The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) £20m Hydrogen Supply programme aims to accelerate the development of a low carbon bulk hydrogen (H2) supply solutions for industry, power, buildings and transport.

The UK government has published details of a £20m competition aimed at accelerating the development of low carbon H2 supply solutions. The Hydrogen Supply Programme will identify and test approaches to providing bulk H2, either to the gas grid, industry, power, transport or import terminals.

The proposed bulk H2 solutions include: low carbon production – through fossil fuel reformation with carbon capture and storage (CCS) – zero carbon production using zero carbon energy such as electrolysis, nuclear or biomass with CCS – the import infrastructure for H2 and the storage of H2.

A two-stage Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) pre-commercial procurement process will be used to deliver the competition.

Phase One will include feasibility studies, with a total budget of up to £5m and Phase Two will be a pilot demonstration with a total budget of up to £15m.

BEIS states, “Low carbon H2 could play an important role in decarbonising the industry, power, heat and transport sectors. However, for a market to grow, potential users (in any application) need to be confident in supply of sufficient amounts of low carbon H2 at a competitive price.”

“By supporting innovative pilots to help develop the process and technologies required to supply bulk low carbon H2, this programme seeks to address the cost differential between natural gas and low carbon H2.”

The deadline to register interest was the 21st November 2018 and proposals must be submitted by 5th December 2018.

The Phase One feasibility studies will identify:

  • An assessment of the market size and export opportunities for the technology for bulk low carbon H2 supply.
  • A detailed engineering design for each H2 supply solution, against which an assessment could be made on a number of metrics. These are likely to include: capital and operating costs, process risks (reliability), the available and the impact of variable demand, the H2 quality, the potential to mitigate greenhouse gases, the build rate and how the process could be scaled. Process modelling or small-scale trials may also be required to verify the design, the use of modelling or demonstration to support the H2 supply solution will be assessed under project financing.
  • A detailed development plan for each solution describing the key development steps to commercialisation, including the key barriers and risks. This should include a detailed focus on the components to be piloted in Phase 2. Each step will be costed.
  • A detailed assessment of the business plan on how the process will continue to be developed after the funding for the pilot ends.

Phase 2 is for projects that have been selected from Phase 1, based on the information contained in their feasibility study. This phase will result in the implementation and demonstration of a H2 supply solution and will consider applications to pilot key components or further develop the design of the new H2 supply solutions. A pilot demonstration is not limited to a physical demonstration and may only be for parts of the process. This could include detailed process modelling or engineering design.

No new applicants will be able to enter the competition at Phase 2, although some variation in project partners may be permitted.