Thursday, 1 December 2016

E4tech delivers a roadmap for hydrogen and fuel cells in the UK

Source: E4tech, 21st November 2016

Hydrogen could bring significant benefits to the UK’s energy system: heating homes and businesses, powering vehicles, and balancing intermittent renewables. This new roadmap provides an overarching industrial strategy for hydrogen and fuel cells to play a greater role in the UK’s energy mix.

The principal benefits outlined in the report are:

Environmental benefits – Adoption of hydrogen and fuel cells will improve air quality today, and following the actions described could reduce UK CO2 emissions by tens of millions of tonnes per year.

Economic benefits – By 2025, tens of millions of pounds and 1,000s of jobs could be created directly in the supply chain. These would underpin future growth in key UK manufacturing sectors such as automotive and energy-intensive industries as the world adopts tighter environmental targets.

The UK national roadmap has an appendix describing strategies for success in 11 key market segments where the UK could show leadership and derive economic, energy and environmental benefits, to 2025 and beyond.

E4tech worked with Element Energy to develop the roadmap, including ten workshops with stakeholders in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, and London. The roadmap was commissioned and steered by Innovate UK, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS, formerly known as Department of Energy and Climate Change, DECC), Transport Scotland, the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise, the Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (SHFCA), the UK Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (UKHFCA), and the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN).

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Hydrogen and Fuel Cells: Opportunities for Growth – A Roadmap for the UK
Hydrogen could bring significant benefits to the UK’s energy system: heating homes and businesses, powering vehicles, and balancing intermittent renewables. This new roadmap provides an industrial strategy for hydrogen and fuel cells to play a greater role in the UK’s energy mix. In developing the roadmap, E4tech and Element Energy conducted detailed analysis and a series of workshops and bilateral discussions with stakeholders. This allowed us to produce ‘mini-roadmaps’ addressing 11 sectors in detail, and to bring together the most important aspects into an overarching document with four themes:

Hydrogen as a major component of a future low carbon energy system, where it can bring significant benefits as a low carbon route to energy supply, and through providing services to energy networks. The gas network could be converted to hydrogen, to provide low carbon heating. Hydrogen could enable more widespread penetration of renewable electricity. When combined with carbon capture and storage, hydrogen production can provide a route to low or even negative greenhouse gas emissions. None of these options are yet available at the scale required to deliver major energy system benefits, and so the actions recommended here are to prepare the UK to take advantage of these potential solutions.

Hydrogen in transport, and how it can help to improve air quality and contribute to decarbonisation. While application in cars is important, hydrogen is also well suited to heavier vehicles operating daily duty cycles. The UK could benefit from a focus on developing larger buses, trucks, vans and even boats, where there is already significant industrial strength. The main action here is to support UK companies producing these vehicles and their components, complemented by actions to prepare the UK market for the introduction of hydrogen-fuelled vehicles of all types.

Fuel cell CHP, improving the efficiency of energy use today. These systems can run on natural gas cleanly and efficiently in the short term, and bio-based gases or hydrogen longer term. Actions here include supporting UK companies in validating and introducing small scale fuel cell CHP, creating a fair playing field within regulations, and developing business models that capture some of the wider benefits of fuel cell CHP systems.

Fuel cells used in products that bring functionality benefits in their own right. Portable power, remote power using portable fuels and unmanned aerial vehicles each have a potentially important role to play in commercialising hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. Actions are concentrated around showcasing the products, awareness-raising amongst potential buyers, as well as removing unnecessary barriers.

Download the full report

Download the appendices

Image: A pathway for development of hydrogen and fuel cells in the UK energy system

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Learn more about E4tech’s work in fuel cells and hydrogen here and in strategy development here.

For more information about E4tech, please visit http://www.e4tech.com/.