In another significant stride toward decarbonising heavy transport on the international stage, zero-emission bus trailblazer Wrightbus, a HYCAP portfolio company, has secured a substantial European order for its hydrogen single-deck buses. Wrightbus are now the U.K. leader, and operate a production line focused on both electric and hydrogen technology.

Saarbahn GmbH, the prominent German transport company, has placed an order for 28 Kite Hydroliners, solidifying Wrightbus’s position in the European market.

Saarbahn GmbH, in partnership with Saarbahn Netz GmbH, boasts an extensive transportation network, serving approximately 43.7 million passengers annually. The decision to integrate 28 hydrogen buses into their fleet underscores a commitment to environmental responsibility and aligns with the clear net-zero targets set for the Saarland region.

Wrightbus CEO Jean-Marc Gales said “This is a significant deal for Wrightbus, Saarbahn GmbH, and the people of Saarland. We are delighted to deliver even more zero-emission buses in support of clear net-zero targets.” The Saarbahn deal is part of Wrightbus’s broader mission to promote their sustainable transportation solutions in Europe.

Zero-emission buses manufactured by Wrightbus and already on the road have surged from 200 a year ago to a projected 1,700 in the coming year, establishing Wrightbus as the UK leader. The aspiration is to now further solidify its position as a European leader and a global force in the zero-emission transportation sector.

Beyond this milestone, the impact of hydrogen adoption in heavy transport is evident. The increasing number of hydrogen projects in development marks an opportunity for a network of hydrogen hubs, forming the infrastructure that could connect various regions across Europe. Such a system not only meets the surging demand for zero-emission vehicles, but also helps establish a sustainable hydrogen ecosystem.

In addition to the Saarbahn deal, Wrightbus continues to strategically expand its presence in Europe, with several other deals in the pipeline. In a recent interview with the Irish Times, Jean-Marc, who took the helm as CEO in April 2023, discussed the establishment of a new after-sales centre in Cologne, Germany. Looking further afield, Wrightbus is also set to revive its Malaysian factory base, eyeing markets in Hong Kong and Singapore. Jean-Marc has also revealed plans for nightshift production lines, further signalling the company’s positive trajectory.

Wrightbus’s commitment to #DrivingAGreenerFuture is evident in its impact on heavy transport. The company’s zero-emission buses on the road have surged from 200 a year ago to a projected 1,700 in the coming year, establishing Wrightbus as the UK leader. The aspiration is to now further solidify its position as a European leader and a global force in the zero-emission transportation sector.

As Wrightbus continues to spearhead the hydrogen revolution, its dedication to sustainability, innovation, and global leadership remains steadfast.

“We’re UK leader now, we want to become European leader, and we want to be a world leading company.” says Jean-Marc.

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) and HYCAP Group, the net zero asset management company, have signed an agreement to develop the production, storage, and transport of green hydrogen, spearheading the transition to net zero in line with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Net Zero Strategy 2050 and National Hydrogen Strategy.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between HYCAP Middle East and ADDED will also see the two organisations join forces to assess establishing industrial complex in Abu Dhabi with the involvement of local partners. The complex will specialise in industries related to hydrogen and advancement of renewable energy sources, aiming to attract and establish more industrial companies and bolster the value chains within this sector.

In November 2023, HYCAP Group opened  Regional headquarter in Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) to support its strategic expansion to the region and unveiled plans for a UAE-based GCC Fund that will invest in companies serving the net zero energy transition and clean hydrogen supply chain.

The UAE’s National Hydrogen Strategy aims to make it a top 10 producer of green hydrogen by 2031 with an output target of 1.4 million tonnes per year. The UAE plans to establish hydrogen oases to accelerate industry adoption of hydrogen, cultivating a supply chain, and enabling infrastructure.

Under the MoU, the Industrial Development Bureau (IDB), ADDED’s arm to develop and regulate the industrial sector, and HYCAP will work together to establish an industrial complex in Abu Dhabi for the development of renewable energy sources, an electrolysis plant, a hydrogen storage facility, and hydrogen tankers for transportation.

The complex will contribute to the development of Abu Dhabi’s sustainable industrial sector and the goals of the Abu Dhabi Industrial Strategy (ADIS), which seeks to develop value chains for targeted sectors. It will also consolidate Abu Dhabi’s position as the region’s most competitive industrial hub.

HYCAP will also work on creating a robust ecosystem of industries in Abu Dhabi that revolve around hydrogen industry and clean energy infrastructure. This includes the establishing of clean hydrogen production facilities, a methanol production facility, clean hydrogen storage and transport, an electrolyser manufacturing facility, electrical charging manufacturing, fuel cell manufacturing, as well as developing bus and truck manufacturing facilities. The strategy is to align supply and demand for hydrogen locally, scaling up to create a viable proposition for export sales growth. Furthermore, HAYCAP is actively seeking to attract global industrial companies specialising in this field to their industrial complex in Abu Dhabi.

Eng. Arafat Al Yafei, Executive Director of the Industrial Development Bureau (IDB), said: “We are delighted to have signed this agreement with HYCAP, which is an important step along the road to make AD most competitive industrial hub in region. This is part of the partnerships we are building with leading global powerhouses to enable our manufacturing sector to achieve the Abu Dhabi Industrial Strategy’s (ADIS) goals.

“ADIS is guiding our efforts to accelerate the growth of industrial sector and its transformation to Industry 4.0 methods and techniques, placing sustainability and human development at its core. The strong performance of the industrial sector in 2023 reflects continued success of ADIS initiatives as the sector now contributes over 17% to the Abu Dhabi’s non-oil GDP and 9% to the overall GDP”.

Jo Bamford, Chairman and Founding Partner of HYCAP Group, said: “We opened our offices in the UAE to place HYCAP Group at the centre of the world’s emerging green hydrogen hubs. The UAE is leading the transition to clean, renewable energy and this agreement with Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development is a demonstrable example of the commitment in the region to grasp the opportunity this presents.”

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

The UK has initiated the second round of the Hydrogen Allocation Round (HAR) funding program, aiming for 875 MW allocation to projects operational between 2026 and 2029.

The funding, part of the Hydrogen Production Business Model (HPBM), uses a Contracts for Difference (CfD) subsidy approach. The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero plans annual HAR programs,

with HAR3 and HAR4, totalling 1.5 GW, slated for launch after 2025 to expedite 2030 hydrogen production targets.

In July 2022, the UK government launched the first Hydrogen Allocation Round (HAR1), a significant milestone in Europe, announcing 11 successful projects, with a total capacity of 125 MW. Among them is Hygen Energy‘s Bradford Hydrogen Production Facility, projected to be the highest MW producer on the list. Hygen’s pioneering project is positioned to contribute to job creation and industry decarbonisation, alongside the nation’s Net Zero objectives.

HAR1 represented a substantial investment opportunity, with over £2 billion in revenue support from the Hydrogen Production Business Model and £90 million from the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund allocated to support construction. The first HAR1 projects are expected to be operational from 2025, providing certainty for hydrogen developers, investors, and supply chain companies committed to the UK.

The projects, spanning 8 regions in England, Scotland, and Wales, are set to deliver various benefits. They include an upfront private capital investment of £413 million between 2024-2026, generating approximately 760 direct jobs during construction and operation.

Additional funds will be allocated to offtakers, supporting their transition to hydrogen and enhancing long-term viability.

These initiatives significantly contribute to energy security by aiding users in shifting from imported fuels to domestically produced hydrogen. This in turn fuels regional economic growth and also propels the low carbon hydrogen economy in the UK, aligning

with the 2025 goal of achieving up to 1 GW of electrolytic hydrogen production capacity. The government’s ambition remains to deploy up to 10 GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030, potentially unlocking £11 billion in private investment and supporting over 12,000 jobs.

Launched in December 2023, Round 2 allocates 875 MW for projects operational between 2026 and 2029. Projects participating in HAR2 now have the chance to secure support through the Hydrogen Production Business Model (HPBM), leveraging a Contracts for Difference (CfD) subsidy.

HAR2 marks an ideal opportunity for government and private entities to align, expediting the growth of the UK’s hydrogen economy, job creation and the crucial decarbonisation of industries.

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

New GCC Fund to accelerate clean hydrogen economy amid regional push for decarbonisation

HYCAP Group, the UK-based net zero asset management company with clean hydrogen at its core, has opened an office in Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) to support its strategic expansion to the region. At a private event during Abu Dhabi Finance Week, HYCAP Group also revealed plans for a UAE-based GCC Fund that will invest in companies serving the net zero energy transition and clean hydrogen supply chain.

As GCC governments race to decarbonize their economies, clean hydrogen is emerging as a central pillar in their climate mitigation efforts. Recognising the essential role that green hydrogen, sourced from renewable energy, can play in attaining net zero goals, HYCAP Group is committed to accelerating the adoption of the carbon-free fuel in high-emitting sectors.

Both the UAE and Saudi Arabia are laying robust foundations for leading the global hydrogen market. The UAE’s National Hydrogen Strategy aims to make it a top 10 producer of green hydrogen by 2031 with an output target of 1.4 million tonnes per year. Similarly, Saudi Arabia’s National Hydrogen Strategy is targeting over $36 billion in investments by 2030, and includes the construction of the world’s largest green hydrogen plant in NEOM.

HYCAP CEO James Munce, Karim Salah, Executive Director of Industrial Development bureau Eng. Arafat Saleh A. Al Yafei, HYCAP Chairman Jo Bamford, Ali Al Hammami, Empowerment Department Director Nabil Saleh, Head of GCC HYCAP Group Christian Tabet, HYCAP Head of Investor Relations Toby Fenwicke Clennell

HYCAP Group’s entry into the region is not just timely but critical. With green hydrogen currently representing a small fraction of total hydrogen production, there’s a pressing need for substantial investments in renewable infrastructure and innovative solutions for hydrogen transport and storage.

Commenting on HYCAP Group’s expansion to the UAE, Arvind Ramamurthy, Chief Market Development Officer, ADGM said: “HYCAP Group’s entry into Abu Dhabi Global Market underscores the capital’s position as a leading centre for climate finance. As we navigate this era of transformation, sustainable development remains at the heart of Abu Dhabi’s economic strategy. Our commitment to integrating clean energy solutions, particularly through the expansion of our low-carbon and green hydrogen capabilities, is unwavering. Initiatives like HYCAP Group’s investment platform are crucial for enhancing Abu Dhabi’s strategic position in the hydrogen sector and setting us on a clear path to become a top global producer.”

Replicating the success of its first UK Fund, HYCAP Group’s investment approach is focused on matching hydrogen supply with emerging demand to foster rapid market growth. Investing across the hydrogen value chain, HYCAP portfolio companies include: Wrightbus which manufactures EV and Hydrogen Buses; Ryze which transports and distributes green hydrogen; Hygen, a hydrogen production facility; Liquid Wind, a green electrofuel development company; and Yamna, a global green hydrogen platform.

Pictured (right to left) Mr. Jo Bamford, Chairman HYCAP Group with Eng. Arafat Saleh A. Al Yafei, Executive Director of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development

Jo Bamford, Chairman and Founding Partner of HYCAP Group, said, “Our venture into the UAE is a strategic decision to place HYCAP Group at the nexus of the world’s emerging green hydrogen hubs. Under its visionary leadership, the UAE is spearheading the worldwide push towards clean and renewable energy. We are committed to supporting these initiatives by catalysing the hydrogen market. This includes establishing manufacturing clusters that can foster the necessary innovation, collaboration and demand needed for sustainable industrial growth.”

James Munce, CEO of HYCAP Group, added, “Green hydrogen’s potential as a key enabler in decarbonising sectors like transportation and heavy industry is immense. Our demand-first investment strategy is pivotal for unlocking the hydrogen value chain, paving the way for a sustainable and economically viable hydrogen economy.”

With its eyes set on creating integrated hydrogen economies across the GCC, HYCAP Group is poised to make significant contributions to the region’s transition to a cleaner, greener future. More than just geographical growth, HYCAP says its expansion to the region underscores a commitment to shaping a sustainable world by harnessing the power of clean hydrogen.

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

Here at net zero investment fund HYCAP Group we are delighted to announce the appointment of four new senior managers to our team, to drive forward our work investing in the clean hydrogen and net zero energy transition market.

HYCAP Group CEO James Munce joined just over 12 months ago and is now putting the finishing touches to his senior leadership team. Additions to the team include a new Chief Investment Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Chief Technology Officer and Head of People.

Each member of the team has a wealth of experience in their respective fields.

Scott Lanphere, who has been appointed Chief Investment Officer, and has worked in private equity for over 30 years in Europe, the US, and the Middle-East. Scott has worked with Advent International, Deutsche Bank, Saudi Arabian Investment Company and Eaton Gate Capital Partners covering key industries including energy, chemicals/other industrial, retail, healthcare and media. He has raised well in excess of €12 billion in capital for projects and acquisitions across the partnerships and in support of M&A clients.

From left to right: HYCAP Group CEO James Munce, Chief Investment Officer Scott Lanphere, Chief Technology Officer Ben Madden, Chief Operating Officer Luke Spencer-Wilson, Head of People Damian Ordish.

New Chief Operating Officer Luke Spencer-Wilson has worked in asset management and banking for 25 years, with senior executive experience in operations and business development. Luke has acted as advisor and consultant as well as facilitating capital raising, relationship management and providing guidance on business strategy. His previous experience includes roles at Merrill Lynch, ISAM, HSBC, and SuMi Trust.

