The role of hydrogen in a net zero energy system
The UK government must capture the opportunities presented by low-carbon hydrogen and scale up its production, according to a new report published by the National Engineering Policy Centre (NEPC), a partnership of 42 professional engineering organisations led by the Royal Academy of Engineering. The report highlights risks associated with rapid scale up of low-carbon hydrogen production that must be managed to make the most of hydrogen’s potential to contribute to net zero, such as fugitive emissions from fossil fuel extraction and key dependencies on requisite technologies including carbon capture and storage (CCS), renewable electricity and electrolysers.
Hydrogen is likely to play a critical role in achieving net zero, according to the report, which identifies two key requirements that the UK would need to fulfil in the next few years if low-carbon hydrogen is to be successfully scaled up as part of a net zero energy system:
- Achieve a rapid scaling up of low-carbon hydrogen infrastructure focusing on end uses where the greatest gains can be made from a whole-system decarbonisation perspective.
- Manage the risks and dependencies when scaling up hydrogen value chains – including leakages, safety and public trust, skills gaps, cost uncertainties, regulations, blue and green hydrogen competition, and embodied carbon in infrastructure.
Read the full report.