Hydrogen: enabling the UK to reach net-zero emissions

Dec 02 2019

Element Energy has produced four ‘Hy-Impact’ reports for Equinor that outline the opportunity for hydrogen and CCS in the UK net-zero transition.

The Hy-Impact series of studies explores the technical and economic impacts of deploying hydrogen and CCS technologies in the UK. It assesses aspects from job creation to emissions reduction, and hydrogen production to its end-use, including complementing renewables in the power sector. The studies were carried out for Equinor, a long-term energy investor in the UK in a broad range of areas and also the country’s largest supplier of natural gas.

Emrah Durusut, Associate Director at Element Energy, said “The Committee on Climate Change’s recent net-zero report concluded that developing CCS and low-carbon hydrogen is a necessity, not an option. I am delighted to announce the release of the Hy-Impact series of four reports, outlining the role hydrogen and CCS can play in the UK’s net-zero transition”.

The studies aimed to answer a number of remaining questions around hydrogen deployment in the UK and concluded that:

  • Hydrogen and CCS deployment could enable over 200,000 jobs and could add £18 billion to the UK economy in 2050. Large scale hydrogen production located in industrial areas could have a positive impact on areas with high unemployment through job and value creation, whilst positioning the UK as a leader in low-carbon skills and products.
  • There is sufficient bioenergy to enable net-negative hydrogen production in the UK. Blue hydrogen, which is capable of decarbonising industry, heat, transport and power, can be delivered at scale in the UK with net-zero or net-negative emissions by blending biomethane into natural gas feedstock during hydrogen production.
  • Hydrogen and CCS power technologies can cost-effectively replace nuclear and unabated gas power plants. The two technologies can complement renewable electricity generation and reduce the UK electricity grid carbon intensity by up to 24% by 2035, saving 3.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year.
  • The Yorkshire and Humber region could represent an opportunity for development of an early hydrogen economy. Hydrogen could represent a solution for decarbonising the wider Humber region, home to the UK's largest industrial cluster by both greenhouse gas emissions and energy usage.

Plans are already developing in the UK to deploy hydrogen and CCS at scale and realise the associated benefits. For example, Drax Group, Equinor and National Grid Ventures announced the Zero Carbon Humber partnership earlier this year, aiming to deliver the UK’s first zero carbon cluster in the Yorkshire and Humber region; this would help position the UK at the heart of the global energy revolution. The proposed hydrogen demonstrator and test facility could be constructed as early as 2026, with scale-up and supply to regional end-users to follow.

“This set of reports is an important step in defining the significant contribution hydrogen and CCS can make in the delivering the UK’s net-zero emissions target across several sectors. We are now working to bring this vision to reality. Significant collaboration and investment from both the public and private sectors is essential to provide an attractive proposition for end-users and realise the emission reductions,” said Steinar Eikaas, Vice President of Low Carbon Solutions at Equinor.


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