Ben Madden has joined HYCAP Group as Chief Technology Officer. Before joining HYCAP, Ben was co-founder of Element Energy where he focused on delivering many of the early hydrogen projects across Europe, including building multinational coalitions, acquisition of public and private funding, development of viable business models and the initial engineering and procurement activities required to deploy the projects.

Damian Ordish, HYCAP Group’s new Head of People, is a seasoned HR leader who has led and scaled businesses across financial services, technology and FinTech around the world. He has 25 years’ experience, having held a number of senior positions with Goldman Sachs, Och-Ziff Capital Management, BitMEX, and Vialto Partners.

CEO James Munce said: “We are delighted to be strengthening our senior team with these really significant appointments. Scott, Luke, Ben and Damian are specialists in their fields with proven track records and will use their skill and knowledge to drive us forward.

“HYCAP has a vital role investing across the energy supply chain and empowering innovative businesses who are developing the technological infrastructure of a net zero future. These appointments will help with our ambitions as a leading institutional energy transition platform”

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

Next year’s Paris Olympics are aiming to be the greenest yet, helped in large part by the deployment of hundreds of vehicles running on clean hydrogen.

Toyota, the mobility partner for the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee for Paris 2024, will provide 500 hydrogen-powered Mirai passenger vehicles and up to 10 different sustainable transport solutions, including buses, trucks, boats and forklifts.

The vehicles will be used to transport athletes, officials, volunteers, accredited media and spectators around the various Olympic sites and venues as the Games aim to cut transport emissions by 50% from previous events.

Among the hydrogen vehicles on show at Paris 2024 will be 10 fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) city buses, some of which are capable of accommodating an entire wheelchair team after being converted specifically for the Games.

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Rotterdam’s race to lead Europe’s green hydrogen revolution

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After the Games, the converted coaches will be purchased by B.E. Green, a French provider of carbon-neutral transportation services, who will introduce the hydrogen vehicles into its existing fleet, ensuring they are used for their entire lifetime and optimising the hydrogen investment.

Next year’s Paris Olympics are aiming to be the greenest yet, helped in large part by the deployment of hundreds of vehicles running on clean hydrogen. In the Paris 2024 opening ceremony, the stadium floor will be the river Seine, and over 600,000 spots will line the shore as stadium seats. This innovative approach is part of Paris’s unique hosting strategy for the summer Olympics, which begins in July 2024.

Much of the Toyota Olympic fleet will be produced in Europe, including 37% in France, as Paris 2024 aims to reduce its carbon footprint by favouring locally manufactured goods for the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

While the buses will be converted by retrofit specialists GCK Mobility, Toyota is developing a light-duty FCEV truck for the mass market with partners Isuzu and Hino with which it has formed the Commercial Japan Partnership Technologies Corporation.

Hydrogen fuel is particularly appropriate for an event such as the Olympic Games where the vehicles will be in almost constant use, so downtime needs to be kept to a minimum. Hydrogen vehicles can be refuelled in 3-5 minutes, providing at least 300 miles of range, while a fast EV charger will take 30-60 minutes for a similar distance and a van or truck even longer.

Clean hydrogen for the Games will be supplied by  Air Liquide, the official hydrogen supporter of Paris 2024.

Hydrogen fuel is particularly appropriate for an event such as the Olympic Games where the vehicles will be in almost constant use, so downtime needs to be kept to a minimum. Hydrogen vehicles can be refuelled in 3-5 minutes, providing at least 300 miles of range, while a fast EV charger will take 30-60 minutes for a similar distance and a van or truck even longer.

Hydrogen has played a significant role at recent Games, including Tokyo 2020 and the 2022 winter Olympics in Beijing.

The hydrogen buses used in Beijing have continued to be popular in and around Zhangjiakou where, unlike battery electric, they still operate due to their ability to start in the cold and not lose power amid temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees C.

For those lucky enough to ride on a hydrogen bus in Paris next year, they will get to experience how safe, clean and quiet they can be…

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

In a rapidly evolving energy landscape driven by the imperative to combat climate change, Rotterdam is emerging as a beacon of innovation, uniquely positioned to harness its industrial might and academic prowess to spearhead the growth of green hydrogen startups. However, as with any nascent industry there are naturally strengths, opportunities, and challenges.

As a nation the Netherlands is making significant hydrogen investment, with the country currently consuming 800 kilotons of hydrogen annually. It is projected that by 2050, this demand will surge to 14 million tonnes.

Leveraging its substantial industrial and logistical strengths, Rotterdam has set its sights on becoming the foremost green hydrogen hub in Europe. The Port Authority is actively developing of an 11-hectare site, specifically designed for the construction of a green hydrogen production facility.

The industrial city’s story could serve as a blueprint for transforming similar centres into hubs of hydrogen-based decarbonisation, offering a model for a more sustainable energy future.

Jan Bot is the co-founder of Zepp.solutions, a young Dutch company specialising in fuel cell technology, headquartered in Delft, with testing and assembly facilities located in Rotterdam.

The industrial city of Rotterdam’s decarbonisation story could serve as a blueprint for transforming similar centres into hydrogen hubs, offering a model for a more sustainable energy future.

Bot believes that Rotterdam’s commitment to achieving net zero emissions, along with its robust logistics and industrial capabilities, positions the city and the Port of Rotterdam as ideal locations for green hydrogen startups.

“In a port environment, where you really need heavy-duty applications, that’s big trucks and big, big equipment, hydrogen is the more logical (energy providing) alternative.”

Mattijs Slee, the CEO of Battolyser Systems, the Rotterdam-based startup specialising in the production electrolysers, recently secured a €40 million financing deal with the European Investment Bank. He emphasises that the traditional industries in Rotterdam offer substantial prospects for decarbonisation and the adoption of environmentally sustainable alternatives, like hydrogen.

Slee says “Rotterdam has always been an industrial town versus, say Amsterdam, which is more fintech focused. We also have a lot of trade and workers in Rotterdam who, in some cases, come from legacy oil and gas or more fossil fuel-related jobs, and need to be transitioned into the future, sustainable jobs.”

As per Slee’s insights, Germany currently stands as the largest consumer of hydrogen in Europe, and the nation has ambitious plans to fulfill all its forthcoming energy requirements by sourcing from Rotterdam.

Battolyser has established a partnership with the Port, as “they are looking for new industries that can fill the Port of Rotterdam in the future as a lot of the fossil industry is moving out,” says Slee.

“That’s in combination with the ecosystem that they have around hydrogen — it’s not just about consuming hydrogen, but also transporting it, producing it, and in our case, manufacturing the required equipment.”

Slee points out that, although Rotterdam possesses substantial industrial capabilities, its “R&D capacity largely comes from Delft [another Dutch city]. So there’s the combination of Delft’s academia and Rotterdam’s strength in more practical skills like trade skills and so on.” Notably, Battolyser itself is a spinoff from the Delft University of Technology.

Pictured: TU Delft Faculty Of Civil Engineering and Geosciences. The city of Delft is no longer just associated with its iconic mid-seventeenth-century art movement; it’s a centre of immensely important technological academia, and has become a hub for decarbonisation research and development.

Zepp’s Bot and his co-founders originally connected during their time as students at Delft. “Our talent now mostly comes from the university too,” affirms Bot.

Slee also emphasises that while there is funding and support available for established industries to transition towards decarbonisation, there is an insufficient amount of funding and support for emerging green hydrogen solutions.

“So far, around $10bn has been allocated to hydrogen in terms of subsidies, but the distribution is very uneven. It is largely centred around hydrogen production — hydrogen factories — and then some towards the distribution of hydrogen and end consumers. There is zero for equipment manufacturing.”

He further suggests that the initiation of government intervention and working backward from the continent’s net zero objectives could serve as the initial step.

“It requires intervention, not just by upholding and keeping existing industries, but by actually trying to stimulate new industries too.”

In the pursuit of sustainable energy solutions, Rotterdam’s unique blend of industrial prowess and academic excellence from cities like Delft offers a promising framework for the growth of green hydrogen startups. Collaboration, backed by government planning aligned with net zero goals, presents a compelling path to catalyse innovation and decarbonisation in the region’s evolving energy landscape.

In the broader context of Europe’s green energy transition, the convergence of industry and academic ingenuity in Rotterdam signifies a significant step towards achieving the continent’s ambitious carbon neutrality targets, and fostering a greener, more sustainable future.

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

The U.S. Department of Energy thinks a “marriage” between nuclear energy and clean hydrogen has potential, but for now they are still checking each other out from opposite sides of the dancefloor.

It is a union that to many seems written in the stars. The nuclear industry needs a way to boost its profitability and sees making hydrogen as an attractive option, while the hydrogen sector would like to power its electrolysers via means other than just renewables.

Green hydrogen is made by splitting water with electrolysers powered by renewable energy. When the renewable power is replaced by nuclear, it is called pink hydrogen, but both methods produce clean hydrogen with minimal carbon dioxide emissions.

While renewables are intermittent, producing energy only when the sun shines or the wind blows, nuclear is the opposite; it produces energy constantly as turning nuclear reactors off and on again is expensive.

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How clean hydrogen can make UK the ‘Saudi Arabia’ of wind’

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That means nuclear power stations are often selling electricity into a market when they would rather not, because demand and prices are low, but they don’t have any choice. In some cases, they have tried to mitigate this with pumped hydro, whereby excess electricity is used to push water up hill, releasing it to generate power when prices are higher.

Raghav Khanna, an associate professor of power systems at the University of Toledo, in Ohio, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory, have created a machine-learning model to study the profitability of combined nuclear and hydrogen energy-generation systems, and found a 27% increase in revenue over a period of 120 days.

The U.S. Department of Energy thinks a “marriage” between nuclear energy and clean hydrogen has great potential, but for now they are still checking each other out from opposite sides of the dancefloor.

The heat created by nuclear reactors can reduce the cost of hydrogen production, as it can be fed into solid-oxide steam electrolysers, which are more efficient than conventional ones.

With the UK investing in a new fleet of nuclear reactors, including Hinkley Point C, which is expected to come online in 2028, the potential for bringing nuclear and hydrogen together are significant.

The UK’s Department for Energy Security and Net Zero is already exploring this potential with a £6.1 million grant to Bay Hydrogen Hub, a consortium made up of EDF, Hanson, National Nuclear Laboratory and Vulcan Burners, for decarbonising asphalt and cement production in Lancashire.

A solid oxide electrolyser will be built at Heysham 2 Power Station with the hydrogen then transported to Hanson’s Criggion asphalt plant in North Wales where it will fuel the production of cement and asphalt, replacing a mix of fossil fuels.

Success for the project would represent a good early date for the two technologies. If chemistry develops, some kind of marriage could be on the cards and investment in nuclear-hydrogen technology could really pick up pace.

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

Investors’ eyes are on clean hydrogen. This month, Electric Hydrogen (EH2), a Massachusetts-based electrolyser company, became the sector’s first unicorn following a funding round that took its valuation above $1 billion.

The $380 million Series C round brought its total funding to $600 million, according to data from Crunchbase. Investors in this round include Fortescue, Microsoft’s Climate Innovation Fund, BP and United Airlines.

Electrolysers are central to global ambitions to cut carbon emissions. Green hydrogen is created by passing water through electrolysers powered by renewable electricity and the cost and efficiency of the devices is central to the price of the resulting product.

One of the UK’s most successful hydrogen companies is ITM Power, which makes an advanced type of electrolyser based on proton exchange membrane (PEM) technology.

EH2 also uses PEM technology in its electrolysers and is seeking to benefit from generous subsidies offered by the Biden administration through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), which offers as much as $3 per kg for qualifying green hydrogen.

But while EH2 has been grabbing headlines with its raft of star investors and impressive valuation, it is far from alone in the clean hydrogen sector in attracting investment in recent years.

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How clean hydrogen can make UK the ‘Saudi Arabia’ of wind

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Private equity firms spent $3.1 billion on hydrogen-related companies across 37 deals in 2022 across the US, Europe and Asia, while venture capital invested $2.6 billion, in 192 start-ups, according to Pitchbook data. Since 2014, the number of annual VC hydrogen deals has more than tripled as PE deal count quadrupled.

The US is the world’s biggest economy, so it is probably not surprising that most of the biggest deals were over there. Oregon-based Intersect Power raised $750 million in growth equity last year from TPG, Trilantic North America, Climate Adaptive Infrastructure and others, making it the largest hydrogen PE deal of 2022, according to PitchBook data. Intersect is planning on diversifying from solar power generation and utility-scale battery storage assets into green hydrogen production.

VC-backed Monolith, which says it can split natural gas into pure streams of hydrogen and carbon in a cost-effective manner, raised a $300 million Series D in growth equity led by TPG and Decarbonization Partners.

Beneficiaries of UK hydrogen funding include Ballymena Hydrogen, the production facility being built by Hygen and Wrightbus in Northern Ireland, to support the rollout of zero-emission hydrogen buses.

However, a lot has been happening in Europe as well. In February this year, UK hydrogen power pioneer, GeoPura secured £36 million from VC funds led by GM Ventures the investment arm of General Motors. German electrolyser maker Sunfire raised €86 million in a Series D round last year.

