Decarbonising the economy: No-regrets pathways to hydrogen


There are high hopes for hydrogen and the role it can play in decarbonising our economy. These hopes are well founded. We have zero-emission vehicles running today, fuelled by green hydrogen.

Demonstration projects have shown that we can use hydrogen to make green steel, decarbonise glassmaking and many other high temperature, direct-firing industries such as ceramics production and minerals processing. As far as hydrogen goes, it’s time to believe the hype.

So, where’s the catch? Despite hydrogen’s potential, the UK’s net-zero ambition raises some important questions. The stated aim is to achieve 5 gigawatts (GW) of low-carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030. For context, currently, just 1% of the world’s hydrogen is produced by electrolysis using renewable energy. The UK’s electrolysis production capacity is estimated at around 20-30 megawatts (MW). Bridging the gap to 5 GW requires that we increase capacity up to 250x in under 10 years, which will require a hugely focused effort.

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