A boost for the economy
The Hydrogen Energy Association said the news – including the announcement of successful projects in the first hydrogen allocation round, HAR 1 – was an important boost for the economy, creating hundreds of jobs and demonstrating the investment appeal of UK hydrogen.
Now the proof will be in the pudding on what 2024 brings, especially as second allocation round opens, says the HEA.
Celia Greaves, CEO and Founder of the HEA, said: “This is an important set of announcements for hydrogen in the UK, and we’re delighted that two of our members – Marubeni Europower and GeoPura – have been included in the successful projects for HAR1, the first hydrogen allocation round.
“2024 is going to be critical for hydrogen, and it’s crucial that we build on the existing momentum and deliver the level of ambition in HAR 2 to get us to our targets.”
The HEA highlighted the additional announcements from DESNZ, including the publication of a hydrogen production delivery roadmap, which sets out the journey to 2035, a new pathway for hydrogen transport and storage infrastructure, and an official response on hydrogen blending into gas distribution networks.
“We welcome the announcement on up to 20% blending, it will now be important to see how this sits from a policy standpoint alongside higher value offtake such as hydrogen mobility,” said Celia.
“It is encouraging to see broad progress across the value chain and that Government is listening to industry in taking forward policy, particularly with regards to the timing of future competitive allocation of funding.
“The HEA is continuing to work with government to accelerate progress, not only on the achievement of production targets and the need to scale up demand, but also on the huge economy opportunity that hydrogen offers the UK.”
Johan Lundgren, Chair of the Hydrogen in Aviation alliance, a group of leading companies in the UK aviation and renewable energy sectors including easyJet, Rolls-Royce, Airbus, Ørsted, GKN Aerospace and Bristol Airport working to accelerate the delivery of zero carbon aviation, added: “The news of the eleven new green hydrogen production projects announced by the government today represents progress. The UK now must ensure this marks the start of a journey to significantly ramp up the supply and production in green hydrogen across the whole of the UK, which will be key to delivering hydrogen in aviation. When we formed our alliance in September, we called on rapid action to improve the supply of green hydrogen for hard to abate sectors like aviation and today’s announcements helps us in our collective goal to reach net zero by 2050. While there remains considerable work to be done, this is a positive and significant step in securing the UK’s future as a global leader in hydrogen production – something that could truly revolutionise the energy and transport sectors in the future and make decarbonised flight a reality.”
Kensa, the UK’s leading ground source heat pump organisation, welcomes the growth of the green industry, but urges leaders to focus on existing technology, such as heat pumps that can decarbonise home heating at scale.
Tamsin Lishman, CEO of Kensa Group, comments: “Kensa welcomes the Government providing more clarity about the role of hydrogen in the UK economy. As we stand on the brink of a radical shift in how we heat our buildings, it’s important to understand the differences between heat pumps and hydrogen in the context of their viability as a scalable solution and the urgency with which we need to take action on climate change.
“Some believe hydrogen is a get-out-of-jail-free card, but the evidence suggests that compared to heat pumps, hydrogen use for domestic heating is less economical, less efficient and more resource-intensive. In a review of 32 independent studies, not one of them found hydrogen to be a cost-effective decarbonisation solution for heating compared to heat pumps. Indeed, it takes six units of electricity to get just one unit of hydrogen. Thankfully, unlike hydrogen, heat pumps work today and reduce bills – one unit of electricity delivers four units of heat with a ground source heat pump.
“By cancelling the controversial proposals for a hydrogen trial in Whitby and not proceeding with the proposed trial in Redcar the Government recognises the enormous challenges hydrogen poses. So much so that hydrogen-ready boilers are not considered to be a suitable or efficient low-carbon heating system in the Future Homes Standard.
“Time is ticking for the future of our planet. Heat pump technology is proven and ready to be deployed at scale to decarbonise the majority of UK domestic buildings now, as evidenced by successful community-based heat pump switchovers like our ‘Heat the Streets’ project, unlike hydrogen, where trials have been either cancelled or will not give data until 2026.
“Networked Ground Source Heat Pumps offer a 21st-century, renewable equivalent to the gas grid. In the street, homes connect to pipes circulating non-flammable refrigerant providing heat from the ground. The infrastructure is paid for, owned and maintained by utility companies, and consumers pay a small monthly connection fee, like with gas today. Households have an innovative microwave-sized heat pump in a cupboard that provides hot water and heating.
“We need a diverse range of solutions to deliver net zero, and as the Government suggests, hydrogen has a part to play in the industrial sectors and back up power generation, whereas Networked Ground Source Heat Pumps have a proven solution to decarbonising home heating now.”