The investment climate for hydrogen has been given a boost by the range of supportive policies being adopted by governments across the world. As well as the IRA, the US made $9.5 billion available for hydrogen, including $8 billion for hydrogen hubs, through the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) in 2021.

The European Commission is creating a $850 million “hydrogen bank” to support investment in the sector, while the UK has created the Hydrogen Business Model, the world’s first hydrogen subsidy scheme, based on the contracts for difference (CfD) mechanism that has been so successful in making the nation a leader in offshore wind. Australia has pledged about A$1.6 billion ($1 billion) to accelerate its hydrogen industry development.

Along with £240 million Net Zero Hydrogen Fund, the UK has been funding promising early-stage hydrogen projects through the £26 million Industrial Hydrogen Accelerator Programme. Run by the Department for Business and Industrial Strategy, it has awarded millions of pounds already to projects aiming to decarbonise industries including asphalt, cement, steel and ceramics.

In December 2022, the government unveiled £25 million of funding for technologies for producing hydrogen from biomass and waste, while a £20 million competition in the Tees Valley to explore how hydrogen can be used to reduce emissions in the transport sector was launched in October 2022.

Beneficiaries of UK hydrogen funding include Ballymena Hydrogen, the production facility being built by Hygen and Wrightbus in Northern Ireland to support the rollout of zero-emission hydrogen buses. The hydrogen produced will be distributed in the area by Ryze Hydrogen.

consortium led by Ryze has also won more than £3 million in government funding to develop mobile refuelling for construction sites. The project has been awarded £3,212,280.99 from the Department for Energy Security & Net Zero’s Red Diesel Replacement Programme.

Helped by support of the government, the UK has become a hub for hydrogen innovation in recent years and is well-placed to take advantage of the boom in interest in the hydrogen economy as the world scrambles to reach its net zero goals.

No wonder the UK hydrogen sector is attracting significant private investment as well.

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

The United Kingdom is one of only a few countries that is capable of producing more hydrogen than it currently consumes in hydrocarbons, creating an opportunity to become both self-sufficient in energy and an exporter.

For the UK to fulfil its potential and become the ‘Saudi Arabia of Wind’ a number of pieces need to fall into place, including a continued decline in the cost of both electrolysers and electricity produced from wind, as well as the right level of government support.

Green hydrogen is produced by splitting water with electrolysers powered by renewable energy. Almost no greenhouse gases are emitted in its production and none when it is consumed in fuel cells to generate power. Even burning it in combustion engines produces no carbon emissions.

Currently, it is more expensive to produce green hydrogen than the grey variety, which is made by steam reforming natural gas to create the same end-product, but releases carbon dioxide in the process.

The cost of producing green hydrogen with offshore wind varies between £2.12/kg and £4.86/kg, with an average cost £3.83/kg, according to calculations from Imperial College London. That compares with a range of £0.8/kg to £2.0/kg for grey hydrogen in 2021 before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent natural gas prices spiralling upwards.

To bridge the gap until prices decline, and generate demand for green hydrogen in the short- and medium-term, government support will be necessary.

For the UK to fulfil its potential and become the ‘Saudi Arabia of Wind’ a number of pieces need to fall into place, including a continued decline in the cost of both electrolysers and electricity produced from wind, as well as the right level of government support.

The UK has vast offshore wind resources. It currently has 14 GW of offshore wind fully commissioned, the second highest figure globally behind China and enough to power more than 10 million homes. The government has a target of 50 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030 and a fully decarbonised grid by 2035.

The waters around the UK have the potential to host up to 140 GW offshore wind capacity by 2050, according to The Crown Estate, which owns it. That compares with total electricity generation capacity of 76.7 GW in 2022. That leaves plenty of room for generating hydrogen from surplus offshore wind capacity.

The cost of offshore wind in the UK has plummeted in recent years due to technological advancements, economies of scale and government held competitive auctions. The first developers to receive government contracts in 2015 were guaranteed prices of above £114/MWh, while in 2022 that had fallen to a record-low £37.35/MWh.

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Hydrogen key to decarbonising India’s steel industry

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And while there was a bump in the road at the UK’s latest renewable energy auction in September, when no new offshore wind capacity was added thanks to soaring inflation, power generated by offshore wind continues to be considerably cheaper than natural gas, which has been around £100/MWh for most of this year after spiking above £500 in 2022.

With bigger turbines and greater scale as other nations develop their offshore wind programs, prices are likely to begin to fall again.

Green hydrogen is a great fit with offshore wind for a number of reasons. It could help overcome a key barrier to the UK’s energy transition: the lengthy backlog for new connections to the grid. Developers are having to wait 6-10 years to connect to regional distribution networks because of constraints on the grid.

By producing hydrogen with the electricity generated by offshore wind and transporting it back to shore through pipelines or ships, grid connection waitlists are be avoided.

Turning wind into hydrogen can also minimise the amount of curtailed wind electricity, where wind turbines are switched off when more power is being generated that can be accepted by the grid. Green hydrogen offers a way to store surplus electricity generation avoiding wind energy from being wasted, while simultaneously reducing our current reliance on fossil fuels for back-up power.

The other major cost for green hydrogen production is electrolysers. However, the capital expenditure of electrolyser systems are expected to fall dramatically in the coming years. The UK government predicts PEM electrolysers, for instance, to halve in price by 2030 and fall a further 20% by 2040.

Turning wind into hydrogen can also minimise the amount of  curtailed wind electricity, where wind turbines are switched off when more power is being generated that can be accepted by the grid.

There have also been a number of major technological breakthroughs in electrolyser technology in recent years that could bring a step change in the cost and efficiency of such systems.

Earlier this year, a team from Korea Institute of Science and Technology’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Research Center announced the development of a technology that can substantially decrease the quantity of precious metals used in electrolysers while maintaining performance and durability.

Around the same time, UK-based Oxford nanoSystems announced that its proprietary coating called nanoFLUX can improve the hydrogen production capacity of alkaline electrolysers by over 50% and could lead to “radically” reduced production costs.

A lot of clean hydrogen is going to be needed if the world has a hope of achieving net zero. The IEA’s Net Zero by 2050 Scenario sees global hydrogen demand increasing almost sixfold from around 90 million tonnes in 2020 to 530 million tonnes in 2050, of which 60% will be met by green hydrogen.

The UK has ambitious targets for low carbon hydrogen production, with the national target of 10 GW by 2030 (at least 50% met by green hydrogen).

If these ambitions are realised, the UK could play a significant role in exporting clean hydrogen to nearby countries such as France, Belgium and the Netherlands, which anticipate the need for considerable hydrogen imports to decarbonise industry.

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Examining different countries’ net-zero challenges and their corresponding actions offers valuable insights for addressing global climate goals. And few countries are more illuminating than India, given its rapidly expanding economy.

According to a report from the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and EY., global clean hydrogen production capacity is anticipated to grow to 21 million metric tonnes per annum (MTPA) by 2030, marking a fivefold expansion compared to the projections made in 2021.

In 2021, global hydrogen demand stood at 94 million tonnes which is projected to double to 185 million tonnes by 2030, aligning with net zero emissions goals.

Within this demand, clean hydrogen, the environmentally friendly iteration, is expected to account for 63 million tonnes. as international calls are being made to accelerate overall progress of the hydrogen industry.

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Clean hydrogen project in Normandy can prevent 250,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions

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The growth certainly appears to be underpinned by a rising number of nations enacting policies to promote investment in hydrogen, and hydrogen-related technologies. The European Union’s efforts to reduce its reliance on Russian gas have also bolstered the trend further.

In March 2022, the European Commission unveiled its ‘REPowerEU’ strategy, designed to broaden the sources of energy imports and boost the use of renewable energy. As part of the initiative, they set an objective to generate 10 million tonnes of green hydrogen by 2030, alongside importing a further 10 mt. To achieve the target Europe needs to add 50GW-60GW of extra electrolyser capacity, to supplement the existing 44GW.

The 2022 Breakthrough Agenda report, jointly published by UN Climate Change High-Level Champions, the International Energy Agency, and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), highlights the need for hydrogen production to achieve near-zero carbon by 2030. Numerous international standards have been established to cap the carbon emissions caused by hydrogen production.

What is clear is that hydrogen is assuming an increasingly crucial role in the decarbonisation of heavy industry, as a clean and sustainable energy source that can mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions in manufacturing operations.

The steel industry in India is responsible for a significant 12% of the country’s total CO2 emissions, emitting 2.55 tonnes of CO2 for every tonne of steel produced, in contrast to the global average of 1.85 tonnes.

In a report titled “India Steel 2023 Amrit Kaal journey: Facilitating the Indian growth story” by Deloitte, it is suggested that hydrogen may offer the solution to India’s decarbonisation challenge in their massive steel industry.

According to the report, the steel industry in India is responsible for a significant 12% of the country’s total CO2 emissions, emitting 2.55 tonnes of CO2 for every tonne of steel produced, in contrast to the global average of 1.85 tonnes.

Given that India’s steel industry presently accounts for around 240 million tonnes of annual carbon emissions, a figure anticipated to double by 2030 considering the Indian government’s infrastructure development goals, it shows the pressing need for steel producers to implement decarbonisation strategies.

The government has pinpointed green hydrogen-based Direct Reduction Iron (DRI) as the most efficient substitute for conventional steelmaking processes that depend on fossil fuels, predominantly coal and natural gas.

Estimates point towards expansion of hydrogen technology hinging on reaching a cost of approximately $1-2 per kilogram, whilst also putting a carbon levy of approximately $50 per tonne of emissions on steel produced using conventional techniques. This would make green steel economically competitive and encourage a transition of up to 150 million tonnes from coal-based to hydrogen-based steel production.

According to Deloitte’s industry experts, substituting hydrogen for fossil fuels in the DRI process has the potential to slash emissions by as much as 90%.

This all aligns with the Indian Government’s National Green Hydrogen Mission, which seeks to leverage the opportunity by supporting the growth of hydrogen infrastructure.

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Clean hydrogen stands as a linchpin in our collective endeavour for the sustainable decarbonisation of industries, offering an unparalleled opportunity to reduce carbon emissions and usher in an era of cleaner, more environmentally responsible production processes.

All this underscores the significance of initiatives such as Normand’Hy.

Siemens Energy has recently announced their commitment to provide 12 electrolysers with a combined capacity of 200 megawatts to the Normand’Hy hydrogen project in Normandy, France.

Commencing operations in 2026, the facility, managed by Air Liquide in the Port-Jérôme industrial zone, will plan to generate 28,000 tons of renewable hydrogen annually, catering to industrial and mobility needs.

To put this into perspective, this quantity of hydrogen could power a hydrogen-fuelled road truck for an astonishing 10,000 zero-carbon around-the-world journeys.

The cutting-edge electrolysers being used in the project represent a crucial step towards a cleaner, more sustainable future for Normandy. By producing low-carbon hydrogen, they not only reduce carbon emissions in the industrial basin but also open doors to eco-friendly mobility solutions, promising a cleaner, greener tomorrow for the region’s residents and businesses.

According to Siemens the project could translate to an annual reduction of up to 250,000 tons of CO2 emissions, a figure that would typically demand the planting of a staggering 25 million trees to sequester the same amount of carbon dioxide. It’s not just a leap forward in sustainability; it’s a powerful reminder of the impact we can make when we harness advanced technology to protect our planet.

When powered with a renewable source of energy, such as wind or solar, an electrolysis plant can produce green hydrogen that can then be used to power industrial processes or heavy transport with zero-carbon emissions.

Siemens’ electrolysers are built upon proton exchange membrane technology (PEM electrolysis), known for its compatibility with intermittent renewable energy sources due to rapid start-up capabilities and dynamic control. The electrolyser’s energy density, compact footprint, and minimal material demands make it a perfect fit for driving the rapid expansion of the hydrogen industry.

The Normand’Hy project will start to receive electrolysers from Siemens new factory in Berlin, where they’ll start by making the core components called “stacks” in November. And by 2025, they plan to produce at least three gigawatts of these stacks every year, to support hydrogen projects worldwide.

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Scotland’s hydrogen export strategy is no pipe dream

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While these initial projects mark significant progress towards a greener industrial landscape, they must serve as catalysts for a broader movement. The successful development of a European hydrogen economy, and indeed any hydrogen-driven transformation worldwide, hinges on the commitment of policymakers to provide the necessary support.

Moreover, simplifying the often-intricate approval procedures for large-scale hydrogen initiatives will not only expedite their implementation but also foster innovation and investment, ultimately driving the transition towards a more sustainable industrial future.

In the U.K it has recently been announced that British company Hygen, in partnership with N-Gen, are working together to deliver a state-of-the-art low carbon hydrogen production facility in east Bradford.

Upon completion, the facility will include a production unit for generating hydrogen from low-carbon energy sources, as well as a refuelling station for both hydrogen and electric vehicles, serving local buses, public transportation, and private sector fleets.

The refuelling facility could become the UK’s inaugural dual-energy Zero Carbon refuelling station, accommodating both Battery Electric and Hydrogen Electric vehicles, offering substantial advantages to the residents of Bradford and the surrounding region.

One thing is certain: hydrogen holds the key to a cleaner, greener future for worldwide industrial decarbonisation.

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With some of the strongest wind speeds in Europe, Scotland has the potential to be one of the continent’s biggest producers of clean hydrogen.

