Philip Dunne MP, Chairman of the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC), has written to Business Secretary Alok Sharma stating that the lack of clear vision from Government risks scuppering progress for hydrogen to play a key role in developing the UK’s low carbon energy mix.
The EAC heard during evidence sessions and in written correspondence that the lack of a Hydrogen Strategy is holding back the sector. It is clear that the UK has the expertise and the technology capabilities to scale up low-carbon hydrogen, but it lags behind other nations such as Australia, Japan and Canada which all have ambitious hydrogen strategies, as well as the recently launched EU initiative.
A Hydrogen Strategy could play a key role in supporting cost-effective decarbonisation of transport sectors such as aviation and shipping. A clear vision could lead to hydrogen clusters forming around the country, supporting jobs and local economies, while supporting heavy industrial processes such as chemicals and steel in a transition to hydrogen. This decarbonisation could be accomplished by mixing hydrogen with natural gas or developing power plants to run on 100% hydrogen.
At present 95% of global hydrogen is derived from fossil fuel feedstocks, so more must be done to champion carbon capture and storage (CCS) to ensure hydrogen fully contributes to a low-carbon future. The UK has the potential with its world-leading offshore wind sector to champion green hydrogen, but there is also significant potential to decarbonise blue hydrogen created using fossil fuels.
Environmental Audit Committee Chair, Rt Hon Philip Dunne MP, said:
“We must end our reliance on dirty fuels and hydrogen could be the key to realising our low-carbon potential. The UK’s strengths in innovation, technology and skills can be utilised to champion hydrogen as a major player in our energy mix – but the Government must pave the way.
The Committee heard time and again during evidence that the UK’s lack of a Hydrogen Strategy by Government is holding back efforts to make scaling up hydrogen production a reality. The upcoming National Infrastructure Strategy due in the Autumn could be an excellent opportunity for the Government to bring forward a Hydrogen Strategy to underpin its commitment to a Net Zero Britain.”
The Committee has requested a response by 2 September.