still be done

Whilst the announcement was broadly welcomed it was met with some disappointment with Celia Greaves, CEO of leading hydrogen trade association UK HFCA saying that the plan to increase the target from 5GW of low-carbon hydrogen capacity by 2030 to 10GW was “good – but not good enough”, adding that much more needed to be done if the UK is to lead on hydrogen technology as the future fuel for homes, businesses and transport.

“Global hydrogen production is becoming more mainstream, and we do not want to be left behind,” she said. “Today’s announcement is certainly welcome, but the government could go further still which is why we have been advocating for a 20GW target for a number of years now.”

Speed up incentives for fuel suppliers

The UK HFCA is also working with HyCymru (Cymdeithas Fasnach Hydrogen Cymru / Wales Hydrogen Trade Association) to put pressure on the Government to act quickly to confirm that electrolytic hydrogen produced remotely from the point of renewable electricity production will be eligible for Renewable Transport Fuel Certificates.

With hydrogen viewed as a key component to overcome the tough challenges of decarbonising the transport sector, the trade bodies believe that this will help to stimulate demand. It will also complement Government efforts to scale up supply of hydrogen and reduce overall risk around the growth of hydrogen in the energy system.

The organisations, which met recently to review the progress of hydrogen roll-out in the UK, said that while they welcomed extensions to the Government’s Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO) – which now includes hydrogen as a low carbon option fuel for more types of vehicles – more could be done to encourage suppliers.

Celia Greaves, CEO of the UK HFCA, said: “The RTFO is a vital support for fuel suppliers wanting to offer hydrogen as a low carbon alternative fuel for vehicles as it obligates them to offer a certain percentage of renewable fuels.

“But currently, hydrogen can only qualify if it is co-produced with renewable electricity. Last year the DfT proposed that renewable electricity and hydrogen production could be separate as long as Power Purchase Agreements are in place. Since then, while other aspects (such as extending the types of vehicles covered by the RTFO) have made progress, we’ve seen no further movement on this.”

Ms Greaves added: “Hydrogen is too important a part of the UK’s journey to Net Zero for us to let up on the Government. The UK HFCA and HyCymru will continue to do all they can, leading co-ordination with relevant groups to ensure the Government receives consistent, practical and expert advice.”