To get that hydrogen to buyers in Germany and beyond, Aberdeen’s Net Zero Technology Centre (NZTC) last month proposed the building of a new pipeline that would carry the clean fuel from Scotland to Europe.

Europe is set to be a huge consumer of hydrogen as it seeks to decarbonise its heavy industry, transport and energy sectors and while Germany and other industrial centres in the European Union are able to produce hydrogen themselves, it needs to import a lot as well.

Germany updated its hydrogen strategy over the summer, stating that it will have to import up to 70% of its hydrogen demand in the future as it aims to achieve carbon-neutrality by 2045.

Europe is set to be a huge consumer of hydrogen as it seeks to decarbonise its heavy industry, transport and energy sectors and while Germany and other industrial centres in the European Union are able to produce hydrogen themselves, it needs to import a lot as well.

Meanwhile, Scotland has the potential to produce more renewable electricity than it needs. While its economy is about 1.2% the size of the Europe Union, its offshore wind potential is between 4% and 6% of Europe’s total.

The Hydrogen Backbone Link would pipe hydrogen produced from Scotland’s rapidly expanding fleet of offshore wind farms to Germany. Green hydrogen is created by splitting water with electrolysers powered by renewable energy.

The project could be transformative for Scotland’s economy as it prepares for a world without hydrocarbons and it can no rely on revenue from its oil and gas industry.

The NZTC believes the pipeline could supply as much as 10% of Europe’s projected hydrogen imports by the mid-2030s. Europe is expected to need about 333 TWh of hydrogen a year by 2030, rising to 1000 TWh a year by 2050.

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The project could also create 700 direct jobs in Scotland in the next decade as well as supporting thousands more by helping to develop the hydrogen economy.

“I think you could unlock the whole hydrogen economy [via the pipeline],” Roy Stenhouse, chief impact officer at NZTC told the Financial Times recently. “Everyone is looking for a home for their hydrogen [production] projects.”

Other European hydrogen pipeline projects include H2Med, which will carry 2 million metric tonnes hydrogen produced in Spain and Portugal to France and Germany. The 140 km H2 Interconnector between the Danish island of Bornholm and Lubmin in north-east Germany, is expected to be operational by 2027, while a separate pipeline between Norway and Germany is aiming for completion by 2030.

A proposed Hydrogen Backbone Link would pipe hydrogen produced from Scotland’s rapidly expanding fleet of offshore wind farms to Germany. Green hydrogen is created by splitting water with electrolysers powered by renewable energy.

The Hydrogen Backbone Link is not just a pipe dream; it has attracted investment from the serious players including Shell and EnQuest, while the Scottish government has also pledged £3.2m to the project through 2025. To complete, it is estimated the Hydrogen Backbone Link will cost about £2.7bn.

Some of the cheapest green hydrogen is expected to be produced in placed like Brazil and Saudi Arabia where abundant solar resources mean electrolysers can be powered by some of the cheapest renewable energy on the planet. However, transporting hydrogen over long distances is expensive due to the need to liquefy it by chilling it to super low temperatures and reverse the process at the other end, or by converting it to ammonia and back again.

Shippers may be charged 32 pence per kg to use the pipeline, according to analysts at Wood Mackenzie, making it competitive with hydrogen produced for less but with higher transport costs.

The Scottish government is investing heavily in clean hydrogen – in December 2022, it released its Hydrogen Action Plan with a plan to build 5 GW of clean hydrogen capacity by 2030 (half of the UK’s 10 GW total) and 25 GW by 2045 when it foresees achieving net zero as an economy.

“Our priority is to get as much renewable hydrogen into the energy system as quickly as possible, while also supporting the establishment of low-carbon hydrogen production at scale in the 2020s, linked to carbon capture and storage (CCS),” Michael Matheson, Scotland’s energy secretary said in the action plan’s launch document.

In 2022, Scotland awarded leases to 20 offshore wind projects with a combined capacity of 27.6 GW. Added to previous projects, it has a total pipeline of more than 40 GW, one of the largest in the world.

Many of those projects have already indicated they plan to produce hydrogen as part of their plans, whether at sea, to be piped back to shore using existing natural gas infrastructure, or on the mainland.

Clean hydrogen could provide Scotland with “greatest industrial opportunity since oil and gas,” Matheson said.

The Hydrogen Backbone Link could be a landmark project for the development of the hydrogen economy in Europe, providing cost-effective hydrogen to the continent’s industrial centres while spurring a boom in hydrogen investment in the UK.

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Hydrogen-powered motorsport has the potential to galvanise a global audience and drive environmental awareness like never before.

The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and Extreme E have entered a Memorandum of Understanding outlining the structure for the world’s inaugural hydrogen-powered off-road racing championship.

The document represents a significant step for the hydrogen-based racing series, to attain FIA Championship status starting from its debut season in 2025, and World Championship status by 2026, subject to meeting the necessary criteria.

Furthermore, the outlined pathway specifies that in 2024, Extreme E, presently categorised as an International Series, will itself become an official FIA Championship.

Extreme H is set to join an exclusive group of only seven officially recognised championships, a list that includes the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship. The trajectory signifies the series’ remarkable evolution since its inception in 2021 and underscores its commitment to expanding into a hydrogen-powered era.

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Significant progress is now being made, with advanced plans for unveiling an Extreme H prototype later this year in preparation for its season in 2025.

Founder and CEO of Extreme E, Alejandro Agag, said: “What started as a conversation many years ago about racing in extreme environments, showcasing the incredible performance and innovation of E-SUVs, has now demonstrated enormous growth and further pioneering technical advances as we move forward with the transition to hydrogen and Extreme H – a world-first.”

Hydrogen as a zero-carbon power source for multiple transportation use cases has many benefits. Unlike batteries a hydrogen vehicle can be refuelled in the same way as a fossil fuel vehicle and takes the same time. Then the distance travelled on hydrogen is also similar to the distances achievable on a tank of fossil fuel. Unlike battery electric vehicles with diminished distances and re-charge times there is little change in human behaviour required with a hydrogen vehicle.

Hydrogen-powered motorsport has the potential to galvanise a global audience and drive environmental awareness like never before.

Creating a pioneering hydrogen-powered racing world championship will mark a significant and historic achievement for both Extreme E and the emerging Extreme H series. The MOU demonstrates a commitment to delivering sustainable motorsport championships that are full of excitement, whilst, crucially, having a reduced carbon footprint.

President of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, Mohammed Ben Sulayem said: “We are excited to continue working with Extreme E on their journey to becoming an FIA World Championship. Using sustainable power sources in motor sport is the key objective of the FIA and part of our long-term strategy, and this series is an ideal showcase for that. Hydrogen is an important part of that mix, and we have developed a set of safety regulations for hydrogen-powered vehicles which is part of the FIA’s International Sporting Code.”

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U.K. industry titan Johnson Matthey: full steam ahead with hydrogen in China

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It is certainly a powerful message for a prominent motorsport organisation like Extreme E, known for its impressive roster of teams, to be recognising the potential of hydrogen technology. Alongside a robust commitment to promoting equality and diversity, the company is also actively striving to ensure motorsport becomes accessible to a broader audience.

Extreme E features an iconic list of figures from the world of motorsport, including team owners such as Sir Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg, and Jenson Button, as well as renowned racing powerhouses like McLaren, Andretti, and Chip Ganassi. A little over two years ago, since it began, the series has drawn in world champions from various racing disciplines, proving its standing as a premier motorsport championship.

It will soon be the turn of Extreme H to start attracting the big names and sponsors, and by showcasing hydrogen technology’s decarbonisation capabilities on the racetrack, it can inspire people worldwide to embrace more eco-conscious choices in their daily lives.

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

new report has highlighted that the projected timeline for executing several of the EU’s major hydrogen projects could be no less than eight years, with the possibility of going beyond 10 years. It claims that the situation requires an entirely revised approach in order to bring the EU’s net zero objectives back within reach.

Worley, with their worldwide team of consultants, engineers, construction workers and data scientists, collaborating with experts from Princeton University’s Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment, have together created a comprehensive strategy for advancing net zero and the renewable hydrogen industry.

“From Ambition To Reality 3 – steps to accelerate net zero delivery” is the new paper in which the recommendations have been made.

The paper has been released as part of a series focused on investigating the complexities of delivering the infrastructure required to achieve net-zero emissions by the mid-century. It highlights several key discoveries, such as a requirement for a four-fold annual increase in offshore wind capacity and a 35% rise in desalination capacity by 2030.

The new report highlights several key discoveries, such as a requirement for a four-fold annual increase in offshore wind capacity and a 35% rise in desalination capacity by 2030 in order to help achieve net zero targets.

Additionally, the report states the need for an eight-to-12-fold expansion in worldwide electrolyser manufacturing capacity.

According to the group these measures are essential to fulfil the EU’s objective of achieving renewable hydrogen production of 10 million tonnes per year by 2030.

The group observes that conventional delivery approaches will prove inadequate to provide the infrastructure required, putting the EU’s production goal in jeopardy.

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A possible technology portfolio plan is included in the report as an example of the immensely challenging scale of the task at hand. It aims to translate the EU’s ambition of 10 MTPA by 2030 into “technology deployment terms, and includes: 

A possible technology portfolio plan is included in the report as an example of the immensely challenging scale of the task at hand. It aims to translate the EU’s ambition of 10 MTPA by 2030 into “technology deployment terms, and includes:

– 39,000 MW PEM Electrolysers
– 1.6 million tonnes of aboveground H2 storage
– 5 million tons strategic reserve H2 storage
– 36,631 MW/91 Two of onshore storage
– 109,893 MW/404 TWh Offshore wind storage
– 36,631 MW / 55 Two of Solar
– 109 GWs of new grid capacity requiring connection to the transmission grid
– 28,000 km of H2 pipelines
– 107,166 million litres per annum of demineralised water, and 535,830 million litres per annum of seawater

“We know that the desire to deliver on net zero is strong across the industry, but that needs to be backed up by a pragmatic plan to get there.

The EU Renewable H2 Initiative Plan provides a guide for infrastructure participants, outlining tangible steps to drive the necessary transformation to meet the scale and pace required for mid-century net zero.” said Sue Brown, Executive Group Director at Worley.

By embracing this plan on a wide scale among infrastructure stakeholders, the report says delivery timelines could potentially be shortened by 40%, while upholding a prudent investment approach. In conclusion it highlights the importance for the region that this delivery model is embraced extensively by 2030, in order to achieve its net-zero objectives.

According to the report the EU’s targets require commercial operation dates (CoDs) for 25 projects, each at a capacity of 3GW, by 2030.

Further details of various initiatives include government support for demand assurance and simplifying permitting procedures, promoting standardisation within the hydrogen sector, and facilitating widespread exchange of industry insights and best practices.

Paul Ebert, Group Director Sustainability Leadership at Worley said “Worley and Princeton researchers are championing the change needed to accelerate the path to net zero and challenge other industry participants to work with us to turn ambition into reality.”

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Several robust British companies are blazing trails in the rapidly growing hydrogen industry, and one of the more prominent is titan Johnson Matthey.

By the close of 2021, Johnson Matthey, a key global leader in sustainable technologies, was actively engaged in the process of commercialising its line of high-nickel cathode materials, primarily aimed at the automotive sector.

Following a comprehensive assessment and in anticipation of reaching crucial investment milestones, they determined that the potential returns from their Battery Materials division wouldn’t be sufficient to warrant further financial commitment and decided to focus its attentions elsewhere.

Since then, London headquartered Johnson Matthey has been making impressive strides in its other areas of growth, namely hydrogen technologies, circular practices, and the reduction of carbon emissions within the chemicals value chain. In a world that is increasingly seeking solutions to confront the challenges posed by climate change, the company is now expediting these opportunities with intensified focus and increased investment.

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So it came as little surprise when Johnson Matthey recently entered into an investment agreement with the Jiading District in Shanghai to accelerate the growth of the hydrogen economy in China.

Hydrogen is poised to play a pivotal role in China’s roadmap to carbon neutrality by 2060. According to the IEA’s Announced Pledges Scenario (APS), the demand for hydrogen might experience a surge of over three times by 2060, as China strives to fulfill its climate objectives.

During a signing ceremony Johnson Matthey and the Shanghai Jiading District unveiled their intentions to establish a new facility for producing catalyst-coated membranes (CCMs). This facility will cater to various proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell applications and PEM electrolysers.

Spanning across 22,000 square meters in Shanghai’s Jiading district, within a designated Hydrogen industrial zone, the facility is projected to have an initial capacity of up to 5 gigawatts (GW). It is slated for operational status by 2025 and will be adaptable for expansion in alignment with customer demand.

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Dr Mark Su, President of Greater China at Johnson Matthey, said: “This is a landmark investment for our business as we build our footprint in the US, Europe and now China, cementing our presence in all three major hydrogen markets. We are excited to expand our businesses whilst creating and scaling the low carbon solutions that will help China achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.”

Funded by customer requirements, this investment aligns with Johnson Matthey’s £1.1 billion global capital expenditure plan for the three years leading up to 2024/25. It will encompass governmental support and incentives.

This new production facility will empower Johnson Matthey to serve both existing Chinese and international clientele with domestically manufactured CCMs. Furthermore, there exists a robust lineup of potential customers interested in fuel cell and renewable (green) hydrogen technologies.

