Jonathan Collins, External Affairs Manager at Cadent looks at the role of blue hydrogen on our journey to Net Zero.
Back in February, the Government announced seed-funding for six hydrogen projects, including HyNet North West. This was a welcome sign of the government’s intention to help drive forward the hydrogen economy to help deliver on its Net Zero ambitions. And with the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) calling for business to commit to a green recovery post Covid-19, now is the time to push forward on the development of a hydrogen economy.
The hydrogen industry continues to gather pace. With developments happening in transport, such as Liverpool City Region’s new fleet of hydrogen buses, and in the heat industry, with the HyDeploy project in Keele being rolled out in the North East and then the North West, industry and government are aligning in order to develop new solutions to achieve our national Net Zero ambition.
But this transition will take time and development. The scale of the challenge that we face is substantial and the technology needed will need to be developed, trialled and implemented in order for this to happen in a safe and sustainable way.
Blue hydrogen, or hydrogen that is produced with carbon capture technologies, is an important step in the development of the hydrogen industry. As the CCC Net Zero report launched last year stated ‘Carbon Capture Storage (CCS) is a necessity not an option.’ The timescales involved to reach Net Zero require a planned technological transition, and CCS is the next step in this journey to a hydrogen industry and our Net Zero future.
Green hydrogen is the ultimate goal on our road to decarbonisation, but in the short term we need to develop the industry and economic mechanisms to support this. To create a hydrogen economy blue hydrogen is the first step on the journey, with CCS that can capture most of the carbon at point of production, which will then allow us to transition to green hydrogen production.
There is no silver bullet to the challenges we face in the coming years. It will require large-scale changes to existing industries, and a whole-system approach to future energy planning. This transition will require planned and deliverable solutions immediately, and blue hydrogen will provide a valuable contribution to this journey.