MPs call for new hydrogen strategy

The UK's failure to adopt a clear strategy for hydrogen energy is preventing the sector from playing a key role in delivering net-zero emissions for the country by 2050, MPs have warned.

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The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) said that the UK has the expertise and technology capabilities to scale up low-carbon hydrogen, but currently lags behind the EU, Australia, Japan and Canada, which all have ambitious strategies.

In a letter to business secretary Alok Sharma, EAC chair Philip Dunne explained how a clear vision could lead to hydrogen clusters forming around the country, supporting jobs and local economies.

A new strategy could also help heavy industrial processes such as chemicals and steel transition to hydrogen, with decarbonisation made possible by mixing hydrogen with natural gas, or developing power plants to run on 100% hydrogen.

"We must end our reliance on dirty fuels and hydrogen could be the key to realising our low-carbon potential,” Dunne said.

“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.”

At present 95% of global hydrogen is derived from fossil fuel feedstocks, and the EAC said that more must be done to champion carbon capture and storage (CCS) to ensure hydrogen fully contributes to a low-carbon future. 

The committee explained how the UK has the potential with its offshore wind sector to champion green hydrogen, but there is also significant potential to decarbonise blue hydrogen created using fossil fuels.

It argued that a new hydrogen strategy could play a key role in supporting cost-effective decarbonisation of transport sectors such as aviation and shipping, and has asked for a response from Sharma by 2 September.

“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," Dunne added.

 

Image credit: Shutterstock

Author: 

Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM

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