Ms. Gao Xiang, Mayor of Jiading District, said: “Jiading District is a famous international automobile city and one of the earliest areas in China to develop a hydrogen industry. With the help of companies like Johnson Matthey, we are able to actively build a hydrogen technologies innovation hub and a national fuel cell vehicle demonstration city. This investment agreement plays to both parties’ strengths and is a win-win cooperation.”

Catalyst-coated membranes (CCMs) stand as pivotal components defining the performance of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). China has articulated ambitions of having 1 million hydrogen-powered vehicles on its roads by 2030.

With a substantial history in China, Johnson Matthey operates six state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities within the country. It holds a prominent position as a producer of auto catalysts and platinum group metals, while being a significant player in syngas and hydrogen fuel cells. The company was the first entity to undertake commercial-scale membrane electrode assembly (MEA) production in China, fabricating MEAs for hydrogen fuel cell shuttle buses showcased during the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022.

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

The UK has a long history of engineering excellence and is home to some of the pioneers of the clean hydrogen revolution.

The most common method for producing clean hydrogen is by splitting water into its constituent parts with an electrolyser powered by renewable energy. Not only do the inputs use very little carbon but the green hydrogen that is produced emits no carbon dioxide when burned or used in a fuel cell.

There are other ways of making hydrogen that actually remove greenhouse gas emissions from the industrial supply chain by turning waste that would otherwise go to landfill into the clean fuel. Some of the leaders in this field are also from the UK.

Then there are companies that are pioneering the use of clean hydrogen to make our environment cleaner and helping in the fight against climate change.

Atome Energy produces green hydrogen and green ammonia and has 350-MW projects in Paraguay, Iceland, and Central America. The Leeds-based company launched Atome Mobility in February 2022 aimed at providing clean energy for heavy road transport and shipping.

In May 2023, global energy services company Baker Hughes became a partner and an investor. In the same month, Atome announced that it is expanding its Villeta project in Paraguay to include green fertiliser production, which is made by combining green hydrogen with nitrogen.

JCB is a global leader in plant equipment and in recent years has pioneered the development of hydrogen internal combustion engines as it prepares for a low-carbon future for its products. In May 2021, it unveiled its first prototype hydrogen-fuelled piston engine and six months later announced an increase in the number of engineers working on the development of its hydrogen engines from 100 to 150 and a plan to invest £100 million in the technology.

Powerhouse Energy Group has developed technology that turns plastic waste into useful products including hydrogen by heating it to a temperature at which it turns into a gas. The West Yorkshire-based company is developing its first hydrogen generating plant at the Peel Plastic Park near Ellesmere Port in the northwest of England.

It has also licensed its technology to Hydrogen Utopia, which is seeking to develop a project in Poland – the EU Konin Project – turning un-recyclable plastic into hydrogen for buses and other captive fleets. Hydrogen Utopia recently hired WS Atkins as consultant for its proposed waste plastic to hydrogen facility in County Longford, Ireland.

AFC Energy specialises in hydrogen fuel cells and converting hydrogen carriers such as ammonia and methanol into clean, off-grid power solutions. The Cranleigh, Surrey-based company is focused on displacing diesel generators at off-grid locations.

In a UK-first, AFC Energy has worked with construction company Keltbray to charge its on-site electric vehicles with hydrogen-powered generators. The company also recently announced a joint venture with equipment hire group Speedy Hire to launch dedicated hydrogen powered generator plant hire business using AFC’s H-Power generators.

Ryze Hydrogen supplies clean hydrogen and hydrogen infrastructure for transport, industry and other applications, providing complete solutions including hydrogen sourcing, transport, distribution and infrastructure.

Eqtec is a bioscience energy company focused on turning waste materials into renewable resources like natural gas, hydrogen, ethanol, and methanol. Similar to Hydrogen Utopia, Eqtec uses gasification to produce hydrogen.

The London-listed company has gasification projects across Europe and one under construction in the US. Eqtec has projects in Its Southport and North Wales with anaerobic digestion specialist Anaergia and in July 2023 signed an agreement with Domi Ost to undertake projects in Ireland.

JCB is a global leader in plant equipment and in recent years has pioneered the development of hydrogen internal combustion engines as it prepares for a low-carbon future for its products. In May 2021, it unveiled its first prototype hydrogen-fuelled piston engine and six months later announced an increase in the number of engineers working on the development of its hydrogen engines from 100 to 150 and a plan to invest £100 million in the technology.

Last year, it unveiled the world’s first mobile site hydrogen refueller for its hydrogen-powered backhoe loaders and telehandlers and inn 2023 has

Wrightbus launched its first zero-emission hydrogen bus – the Streetdeck Hydroliner – in 2020 in Aberdeen, with the fleet entering passenger service in January 2021. The Hydroliner bus emits only water from its tailpipe, with no harmful emissions.

Wrightbus launched its first zero-emission hydrogen bus – the Streetdeck Hydroliner – in 2020 in Aberdeen, with the fleet entering passenger service in January 2021. The Hydroliner bus emits only water from its tailpipe, with no harmful emissions.

Earlier this year, hydrogen buses built by the Northern Ireland-based firm completed 3 million miles on the roads, preventing a 5,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions entering the atmosphere compared to journeys made by an equivalent diesel bus.

Ryze Hydrogen supplies clean hydrogen and hydrogen infrastructure for transport, industry and other applications, providing complete solutions including hydrogen sourcing, transport, distribution and infrastructure.

The Oxford-based company is developing hydrogen projects with heavyweight partners including Northern Gas Networks and Centrica. Ryze’s Bradford hydrogen production project with NGN has been shortlisted for government funding.

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

The UK government is set to begin its second hydrogen allocation round later this year with plans to award contracts for up to 750 MW of projects in 2025 as the nation seeks to boost production of cost-competitive green hydrogen.

The first allocation round took place in July 2022 and in March this year, the government published a shortlist of 20 electrolytic hydrogen projects totalling 408 MW. It is expected to award contracts to about 250 MW of capacity in the fourth quarter of 2023, with first projects becoming operational in 2025.

“We also intend to launch the second hydrogen allocation round (HAR2) later this year, with the aim to award contracts of up to 750 MW in 2025, subject to affordability and value for money,” the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero said in an updated hydrogen strategy document published on Aug. 2.

The government is also soon to publish the Low Carbon Hydrogen Agreement (LCHA) for the first round of projects, it said. The LCHA is the all-important mechanism through which price support is provided via Contracts for Difference (CFD).

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In October 2021, the government said that it would provide up to £100 million in CFDs for as much as 250 MW of electrolytic projects in 2023. That level of funding would provide a subsidy of £1/kg of hydrogen at a production rate of 10,000 mt/year (equivalent to 65 MW-75 MW electrolysis) over 10 years, according to calculations by S&P Global.

The second round will support three times as much hydrogen production as the first, bringing the cumulative total to 1GW.

After the second hydrogen allocation round, the government is planning to transition to annual, price-based competitive allocation by 2025 for electrolytic projects, and potentially other specified non-carbon capture hydrogen production technologies, it said.

The government has set a target of 10 GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030, at least half of which must come from electrolytic hydrogen. In the short-term, it aims to have 1 GW of electrolytic hydrogen and 1 GW of carbon capture-enabled blue hydrogen in operation or construction by 2025.

The UK has been at the forefront of promoting hydrogen as a potential energy source, particularly for its potential role in achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The UK was the first country in the world to launch a hydrogen support scheme but has since come under pressure to match generous subsidies elsewhere, particularly the US, where the Inflation Reduction Act offers as much as $3/kg for green hydrogen production.

The updated hydrogen strategy document included plans to publish consultations later this year on hydrogen blending, and on design options for the hydrogen-to-power market, the development of a hydrogen production delivery roadmap, and design of transport and storage business models.

The government said it favours a so-called regulated asset base model combined with some form of revenue support for hydrogen transport. For storage, it favours a model including a minimum revenue floor to provide investor certainty.

We will continue to monitor developments as the UK puts the regulatory framework into place for the hydrogen economy.

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

SSE has completed a four-week trial of a First Hydrogen fuel cell van as it looks at options to decarbonise parts of its fleet that are not suitable for battery electric vehicles.

The 3.5-tonne prototype van was used by staff at SSE’s Aberdeen site, which is opposite a hydrogen refuelling station. While the Rivus trial was conducted in urban areas with largely flat routes, this time the vans had to tackle longer journeys and higher speeds as well as lower mileage city routes.

The routes around Aberdeen were hilly, and the journeys carried out in a variety of warm and cold weather and on various road surfaces with an assortment of full and partial loads.

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“We don’t have anything for the Transit van size that can meet zero emissions and is suitable to undertake some of the duty cycles we are running in operational areas such as Aberdeen,” said Simon Gray, SSE head of fleet services, who has overseen the transition of 40% of the company’s 3,000-strong fleet to battery electric.

The trial provided both SSE and First Hydrogen with data about performance under a variety of payloads, refuelling times, downtime and driving distances. It was the first time that the First Hydrogen vans were used by a company carrying out a daily work schedule.

SSE begins van trial around Aberdeen to test hydrogen-fuel cell delivery and logistics.

Some of the results were surprising, with fuel efficiency exceeding expectations, particularly on the higher speed, longer distance journeys. Across all routes with a nearly full load, hydrogen consumption was 1.58kg/100km, giving the vehicles a range of 630km (392 miles), higher than the 373-mile pre-demo testbed figures. On longer routes, efficiency peaked above 400 miles.

For a couple of weeks of the trial, the hydrogen refuelling sites in Aberdeen were being refurbished and could only deliver half the usual pressure, but still managed to complete daily cycles of 217 miles with just 5 kg of hydrogen.

“The feedback from drivers has been really good,” said Scott Bell, regional fleet, FM and logistics manager at SSE. “They are pleased with the way it drives – it’s smooth and responsive – and they are getting very similar range to a diesel van, even with a full load. They were surprised by both how quiet the van is and how quick it is to refuel.”

Range was also aided by the battery in the vehicle, which maintained its charge during most of SSE’s urban journeys through regenerative braking. Overall, the trial impressed SSE enough that it has agreed to take the van back at the end of the year for winter testing.

“There is definitely a case for hydrogen in 3.5-tonne vans upwards,” said Simon Gray, SSE head of fleet services. “We are a specialist fleet with heavy loads and a range of routes. We still have stormy weather that challenges us, and, in some areas, our drivers are out for two-to-three weeks fixing equipment. This is where hydrogen has a future.”

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The utility is the second British company to test a First Hydrogen van after fleet manager Rivus Group undertook a trial in May.

First Hydrogen’s next UK trial will take place in September with an as-yet unnamed parcel delivery company, followed by one with a major global fleet.

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

What if manufacturing plastics was carbon negative? Thanks to clean hydrogen that is exactly what could happen.

Abu Dhabi clean energy pioneer Masdar, Japan’s Mitsubishi Chemical Group Corporation and INPEX last week agreed to explore production of the world’s first commercial-scale polypropylene made from carbon dioxide and green hydrogen.

Polypropylene is a commonly used plastic used to manufacture items such as bottles, jars and food packaging. Invented in the early 1950s, it is one of the most widely used plastics in the world today. In 2022, 79 million metric tons of polypropylene were produced, a figure that is expected to reach 105 million metric tons by 2030.

There are several ways of making polypropylene through traditional methods, but they all begin with crude oil.

Polypropylene (PP), also known as polypropene, is a thermoplastic polymer used in a wide variety of applications. It is produced via chain-growth polymerization from the monomer propylene.

Masdar, Mitsubishi Chemical and INPEX plan to make polypropylene from e-methanol, which itself is made from green hydrogen and carbon dioxide. Green hydrogen is produced by using renewable energy to split water with electrolysers.

E-methanol is generally used as a fuel, meaning that the CO2 is returned to the atmosphere when it is burned. While it remains a carbon neutral fuel because it releases the same amount of CO2 as it takes to produce, by locking it up in a plastic like polypropylene, the CO2 is sequestered away from the atmosphere, making the product carbon negative.

In 2021, the chemical industry’s global emissions totalled approximately 925 million metric tons of CO2, accounting for around 2% of emissions globally. As hydrocarbon fuels such as petrol and diesel are phased out, many oil and gas companies are hoping maintain demand for their products from the chemicals industry.

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“The chemical industry is now faced with the dual challenge of reducing its GHG emissions, while actively participating and leading the transition to a carbon neutral economy,” said Mitsubishi Chemical Group’s CEO, Jean-Marc Gilson. “With that focus in mind, our ambition to use CO2 as a key starting raw material is a very important stepping stone towards a sustainable future.”

The benefits of producing plastics from clean hydrogen and CO2 are given a further boost by the progress that is being made in creating hydrogen from plastics. The UK’s Powerhouse Energy is among a number of global companies that have developed technology to turn unrecyclable waste, including plastics, into syngas to produce hydrogen, electricity and chemical inputs.

Plastics made from renewable hydrogen that are then turned back into hydrogen. Now that’s the circular economy at work.

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

Hydrogen projects scooped up more than half of the €3.6bn on offer from the EU’s Innovation Fund with projects focused on green hydrogen production, green methanol and ammonia, and electrolyser and fuel-cell manufacturing all securing funds.

