At the official launch of the new association, Hydrogen UK this week called on the government to step up its efforts to develop and deploy hydrogen projects

The newly formed Hydrogen UK trade body has this week called on the government to accelerate its support for the hydrogen industry as it moves forward with implementing the Hydrogen Strategy that was published by Ministers earlier this year.

Formerly known as the Hydrogen Taskforce, Hydrogen UK this week officially launched as a trade association with a remit of representing and supporting the development and deployment of the fledgling UK hydrogen industry.

At its launch event, Hydrogen UK released a report titled Moving from Strategy to Delivery which urged the government to now look beyond August’s Hydrogen Strategy and begin the practical work of scaling up hydrogen infrastructure. The report also identified a number of the barriers to development currently faced by the growing number of firms working to deliver low carbon hydrogen production and applications.

According to Hydrogen UK, the government and industry now need to work together to move forward with large-scale production projects, including developing the required infrastructure to meet anticipated demand of 475TWh of hydrogen by 2050 – a level of demand that roughly equates to that of the entire UK power sector today.

“We must build on the strong foundations that have been laid and work together to rapidly scale hydrogen solutions over the next decade,” said Clare Jackson, Hydrogen UK CEO. “The UK government and hydrogen industry must respond to ensure that we capitalise on the economic opportunity and the progress in the sector moves to delivery with all parts of the UK value chain included.”

A key recommendation in the report is that Hydrogen Business Models are made available to producers by mid-2022. The government’s first consultation on developing a business model that would help allow commercial scale hydrogen projects to proceed closed in October, with decisions not expected until 2022 and contracts allocated in 2023.

A number of pilot projects are underway to deliver green hydrogen made using renewables and electrolysis and blue hydrogen to produce hydrogen from fossil gas in conjunction with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies. But both approaches are considerably more expensive than producing hydrogen from fossil fuel gas,  which currently dominates the market but results in carbon emissions during the production process. As such, the industry has called on the government to introduce some form of support that could allow commercial scale projects to proceed, potentially modelled on the clean power contract approach that has turbocharged the development of the UK renewables market while helping to drive down clean energy costs.

The report also recommends policies are put in place that would stimulate demand for hydrogen production. Hydrogen UK said it was committed to working with the government to explore the options for driving demand and developing regulatory frameworks for emerging hydrogen-based technologies.

The association also urged the government to join it in committing to support the development of distribution and storage infrastructure, projecting 5TWh of hydrogen storage will be needed over the next decade, and work with the industry to skills programmes for the sector.

Dr Angela Needle, vice president of Hydrogen UK, said: “Hydrogen has the potential to deliver significant economic, environmental and energy system benefits to our country. However, this will only be realised if industry and government work together.

“Hydrogen UK could not come at a better time to unify the work that we have already achieved as the Hydrogen Taskforce and move it on, at speed, to support both the government and industry in the next vital steps.”

The Hydrogen Taskforce was previously launched in March 2020 to work closely with the government in developing the UK Hydrogen Strategy, the Hydrogen Business Models, and the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund.

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