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APPG | What does a hydrogen mass rollout mean for consumers?

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Charley Rattan's picture
World Hydrogen Leader , Charley Rattan Associates

UK based offshore wind & hydrogen corporate advisor and trainer; Faculty member World Hydrogen Leaders. Delivering global hydrogen and offshore wind corporate investment advice, business...

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  • May 23, 2022





What does a hydrogen mass rollout mean for consumers up and down the country?

A hybrid session of the APPG today in Westminster and impacted by a few gremlins on the line and on the railways but the good humour of Jacob Young meant no one was too concerns and improvisation and a slight shuffling of running orders and participants led to an informative and illuminating session.

Mass rollout of hydrogen will be necessary across a variety of sectors, from transport to industry. BEIS has been allocating funds to some of the UK industrial clusters including HyNet and the wider East Coast clusters, but what will the implications be when the rollout reaches homes and smaller businesses across the country and needs to be translated through the supply chain?

This session focussed the role of consumer choices on supply and demand, with a particular focus on challenges and opportunities for small to medium businesses.

Looking at ports and interchange hubs what is needed and where of great interest for supply chain. In the centre lies the Midlands and Richard Bradley, who heads up the structure team of Midlands Connect spoke around transport and the moving of heavy things long distance is where Hydrogen has an advantage and needs modelling Internal Combustion Engines (ICE)  and Fuel Cell option.

Emily Lee, National Grid took us through the connecting of UK production hubs unveiled in Westminster last week: Project Union

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SMEs and their connection into the hydrogen economy was addressed with Airports, Ports and Transport stakeholders talking about route maps and universities.

Town gas to hydrogen switchover strategies, the boilers, appliance were discussed with reference to have it was done in the past. Several schemes ranging from Fife to Ellesmere port referenced with a reminder that change is coming anyway

Melanie Taylor of Northern Gas spoke on Hydrogen village trials in Redcar and Ellesmere Port with 2023 decisions pending. It would be good for the industry if both progressed. Natural gas is going but customers will have choices with the networks engaging with them now and triangulating the research and initial feedback, which included Jacob Young’s office, in the Redcar area has been positive.

The doubling of hydrogen targets to 10GW with 5GW green underway in some of the trials here with doubts around the viability of blue hydrogen and perhaps the emissions underpinning them a potential useful metric.

Melanie Taylor also spoke around the costings of hydrogen and its expense but cited the success of offshore wind a model which may indicate it is possible. The hydrogen itself is only part of the cost with broader systems cost needing to be borne in mind but there will be costs to net zero. The blue element revolves around carbon capture in storage which would have at least an interim tole to play.

We went into more detail on the repurposing of Grid transmission, already paid for by the public,  and over 2000 km of refurbished pipelines. The hydrogen backbone will connect such places at Bacton and St Fergus and with particular relevance to the consumer and with jobs, especially at the construction phase being modelled and a focus on decarbonising industry.

Jacob Young asked about the first steps and the East coast cluster may be well placed to lead with a reminder the re-suing existing kit may come in at fifth of new build and hence great value for the consumer. Grid see a role for both blue and green and once again looking at the carbon content of schemes coming forwards.

Richard Bradley quoted Henry Ford on working together being progress but staying together being success.



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