The investments pave the way for further advancements across the hydrogen supply chain, as the EU fosters clean energy technologies that have the potential to revolutionise numerous sectors, reduce carbon emissions, and promote a more environmentally friendly global economy.

It is the third time the EU has run a call for grants for the Innovation Fund. The four categories were general decarbonisation, innovative electrification or hydrogen in industry, clean tech manufacturing, and mid-size pilots for technologies not yet ready for commercialisation.

Hydrogen scooped up all 13 grants in electrification or hydrogen in industry category, worth almost €1.2bn in total; four of the 11 grants in the €800m clean tech manufacturing category went to electrolyser or fuel cell projects; three of the eight grants in the €1.4bn general decarbonisation category also went to hydrogen projects.

Last month, the UK government unveiled the 13 projects to receive more than £50 million of grants to switch from hydrocarbons to cleaner fuels to power their industrial processes. Witnessing sizeable levels of hydrogen investment next door in the EU tells us that Europe as a whole is on the right track.

The full list of winners can be found here, but some of the most significant include H2 Green Steel, a hydrogen-based green steel project in northern Sweden powered by 700 MW of electrolyser capacity, the largest in Europe. Green H2 Atlantic aims to demonstrate a 96 MW pressurised alkaline electrolysis system at a decommissioned coal power plant in Portugal.

electroMethanol-Rhône will produce e-methanol using renewable hydrogen production and carbon capture and utilisation. The green hydrogen will be produced using an electrolyser powered by renewable energy, while the CO2 will be captured from a cement plant using Cryocap technology.

FFI Holmaneset Green Ammonia Production in Norway will use a 300 MW electrolyser powered by surplus renewable energy from the grid. Australia’s Fortescue Future Industries signed a power-purchase agreement In March with Statkraft.

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BioOstrand aims to design, build and operate the world’s first large-scale biorefinery to produce renewable Sustainable Aviation Fuels (SAF) and naphtha. In order to increase the hydrocarbon yield, green hydrogen is added to the process, facilitating a more efficient use of the feedstock, by turning more carbon atoms into final product.

H2Sines.Rdam plans to demonstrate the potential of using liquid hydrogen to transport renewable energy from Portugal to the Netherlands via ship. Due to the abundant solar energy in Portugal, cheap H2 can be produced that will be consumed by hard to decarbonise industries in the Netherlands.

The station’s solar panels cover the fields of the Portuguese hills to generate clean, ecological electrical energy. H2Sines.Rdam plans to demonstrate the potential of using liquid hydrogen to transport renewable energy from Portugal to the Netherlands via ship.

The Topsoe SOEC Stack Module Factory will use its funds to build and operate a factory producing innovative solid oxide electrolyser cell (SOEC) stack modules used for electrolysis in green hydrogen production. A final investment decision has already been taken on a 500 MW factory in Denmark.

Last month, the UK government unveiled the 13 projects to receive more than £50 million of grants to switch from hydrocarbons to cleaner fuels to power their industrial processes. Witnessing sizeable levels of hydrogen investment next door in the EU tells us that Europe as a whole is on the right track.

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

In a bid to boost the UK as a frontrunner in renewable hydrogen technologies, a recently established organisation is urging the government to secure a strategic advantage.

The Green Hydrogen Alliance (GHA), a collaborative trade body comprising companies from various sectors within the emerging hydrogen industry, has been unveiled.

The primary objective is to solidify the UK’s global leadership in the research, innovation, and widespread adoption of renewable hydrogen.

The collective effort will enable the sharing of knowledge, expertise, and resources, to accelerate development and technological advancements. The nascent but growing hydrogen economy in the UK is already demonstrating its potential to boost economic growth, create job opportunities, and position the country as a frontrunner in the transition to a sustainable and low-carbon future.

The Green Hydrogen Alliance (GHA) is the collaboration of companies spanning the entire hydrogen supply chain. Notable participants include Airbus, Air Products, Associated British Ports, Tata Steel, and World Kinect. The GHA also benefits from an advisory board comprising esteemed institutions such as Cranfield University and the Thames Estuary Growth Board. Together, they form a diverse coalition.

Industry was responsible for approximately a quarter of global emissions 2021, and its decarbonisation with hydrogen is a focus for the newly formed Green Hydrogen Alliance, along with transport.

The primary objective is to push the substantial opportunities presented by hydrogen energy in key sectors of the UK’s economy, including aviation, road haulage, heavy industry, and power generation.

By highlighting the benefits of hydrogen, the alliance aims to promote its adoption, whilst investigating any initiatives that can help speed up its commercial feasibility.

The newly formed organisation has commended the government’s ambitious goal of achieving 5GW of electrolytic or green hydrogen production capacity by 2030. However, it has also emphasised the need for faster and more comprehensive policy measures to fully unlock the extensive benefits that hydrogen can offer.

To support the growth of green hydrogen, the government has allocated direct funding to several pilot projects and is actively developing new “business models.” These models aim to offer long-term contracts to low carbon hydrogen producers, which industry developers argue are essential for scaling up the nascent sector.

However, concerns have been raised as Ministers have not yet finalised the policy framework for the industry. This uncertainty has sparked fears that hydrogen developers might seek opportunities in the US and EU, where subsidies are already available, potentially resulting in a migration of talent and investment to those markets.

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The GHA is urging the UK government to expedite the development of a robust policy framework that encourages investment in hydrogen production capacity. Failure to do so could result in the UK lagging behind global competitors like Germany and the Netherlands, who have recently outlined strategies to accelerate their own green hydrogen technologies.

Furthermore, the newly established trade body aims to emphasise the vital role of green hydrogen in achieving net-zero emissions. Through the decarbonisation of heavy industry and transportation, as well as providing energy storage and grid balancing services, hydrogen can contribute significantly to a sustainable transition.

The Green Hydrogen Alliance (GHA), a collaborative trade body comprising companies from various sectors within the emerging hydrogen industry, has been unveiled. The primary objective is to solidify the UK’s global leadership in the research, innovation, and widespread adoption of renewable hydrogen.

Included in the results of a recent report investigating the feasibility of zero-emissions aviation, the alliance is highlighting further hydrogen promise. According to the report, with adequate aircraft production capacity, green fuel production, and infrastructure, the entire regional aviation fleet in the UK could potentially be replaced with certified, safe, and zero-emission carbon aircraft by 2040. This demonstrates the potential for a significant shift toward sustainable air travel if the necessary conditions are met.

The alliance has expressed its intention to conduct a comprehensive analysis aimed at identifying any barriers that may hinder the UK from becoming a true global leader in hydrogen; a technology capable of supporting carbon reduction targets, enhancing energy security, and generating numerous renewable energy jobs nationwide.

Emphasising its non-partisan nature, the alliance has affirmed its commitment to collaborating with the government, political parties, civil servants, and industry groups.

A spokesperson for GHA said “Green hydrogen could provide a secure supply of green energy while also helping the UK in its efforts to decarbonise. We look forward to working with policymakers to ensure the country can fulfil its potential in this exciting developing technology.”

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

While hydrogen’s value as a transport fuel tends to attract much of the media’s attention, it is also helping a wide array of industries, making everything from breakfast cereals to teacups and glassware, to decarbonise.

The UK government last week unveiled the 13 projects to receive more than £50 million of grants to switch from hydrocarbons to cleaner fuels to power their industrial processes. Seven of the winners have been awarded almost £20 million to replace natural gas and other carbon dioxide emitting fuels with clean-burning hydrogen.

The biggest grant of almost £6 million was awarded to the British Ceramic Confederation, which intend to deliver the first-ever demonstrations of 100% hydrogen firing technologies for the two main types of kiln (batch and continuous / tunnel) that are used prominently across the more than 150 manufacturing sites of the British Ceramic Confederation’s 90 member companies.

A bespoke hydrogen pilot kiln will be hosted at Glass Futures, an industry not for profit R&D organisation, and hydrogen trials will also be carried out on commercial industrial kilns at three British Ceramic Confederation member sites.

The project aims to provide an important route to help decarbonise the UK ceramic sector by 2040. The hydrogen being used at Glass Futures’ site will be supplied by Ryze Hydrogen.

A grant of almost £6 million has been awarded to the British Ceramic Confederation, which intend to deliver the first-ever demonstrations of 100% hydrogen firing technologies for the two main types of kiln (batch and continuous / tunnel) that are used prominently across the more than 150 manufacturing sites of the British Ceramic Confederation’s 90 member companies.

Another important British industry looking to hydrogen to help it decarbonise is paper manufacturing. Essity will receive a £2.2 million grant to replace natural gas with clean hydrogen in the drying phase of paper production.

Because hydrogen can deliver large quantities of high-grade heat in a similar manner to natural gas, it offers the potential to replace its hydrocarbon cousin without fundamental process changes, while dramatically reducing the emissions associated with Essity’s operations.

Essity is working with Progressive Energy on the project at Essity Tawd in Skelmersdale using live manufacturing equipment.

While it is the activities of humans while alive that create the majority of man-made carbon in the atmosphere, we are even responsible for the creation of planet-warming emissions following our deaths.

In the UK, 79% of people are cremated and 99% of the nation’s 300 crematoria use natural gas. The cremation of roughly 470,000 people each year produces nearly 70,000 tonnes of CO2 a year.

HyCrem has been awarded £1.2 million to change that by switching a working crematorium entirely to hydrogen. Worthing Crematorium in West Sussex is the UK’s third busiest crematorium and last year burned 2.3GWh of natural gas, creating 425 tonnes of CO2 in the process.

A bespoke hydrogen pilot kiln will be hosted at Glass Futures, an industry not for profit R&D organisation. This project aims to provide an important route to help decarbonise the UK ceramic sector by 2040. The hydrogen being used at Glass Futures’ site will be supplied by Ryze Hydrogen.

Together FT Pipeline Systems, Worthing Borough Council, DFW Europe, the University of Brighton, Ricardo AEA and Net Zero Associates aim to demonstrate at scale that natural gas can be replaced by hydrogen in a working crematorium and still maintain the same level of service.

When we are pushing spoonfuls of cereal into our mouths first thing in the morning, most of us are unaware of that natural gas was used in its manufacture. In Phase 1 of the Industrial Fuel Switching Competition, Kellogg’s worked with Progressive Energy to assess the feasibility of replacing natural gas with hydrogen in cereal ovens and boilers at its Trafford Park and Wrexham sites and identified the evidence gaps to be addressed before hydrogen can be deployed.

In this Phase 2 project, Kellogg’s has been given £3.3 million to demonstrate the use of hydrogen in cereal manufacture at Trafford Park, first at pilot scale and then on live manufacturing equipment.

Another sizeable grant, of £4.6 million, was awarded to one of Europe’s largest Used Beverage Can recycling plants, Novelis Latchford Locks Works, which has a recycling capacity of up to 195,000 tonnes.

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The company currently uses natural gas burners in its furnaces to remelt scrap aluminium for casting into ingots for use in manufacturing a range of products, including beverage cans and cars. Switching to hydrogen fuel would reduce site emissions by approximately 45,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum, something Novelis will be able to do following a successful Phase 2 project.

The final project awarded funds in this tranche is more of an enabling technology for the use of hydrogen than a hydrogen project itself. Hive Composites was given £2.4 million to demonstrate a novel manufacturing technique for thermoplastic composite pipes that are capable of carrying hydrogen without the embrittlement that steel pipes suffer from when hydrogen molecules pass through it.

A sizeable grant of £4.6 million, has been awarded to one of Europe’s largest Used Beverage Can recycling plants, Novelis Latchford Locks Works, which has a recycling capacity of up to 195,000 tonnes. Switching to hydrogen fuel would reduce site emissions by approximately 45,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum, something Novelis will be able to do following a successful Phase 2 project.

Hive aims to demonstrate that its TCPs can be manufactured five times faster than traditional thermally fused TCP, do not require reprocessing, and reduce the energy to manufacture the pipeline by more than 80%, whilst achieving the required pressure ratings and minimising hydrogen permeation.

Between them, these projects show not only the versatility of hydrogen but the wealth of innovation in the UK’s hydrogen sector. We are confident that government support for such early-stage technologies will spur further investment in the hydrogen sector across the UK.

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

As another Glastonbury is consigned to the history books and with a summer of big events and international travel sprawling ahead of us, it can be all too easy to overlook the environmental impact that lies beneath all this excitement.

Due to construction, energy consumption, and transportation of attendees and participants the impact of big events is considerable, and contributes to major environmental concerns, including climate change and the depletion of natural resources.

Despite the promises made for the 2022 Olympics to rely on renewable energy, the reality was that the majority of venues were built using energy sourced from the Beijing power grid, which predominantly relies on coal for electricity generation. This heavy dependence on coal naturally results in significant CO2 emissions, as well as the release of harmful pollutants like mercury, sulphur, and nitrogen.

The majority of venues for Beijing winter olympics were built using energy sourced from the power grid, which predominantly relies on coal for electricity generation.

Global carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry were 37.12 billion metric tons (GtCO₂) in 2021.

So can the Paris Olympics in 2024 do better than the Beijing Olympics? Many believe it’s crucial that they do.

