The National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway), Dublin City University, and HyEnergy, both GenComm project partners, have released a new study on hydrogen’s position in Northern Ireland’s green energy transformation.
Northern Ireland’s Department for the Environment sponsored the study in order to add to the evidence base for the implementation of a new Energy Policy.
The study explores Northern Ireland’s advancement toward its decarbonization targets, as well as its specific obstacles and opportunities, and discusses hydrogen’s future roles in facilitating greater renewable energy adoption, including energy storage, reduced curtailment, and business pairing. It then pinpoints energy market industries where hydrogen could assist in decarbonization, such as buses and trains, as well as its usage in the gas grid for heating. The research team presents the findings of case studies for green hydrogen implementation in Northern Ireland in 2030, which is hydrogen generated by electrolysis powered by renewable electricity.
Ian Williamson, CEO of HyEnergy and President of the European Hydrogen Association said, “We see this report as just the start of the process. Hydrogen is becoming key to the decarbonisation plans of many countries. The development of a Northern Ireland hydrogen strategy will highlight the Province’s ambition internationally. It will provide a platform for both enhanced renewable energy penetration into the region’s energy mix and deliver highly skilled jobs over the next decade.”
Scenarios for decentralized, regional, and centralized electrolysis and end use are explored. The results demonstrate the technical, environmental, and economic feasibility of hydrogen production and use at scale in Northern Ireland. The report goes on to explore the unique strengths Northern Ireland can bring to bear on hydrogen in the energy transition. These include world class onshore and offshore renewable energy resources, an entrepreneurial and innovative engineering and manufacturing sector, strong and modern electricity and gas interconnections with Great Britain and Ireland, and large-scale salt cavern storage sites.
The study’s lead researcher, Dr. Rory Monaghan of the NUI Galway Ryan Institute for Marine, Environment and Energy Research, says, “This report really just scratches the surfaces of the positive impact hydrogen could make in Northern Ireland’s energy transition and economy. The potential for clean and secure energy to attract investment, as well as provide local jobs in emerging hi-tech sectors could transform Northern Ireland. We hope that our work can spur further interest in hydrogen’s role in Northern Ireland’s energy future.”
Dr. James Carton, Assistant Professor at Dublin City University, said, “Northern Ireland is leading the way in the integration of renewables with other sectors such as transport, using green hydrogen. This report highlights the fervent prospect for hydrogen to become a key part of Northern Ireland’s economy and low carbon energy transition.”
GenComm project co-ordinator Paul McCormack concluded, ‘”As we develop the Hydrogen road map for Northern Ireland it presents fantastic opportunities commercially, environmentally and socially for us to capture and build upon. True energy innovation is about developing and delivering sustainable solutions that meet community and environmental need. Optimizing solutions with SMART H2 meets the twin goals of achieving energy security and sustainability. This report presents opportunity to translate energy innovation into action.”