New Hydrogen Taskforce calls for £1bn commitment from the UK Government

Article by Amanda Jasi

IN A report to mark its launch, the Hydrogen Taskforce – which involves energy majors Shell and BP – has called on the UK Government to commit to funding of £1bn (US$1.27bn). Launched yesterday, in Parliament, the Taskforce aims to promote the large-scale deployment of hydrogen.

Ten organisations “at the heart of the UK energy system” launched the Hydrogen Taskforce to offer a shared cross-sector vision for hydrogen in the UK. Its objective is to align a wide range of stakeholders including the Government, industry, and an informed public, with the aim of driving investment in hydrogen to promote large-scale deployment.

The members have collectively agreed on the next steps that the UK has to take to capitalise on the opportunity to cost-effectively decarbonise nationally, and to play a leading role in growing the global market for hydrogen solutions.

According to the Taskforce’s report The Role of Hydrogen in Delivering Net Zero, hydrogen – set to be discussed at the COP26 climate summit later this year – has an important role to play in meeting the climate targets set out in the Paris Agreement. COP26 is to take place in November, in Glasgow, UK.

The report adds that the UK’s commitment to achieving net zero greenhouse gases (GHGs) has sharpened the conversation around hydrogen, which could help the UK to meet its 2050 goal. Last year, the UK became the first major global economy to commit to achieving net zero emissions by 2050.

Additionally, the report outlines a series of policy recommendations for industry and Government to work towards over the next five years. These recommendations are aimed at scaling hydrogen applications – specifically its production, distribution, and storage – and unlocking its benefits.

In addition to a commitment of £1bn from the Government over the next Spending Review Period to hydrogen production, storage and distribution projects, the Taskforce’s policy recommendations include:

  • collaborating to establish 100 hydrogen refuelling stations – infrastructures designed for filling vehicles with hydrogen – by 2025 to support the roll-out of hydrogen transport;
  • developing a cross-departmental Hydrogen Strategy within UK Government;
  • developing financial support for the production of hydrogen to blend into the gas grid, industrial use, power generation, and transport; and
  • amending Gas Safety Management Regulations to enable hydrogen blending into the UK Gas Grid, and taking the next steps towards achieving 100% hydrogen heating by supporting public trials and mandating hydrogen-ready boilers by 2025.

Mark Neller, Director of engineering company Arup, said he was delighted that the Government has shown interest in the Taskforce and understood the importance of the project. Arup is a member of the Taskforce.

He said: “We look forward to working closely with BEIS, HMT, DfT and MHCLG to realise the wide-reaching benefits and applications of hydrogen – early and deep decarbonisation, high quality jobs and value add to the UK economy.”

Jacob Young, Member of Parliament for Redcar, UK, said: “The political, social and economic arguments for large-scale hydrogen conversion have never been so strong. It is clear that we cannot meet our Net Zero 2050 target without hydrogen technology. From heating our homes, to our journeys to work, hydrogen can play a huge part in our decarbonisation in this decade. By taking the next steps and accelerating hydrogen development programmes we can create thousands of new, skilled, green jobs and continue to lead the world in the hydrogen economy.”

Clare Jackson, Senior Consultant at energy and environment focussed consulting company Ecuity, commented: “The launch of the Hydrogen Taskforce marks a historic moment in the unfolding of the UK’s hydrogen story. Our actions over the next five years will set the trajectory for the next 30 and we cannot afford to be complacent.

“The collaboration between these leading organisations will be key to propelling hydrogen into the mainstream, setting out ambitions to accelerate activity in the UK and calling on Government to match that ambition. We’re thrilled to be part of this exciting journey.”

The other members of the Taskforce include: Baxi, which manufactures and distributes domestic and commercial water and space heating systems; industrial, medical, and special gas provider BOC; international banking institution BNP Paribas, and its leading vehicle leasing company Arval; professional engineering and advisory company DBD; ITM Power, which manufactures integrated hydrogen energy equipment to enhance use of renewable energy that would otherwise be wasted; and Storengy, a subsidiary of energy and services company ENGIE.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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