And when it comes to transport emissions a significant positive is that Air Liquide has joined forces with Paris 2024 as an Official Supporter in the field of hydrogen, with the aim of reducing the event’s carbon footprint. As part of this partnership, the company will provide renewable hydrogen to fuel a portion of the vehicles in Paris 2024’s official fleet. This collaboration aligns with Paris 2024’s commitment to hosting environmentally friendly Games and promoting sustainability.

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To support the environmental goals of the event, Air Liquide and the Paris 2024 Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games have entered a partnership. The objective of this collaboration is to provide hydrogen fuel for the transportation of athletes and officials.

Air Liquide will supply renewable hydrogen to be used in several hundred Toyota Mirai vehicles, which have been designated as the official vehicles of Paris 2024. The renewable hydrogen provided by Air Liquide will be generated through processes such as water electrolysis or the use of biomethane with certified origins.

Air Liquide will supply renewable hydrogen to be used in several hundred Toyota Mirai vehicles, which have been designated as the official vehicles of Paris 2024.

With transport contributing to 24% of global CO2 emissions, addressing the climate emergency demands a diverse set of solutions, including renewable hydrogen. This clean energy source presents significant advantages, such as extended range and quick refuelling, particularly beneficial for heavy-duty and high-demand transportation, including taxis and the vehicles in constant operation within Paris 2024’s official fleet.

This also represents a significant positive hydrogen PR opportunity, as the eyes of the world fall on the Paris Olympics to judge amongst other things their sustainability efforts, so having an official hydrogen-powered transport fleet is excellent news.

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Leveraging its position as a global frontrunner in hydrogen production, Air Liquide will utilise its 60 years of expertise and its capabilities in low-carbon and renewable hydrogen production to fulfil the project. The company is actively engaged in launching, piloting, and advancing significant projects worldwide to drive the decarbonisation of both industry and transportation.

Hydrogen, the clean energy source, presents significant advantages, such as extended range and quick refuelling, particularly beneficial for heavy-duty and high-demand transportation, including taxis and the vehicles in constant operation within Paris 2024’s official fleet.

To put that into context and to expedite the progress of hydrogen as a vital component of the energy transition, Air Liquide has made a commitment to develop a total installed electrolysis capacity of 3 gigawatts by 2030.

The Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022 employed a combustion system for its Olympic torch, developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, that was fuelled by eco-friendly hydrogen, and which burnt reliably in all weather conditions.

We predict the Paris Olympics will continue to demonstrate their commitment to hydrogen as a clean energy source and look forward to further announcements in the coming months.

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

Prepare for a transportation revolution like never before with hydrogen emerging as the game-changer capable of transforming multiple modes of travel, including the exhilarating realm of hypersonic aviation. With its unrivalled potential as a clean renewable energy source, hydrogen is poised to revolutionise the way we traverse the skies.

Imagine embarking on thrilling journeys at unimaginable speeds, propelled by hydrogen-powered engines that emit nothing but water vapour. As we embrace this technological leap, the era of hydrogen-powered hypersonic flight promises a future where speed, sustainability, and excitement converge in breath-taking harmony.

Science-fiction? Not so. In a remarkable feat, Swiss aerospace start-up Destinus have taken a significant stride forward with their recent test flight of a hydrogen-powered prototype drone.

“The successful flight with hydrogen afterburners demonstrates the potential for high-performance propulsion systems that are highly efficient and reduce carbon emissions,” said Destinus CEO Mikhail Kokorich, following the event.

The unmanned Jungfrau prototype executed a successful take-off last Wednesday from an airport near Munich, Germany. With the hydrogen-powered afterburners fully engaged, it underwent multiple flights, attaining speeds of approximately 155 mph. Although this falls considerably short of the hypersonic flight threshold of 3,000 mph, the experiments provided compelling evidence of the hydrogen afterburners’ practicality and effectiveness under real-world conditions.

Pictured: The unmanned Jungfrau prototype executed a successful take-off last Wednesday from an airport near Munich, Germany. With the hydrogen-powered afterburners fully engaged, it underwent multiple flights, attaining speeds of approximately 155 mph.

Destinus developed the afterburner internally, using additive manufacturing techniques, and conducted rigorous ground testing at their propulsion test site located in Payerne, Switzerland.

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Traditionally, afterburners enhance the thrust of a turbojet engine by introducing extra fuel — hydrogen, in this instance — into the exhaust stream of the turbine. The augmented thrust produced by afterburners empowers aircraft to attain elevated speeds and climb rates, making them a common feature in fighter jets striving to achieve supersonic velocities.

Sure enough Destinus emphasised the resemblance of their hydrogen afterburner’s design to that of a ramjet’s combustion chamber. And it’s a liquid hydrogen-fuelled ramjet that the company ultimately envisions propelling their aircraft to hypersonic speeds.

Established in 2021, Destinus has an ambitious plan to engineer a pair of hydrogen-powered passenger aircraft that can fly at hypersonic speed. The initial aircraft, slated for deployment by the close of this decade, is designed to accommodate 20 to 100 passengers, and make journeys of up to 7,500km (4,700 miles).

The company has successfully constructed two unmanned subscale prototypes, namely Jungfrau (Destinus-1) and Eiger (Destinus-2). These prototypes serve as perfect testing platforms for evaluating and refining designs and systems intended for hypersonic aircraft.

Pictured Eiger (Destinus-2): one of Destinus’ two unmanned subscale prototype aircraft.

Destinus is a collective of aerospace specialists hailing from five European nations, with operational bases in Switzerland, Spain, Germany, and France. However, despite their commendable progress with the afterburners, the company has decided not to immediately transition to a larger prototype jet. Instead, they are adopting a gradual approach, prioritising incremental steps to ensure a methodical and thorough development process.

Next year’s test will see “the world’s first supersonic drone powered by hydrogen,” said Kokorich.

The objective sounds simple: to manufacture an aircraft capable of swiftly transporting people and cargo across the globe within a few hours. The results could be revolutionary. According to Destinus’ projections, hypersonic flights from Memphis to Tokyo would be accomplished in a mere three hours and 15 minutes, while travel time from Memphis to Frankfurt would be reduced by as much as an hour.

Destinus engineers are currently focused on the development of the company’s third prototype, Destinus-3, set to become the world’s inaugural supersonic hydrogen aircraft. With great anticipation, Destinus intends to unveil Destinus-3 at the upcoming Paris Airshow later this month, followed by the inaugural flight scheduled for 2024, marking a significant milestone in the pursuit of advanced aviation technology.

Destinus is a collective of aerospace specialists (pictured) hailing from five European nations, with operational bases in Switzerland, Spain, Germany, and France. Established in 2021, the company has an ambitious plan to engineer a pair of hydrogen-powered passenger aircraft that can fly at hypersonic speed.

Decarbonising aviation has become an imperative in the fight against climate change, as it is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. In this pursuit, several major players have recognised the potential of hydrogen technology, as it can be produced from renewable sources, and when used as a source of energy it only emits water vapour, making it a clean energy option.

In a similar vein, other companies have ventured into hydrogen-powered aviation. For instance, Universal Hydrogen, a Los Angeles startup, achieved a 15-minute test flight of its hydrogen-fueled aircraft in March 2023.

Pictured: Jungfrau (Destinus-1) has made several successful test flights using hydrogen powered afterburners similar to those used in fighter jets.

Companies such as Airbus, Boeing, and Rolls-Royce are actively investing in the race to advance hydrogen-powered aircraft. Their commitment to exploring hydrogen aviation technology showcases the industry’s determination to achieve carbon-neutral flight and underscores the transformative potential of sustainable aviation for a greener future.

Hydrogen aviation in its many forms is just beginning. It reduces the environmental impact of aviation and opens possibilities for sustainable, zero-emission flights. With ongoing advancements in hydrogen-powered aircraft and infrastructure, the aviation sector has the potential to transition to a greener future, contributing significantly to global efforts to combat climate change.

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

The United Kingdom and the United States have a remarkable opportunity to collaborate in developing and expanding the hydrogen economy. With both nations recognising the immense potential of hydrogen as a clean and versatile energy carrier, joint efforts can accelerate its adoption and pave the way for a sustainable future. By sharing expertise, investing in research and development, and fostering cross-border partnerships, the UK and the US can drive innovation, create jobs, and establish themselves as leaders in the burgeoning hydrogen sector.

It was with this in mind that Rishi Sunak embarked on his visit to Washington DC last week to engage in discussions with President Biden.

As both leaders convened in Washington DC, they recognised the significance of addressing the pressing issue of climate change and sought to forge an agreement on this paramount challenge. The United Kingdom and the United States have exemplified their commitment to global leadership in climate action. The UK, as a trailblazer among G7 nations, set a historic precedent by enshrining its commitment to achieving net-zero carbon dioxide emissions into law. Notably, the UK has successfully managed to halve its emissions while concurrently fostering economic growth.

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On the other hand, the United States has laid out its own ambitious agenda to combat climate change, primarily through the Inflation Reduction Act. This forward-looking legislation outlines substantial investments in cutting-edge climate technologies, signifying the nation’s determination to address the climate crisis head-on.

The United States alone does not possess enough jobs, skills, capabilities, and capacity at the required scale to fully capitalise on the opportunities that the $370 billion Inflation Reduction Act will create. By engaging with international partners, synergistic benefits can be unlocked, combining expertise, resources, and innovation from around the world to achieve greater collective impact.

By converging their efforts and collaborating closely on climate-related initiatives, both nations aim to amplify their impact and inspire other countries to adopt sustainable practices. Through joint endeavours, such as research and development partnerships, renewable energy projects, and policy coordination, the UK and the US endeavour to lead the global charge towards a more sustainable future. Recognising that climate change knows no borders, both leaders are aware of the need for international cooperation and to actively engage with other nations to tackle this shared challenge comprehensively.

Moreover, the UK and the US recognise that climate action presents immense opportunities for economic growth and technological advancement. By investing in green industries and innovation, both nations aim to not only mitigate the effects of climate change but also create new jobs and bolster their economies. Their commitment to sustainable development exemplifies their understanding that tackling climate change is not just an environmental imperative but also an economic and social imperative.

In forging an agreement on climate action, these leaders envision a future where the UK and the US collaborate closely, leveraging their strengths and expertise to drive transformative change on a global scale. By nurturing their partnership and building on their shared commitment to combating climate change, they aspire to be catalysts for a more sustainable and resilient world, leaving a positive legacy for generations to come.

The impact of the Inflation Reduction Act on climate technology and innovation cannot be understated. Detractors who argue that this act, with its substantial $370 billion commitment to investing in the necessary technologies for achieving net-zero emissions, is protectionist or will fuel a race to the bottom in subsidies fail to recognise the transformative global potential that this stimulus package presents.

Given the magnitude of the investment, future international partnerships will be essential, opening avenues for collaboration and generating new opportunities within global supply chains. The truth is that the United States alone does not possess enough jobs, skills, capabilities, and capacity at the required scale to fully capitalise on the opportunities that the Act will create. By engaging with international partners, synergistic benefits can be unlocked, combining expertise, resources, and innovation from around the world to achieve greater collective impact.

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The notion that the Inflation Reduction Act will foster protectionism overlooks the interconnectedness of today’s global economy. Instead of retreating into isolationism it recognises the boundaryless nature of climate challenges and the importance of collaboration to address them effectively. By encouraging international cooperation, the Act will spur the development of advanced technologies, encourage knowledge sharing, and promote sustainable practices across countries.

The United Kingdom and the United States have exemplified their commitment to global leadership in climate action. The UK, as a trailblazer among G7 nations, set a historic precedent by enshrining its commitment to achieving net-zero carbon dioxide emissions into law, and has successfully managed to halve its emissions.

It is imperative here in the UK that we prioritise the spirit of shared partnership as we respond to the Inflation Reduction Act, setting the stage for collaborative efforts in building the climate industries of tomorrow. By positioning the UK as the preferred international supply chain partner for the US, we can forge a new and dynamic special relationship.

The Mission Zero review, a comprehensive 340-page document published in January, highlights how achieving net zero emissions can unlock significant economic growth opportunities. By prioritising a green industrial strategy and committing to necessary policies and investments, the UK has the potential to attract up to £1 trillion in private inward investment and capital by 2030.

Net zero presents a shared opportunity to establish international partnerships and supply chains that reduce costs, create green jobs, and tackle the climate crisis. We cannot afford to duplicate successes or repeat failures. Collaboration is essential for finding efficient and effective solutions to protect our economies and environment.

The prime minister’s meeting with the president provided an ideal platform to seize these collaborative opportunities and cultivate a green special relationship that will benefit both nations.

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

There’s a lot of money to be made from telling people what’s going to happen in the future, but the truly disruptive innovations never come from commentators or analysts. They come from people making things.

Even when the iPhone was unveiled by Steve Jobs in 2007 it took several years before people started to realise the transformative effect it would have on our lives. In short, people are not very good at predicting the future. The next revolutionary consumer product may have already been released and we are none the wiser.

It is with this in mind that some of the smartest and successful automakers are experimenting with hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). Late last year Honda joined the ranks of major car manufacturers including Toyota, BMW and Hyundai, all of whom will be releasing an FCEV passenger car for sale in Japan and North America.

The car, developed alongside US auto giant GM, will be based on the recently launched compact SUV, the Honda CR-V, and will begin production in 2024. Given the lack of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure in the US, it probably won’t sell very well. Just 18,892 new FCEVs were sold globally last year, compared with 10.5 million new battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).

