SCCS--Using hydrogen for heating would significantly reduce the UK’s CO2 emissions, a new report has found – but only if backed up with significant Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) development.
The H21 Leeds City Gate project report, launched today (Monday) outlines the benefits of replacing natural gas in the city’s gas grid with ‘green’ hydrogen – a solution which could be rolled out to the rest of the country.
Burning hydrogen instead of natural gas produces pure water rather than emitting CO2, providing a way to slash the CO2 emissions from heat and cooking – currently over 30% of the UK carbon emissions.
However, as the report points out, generating hydrogen from fossil fuels would require that the CO2generated during this process be securely stored, in order for the hydrogen to be truly low carbon. An alternative method of producing hydrogen from water using electricity would be far more expensive – even if generated using renewable energy.
By capturing the CO2 and transporting it to secure offshore locations to be stored safely underground, using this ‘green’ hydrogen in place of natural gas would achieve a 73% reduction in CO2 emissions for the entire system, according to the report.
As highlighted in the report, existing gas infrastructure can be used for hydrogen transportation, and many new jobs created as part of the roll-out of a hydrogen programme.
Commenting on the launch of the H21 Leeds City Gate report, Stuart Haszeldine, Director of SCCS said:
“Replacing the use of natural gas with hydrogen for heating and cooking would almost completely decarbonise these systems. These have so far been a very difficult area of emissions to effectively reduce without digging up urban streets and at acceptable cost.”
“However to be truly low carbon, generating the hydrogen will require CCS, or much more expensive electrolysis of water using electricity. The least cost method of generating the large amounts of Hydrogen required is to reform natural gas into pure Hydrogen, and separating the carbon in the form of CO2.”
“CCS and hydrogen represent a winning combination for UK decarbonisation efforts, and I welcome the launch of the H21 Leeds City Gate report to point the way forward.”
Reducing the cost of monitoring the underground storage of the carbon dioxide (CO₂) and examining developments that improve the accuracy of predicting CO₂ behaviour will be two key topics for discussion at an international gathering of geoscientists in Edinburgh this week.
The three-day event, organised by IEAGHG – a research programme set up by the International Energy Agency (IEA) to study technologies for tackling greenhouse gas emissions – will bring together experts in CO₂ storage modelling and monitoring from five continents.
According to the IEA, in order to limit global warming to no more than 2°C, no more than one third of known fossil fuel reserves can be used by 2050 unless carbon capture and storage (CCS) is deployed widely. Modelling and monitoring technologies will help to ensure the safe and long-term storage of the greenhouse gas in geological sites deep below ground.
The meeting is being co-hosted by the British Geological Survey and SCCS and is sponsored by the UK CCS Research Centre, the US Department of Energy and The Marine Studies Group of the Geological Society of London.
As well as featuring talks on current developments in modelling and monitoring techniques, the event will include progress reports from world-leading CO₂ storage and monitoring projects, such as Canada’s Aquistore and Quest storage sites, among others.
Sarah Hannis, of British Geological Survey and one of the organising committee, said: "BGS and SCCS are delighted to be co-hosting this meeting for IEAGHG. I’m looking forward to hearing the latest results from the different storage projects – we can learn so much from the growing evidence from these real CCS sites. This is a great opportunity for UK researchers to network with CCS experts from around the world and collaborate in helping to demonstrate that CO₂ can be stored safely."
Tim Dixon of IEAGHG, said: "It is a privilege to bring international CCS experts to the UK and Edinburgh to share and discuss the latest work and results in monitoring and modelling, and to identify future activities. We are very pleased to be here."