Hydrogen for UK home heating ruled out; still important for industry

Hydrogen for UK home heating ruled out; still important for industry

The 2nd National Infrastructure Assessment report came out during the third week of October. This is particularly interesting: "The Commission’s analysis demonstrates that there is no public policy case for hydrogen to be used to heat individual buildings. It should be ruled out as an option to enable an exclusive focus on switching to electrified heat."

Jan Rosenow from the Regulatory Assistance Project had previously highlighted that at least 45 independent studies at best see only a limited role for hydrogen for heating, so the NIC's conclusions are in line.

Again from the report, "Decarbonising the industrial sector requires switching from fossil fuels to a mix of electricity, hydrogen and fossil fuels abated with carbon capture and storage." So whilst it may not play much of a role in home heating it is important for industry.

Hydrogen is very important for the transition to a lower carbon, lower harmful emissions economy. It is in itself a big decarbonisation problem. Hydrogen is needed as a feedstock in a number of crucial processes most notably the Haber-Bosch process in manufacturing ammonia, a key component in fertilisers.

The Inflation Reduction Act in the US actually has a provision (45V) which specifies subsidies for the production of low-carbon hydrogen. The production tax credits are worth as much as $100 billion with the highest credit level at $3 per kg. That's good right? It means that we can lower the CO2e emissions in the production of hydrogen that is necessary for many industrial processes. Hmmm.. the trouble is the adjudication of whether the hydrogen produced is actually 'green'. Is the electricity being used in hydrolysis for example actually produced from green sources? Is blue hydrogen (where carbon is captured) actually green? Is some of that hydrogen production even veering towards being grey/black?

The Hydrogen Science Coalition proposed a definition which we discussed here 👇🏾

Level playing field for blue and green hydrogen
Hydrogen is a big decarbonisation problem in itself. Understanding what ‘clean’ really means allows us to solve that problem in the right way.

So green hydrogen is important and needed, but we need to understand carefully what it is and that it is likely have a cost trade-off. A Boston Consulting Group whitepaper - "Turning the European green hydrogen dream into reality: a call to action" - highlights that whilst just a few years ago the consensus view was that "green hydrogen production costs would be below €3 per kg, "...real hydrogen asset projects currently in development suggest green hydrogen production costs in the range of €5 - €8 per kg in 2030 for central Europe."

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Please read: important legal stuff.


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