Honda, Toyota, BMW and Hyundai, will all be releasing a hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle passenger car for sale.

But Honda, Toyota, Hyundai and BMW are not expecting to rake in the cash with their first generation of FCEVs. Or probably even their second or third. The vehicles are a bet that once hydrogen becomes more widely available thanks to its adoption by buses and heavy goods vehicles, aviation, motorsports and industry that they will be in pole position to sell their vehicles to the public.

Even then, they are unlikely to outsell BEVs within the passenger car segment. For the vast majority of people, the lower costs associated with BEVs will mean hydrogen isn’t for them. But for some consumers, hydrogen will be exactly what they’re looking for.

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It is no coincidence that Honda, BMW and Hyundai’s FCEVs are all SUVs. Despite the surge in petrol prices in recent years thanks to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, SUVs and pickups have a whopping 78% market share in the U.S., according to Marklines data.

America has been one of the slowest developed markets in the world to embrace BEVs because the things they like doing – putting their families in large vehicles and driving them for long distances, often to remote locations – are not yet possible with BEVs. They are absolutely possible with hydrogen FCEVs though.

The range of FCEVs is much closer to what can be expected from a petrol equivalent, hydrogen fuel can be transported to places far beyond the grid, and larger vehicles aren’t weighed down with huge batteries.

BMW’s iX5 Hydrogen is an SUV based on the current X5. The range of FCEVs is much closer to what can be expected from a petrol equivalent.

BMW’s iX5 Hydrogen is an SUV based on the current X5. A pilot fleet of fewer than 100 vehicles are in the process of being distributed, including to members of the press, in anticipation of possible serial production.

The hydrogen that supplies the fuel cell is stored in two 700-bar tanks made of carbon-fibre reinforced plastic, and together hold almost 6kg of hydrogen, giving the BMW iX5 Hydrogen a range of 504 km (313 miles). Filling up the tanks takes only three to four minutes.

When hydrogen is converted into electricity via a fuel cell, it produces only water vapour as a by-product. When the hydrogen is made by splitting water with electrolysers powered by renewable energy, it is the cleanest fuel on the planet.

The Hyundai Nexo is also a hydrogen-powered SUV and boasts even greater range than the BMW iX5 Hydrogen: 413 miles after a 5-minute refuel. It is a premium vehicle that includes semi-autonomous driving and a host of other cutting-edge technologies. It is clearly aimed at consumers for whom spending a little more to get the best experience possible is the norm. This is one of the areas in which hydrogen FCEVs can expect to thrive.

America has been one of the slowest developed markets in the world to embrace BEVs because the things they like doing – putting their families in large vehicles and driving them for long distances, often to remote locations – are not yet possible with BEVs. They are absolutely possible with hydrogen FCEVs though. FCEV’s have no loss of performance in cold temperatures unlike pure battery vehicles.

Other consumers will need a hydrogen vehicle for more practical reasons. In Norway, 80pc of new passenger vehicle sales are now BEVs thanks to incentives that make it very difficult to buy anything else. Yet, despite the overwhelming economic incentives to buy a BEV, almost 20pc are still opting for petrol vehicles. Some Norwegians like to spend their holidays in the mountains, far from any charging infrastructure and often facing freezing temperatures.

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Renault’s mileage calculator says that its Zoe will carry you 234 miles at a steady 31 mph when the temperature is 20 degrees C, but 187 miles (a drop of 20%) at 5 degrees C and just 152 miles (35% less) at minus 5.

By contrast, BMW reported no lost performance when testing its iX5 Hydrogen at minus 20 degrees C in the Arctic last year. In a further demonstration of FCEVs all-weather performance, UK-based zero-emission truck manufacturer Tevva in February revealed its hydrogen-electric prototype completed almost 350 miles on a single tank and charge at temperatures averaging about zero.

When the time is right and the investment in hydrogen infrastructure has been made, a market for hydrogen FCEVs seems highly likely to emerge.

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

In response to the growing need for sustainable practices, major brands are increasingly embracing hydrogen as a clean source of energy to decarbonise their operations. And in the world of brands you don’t get much bigger than Nike.

The global clothing giant, have unveiled a ground-breaking initiative in Rotterdam, a zero-carbon cutting-edge inland container ship powered by hydrogen, claiming to be the first of its kind.

The vessel, named H2 Barge 1, has been retrofitted by Future Proof Shipping (FPS) and has been chartered by BCTN Network on Inland Terminals to serve Nike EMEA.

The revamped 110m x 11.45m container ship has undergone a significant transformation with the installation of hydrogen fuel cells. By using hydrogen as a clean energy source, the ship is projected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by up to 2,000 tonnes annually.

It will primarily transport Nike’s merchandise between Rotterdam and the company’s European Logistics Campus in Belgium. This project demonstrates Nike’s commitment to sustainability and represents a significant step towards greener shipping practices in the fashion industry.

Eb Mukhtar, Vice-President Operations & Logistics at Nike EMEA says “Nike’s ultimate goal is to create a zero carbon, zero waste future. We’ve been on this journey for decades, and we’re setting even bolder goals for the future.

Nike, the global clothing giant, have unveiled a ground-breaking initiative in Rotterdam, a zero-carbon cutting-edge inland container ship powered by hydrogen, claiming to be the first of its kind.

The H2 Barge 1 is an important example of how we are investing in sustainable progress across logistics and transportation to protect the environment for future generations”.

Recognising the initiative, Mark Harbers, the Dutch Minister of Infrastructure & Water Management, honoured Hib van de Grijspaarde, the founder of FPS, with an A-Zero (A0) emission label. This prestigious recognition highlights the achievements of van de Grijspaarde and his team in promoting emission-free hydrogen transportation and sustainable practices in the shipping industry.

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“It’s my pleasure to present the very first A-Zero emission label to H2 Barge1, as it is the first vessel to truly qualify as zero-emission. An achievement worth applauding. I hope this achievement by Future Proof Shipping will persuade other shipowners to make the transition to emission-free transport too, and that many more A-Zero emission labels will be handed out in the future.” said Harber.

Describing the launch as a pivotal moment in the decarbonisation of shipping Richard Klatten, CEO of FPS  added “This shipping project proves that moving cargo with zero emissions and zero impact is possible, and we hope it accelerates the industry to follow in Nike’s footsteps and move to zero”.

The development of the H2 Barge 1 project received significant support through grant funding from various organisations.

Nike are keen to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability, and their pioneering hydrogen project represents a significant step towards greener shipping practices in the fashion industry.

The Interreg North Sea Region Programme (Zero Emission Port North Sea – ZEM Ports NS), the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), the Port of Rotterdam, and the Expertise-en Innovatie Centrum Binnenvaart all played pivotal roles in providing financial support and expertise, furthering the progress towards zero-emission ports and innovation in the inland shipping industry.

Companies have an urgent need to reduce their carbon footprint and transition to more environmentally friendly alternatives. Hydrogen, with its potential to generate power without emissions, offers a promising solution, and is being used as a clean source of power for decarbonising numerous industrial processes, as well as heavy transportation, including buses, planes and trucks.

By adopting hydrogen as an energy source, big brands can significantly reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to the global efforts to combat climate change. Furthermore, the transition allows brands to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and position themselves as leaders in the drive towards a greener future.

As more prominent companies adopt hydrogen, it encourages further innovation and investment in clean energy technologies, accelerating the shift to a low-carbon economy.

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

For anyone still wondering ‘why hydrogen?’ here’s a recap:

The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that approximately 4.2 million deaths occur annually due to inadequate ambient air quality, and a staggering 91% of the global population resides in areas that surpass the WHO’s air quality standards. The major contributors to this pollution are emissions from internal combustion engines (ICE) and fossil fuel power plants.

It’s worth focusing on the fact that it is the combustion of fossil fuels for energy production that results in the emission of greenhouse gases and harmful particulate matter. To address this issue, more than 20 countries have committed to prohibiting the sale of internal combustion engine vehicles by 2035. Additionally, over 25 cities have made commitments to exclusively purchase zero-emission buses starting from 2025. These actions are motivated by the Net Zero agendas, as well as the pressing need to minimise toxic diesel emissions in urban areas.

Decision-makers and various industries recognise clean hydrogen as a pivotal technology to achieve Net Zero goals and enhance air quality.

In alignment with the Paris Agreement, a global framework to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C, over 30 countries have established hydrogen policies and allocated a substantial funding of $70 billion. These initiatives are integral to the Energy Transition, facilitating the shift towards a low-carbon economy.

Ensuring access to clean hydrogen has become a primary focus for refiners, steel manufacturers, and ammonia producers as they tackle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Heavy industries like steel production and oil refining face significant pressure to minimise or eliminate the use of grey hydrogen in their processes, in order to mitigate the associated GHG emissions. Presently, a substantial portion of the demand for clean hydrogen arises from the need to transition away from grey hydrogen, essentially emphasising the importance of cleaning up existing hydrogen sources.

The combustion of fossil fuels results in the emission of greenhouse gases and harmful particulate matter, and clean hydrogen holds the potential to replace fossil fuels in challenging-to-decarbonise industries.

Clean hydrogen holds the potential to replace fossil fuels in challenging-to-decarbonise industries. It can be utilised in power plants as a substitute for natural gas, coal, and oil, or alternatively converted into electricity via hydrogen fuel cells. Crucially, the use of hydrogen as a fuel results in water vapor as the sole by-product, making it the environmentally-friendly choice.

Hydrogen serves as a valuable means to store and transport intermittent renewable energy on a grid scale. As wind and solar power sources progressively contribute a significant portion of the electricity supply, there will be a growing requirement for large-scale energy storage solutions to compensate for periods of low wind and sunlight. By converting electricity into hydrogen, this energy can be stored for extended durations in pipelines, tanks, or even underground salt caverns. This enables efficient long-term storage and retrieval of renewable energy resources.

By 2040, the hydrogen sector is projected to have a market potential of $1 trillion. To accomplish the Net Zero objectives, a remarkable 200-fold increase in clean hydrogen supply is expected between 2019 and 2030. This surge is driven by the expansion of renewable energy sources and the gradual elimination of fossil fuels, which enhance the economic viability of established hydrogen technologies. As a result, clean hydrogen has the potential to account for 20% of the energy mix by 2050.

When it comes to the origins of hydrogen, there are various terms used, often referred to as colour codes. We typically recognise four primary types:

Green hydrogen does not rely on hydrocarbons. It is produced by utilising renewable electricity, such as wind and solar power, to operate electrolysers that generate hydrogen and oxygen.

Countries are racing to honour their commitment to the Paris Agreement, a global framework to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2°C. Pictured: extreme wild fires in California caused by the climate crisis.

Grey hydrogen represents the current prevalent method of production. It involves heating methane gas with steam through a process called steam methane reforming (SMR). While efficient, this process releases CO2. Grey hydrogen has been widely used for decades and is a significant industry today.

Blue hydrogen also employs SMR like grey hydrogen but includes the capture and storage of CO2 emissions, mitigating its environmental impact.

Turquoise hydrogen is generated through the pyrolysis treatment of conventional natural gas, involving chemical decomposition at high temperatures. This process produces hydrogen as well as solid carbon as a by-product.

By the end of 2021, there were over 500 hydrogen projects announced worldwide, showcasing an increase of over 100% compared to the previous year. It is estimated that the expenditure across the entire value chain of clean hydrogen could reach $700 billion by 2030.

Clean hydrogen production occurs at industrial facilities equipped with either low-cost green electricity, or access to natural gas and geological sites for CO2 storage.

Once produced, hydrogen is transported or stored using pipelines and tanks, ensuring its availability for customers. Industries like oil refining utilise hydrogen for various processes, including the desulphurisation of crude oil.

Alternatively, hydrogen can be converted into electricity or heat through the use of fuel cells. This conversion process takes place in various settings, such as trucks, trains, and buses equipped with hydrogen tanks, as well as in large buildings like hotels and offices where combined heat and power (CHP) units are employed.

Concept of an energy storage system based on electrolysis of hydrogen. Once produced, hydrogen is transported or stored using pipelines and tanks, ensuring its availability for customers.

Hydrogen possesses a comparable energy mass (energy per kilogram) to traditional liquid fuels like gasoline. However, hydrogen has a lower volumetric energy density, necessitating compression and storage in pressurised tanks for transportation and storage purposes. To address this, some stakeholders are considering the shipment of large quantities of liquid hydrogen from supply sources to customers. Another alternative is converting hydrogen into liquid ammonia for transportation.

Liquid hydrogen storage requires specialized cryogenic tanks that are maintained at a temperature as low as -253°C. On the other hand, ammonia offers certain advantages: it has a high hydrogen content, with 17.65 wt percent, an established distribution network, and can be liquefied at a pressure of 10 bar or a temperature of -33°C.

After hydrogen is produced, it needs to be efficiently transported and stored. The existing manufacturing industry is adapting to meet the specific requirements of hydrogen gas, supplying compression systems, pipelines, and storage cylinders and tanks.

Hydrogen Refueling Stations (HRS) will in the near future transition from specialised depots for trucks, buses, and trains to mainstream petrol station forecourts.

Additionally, hydrogen gas can be utilised to decarbonize portable power, replacing diesel and petrol generators with hydrogen-powered units.

One of the most appealing aspects of hydrogen gas is its compatibility with existing infrastructure. Relatively simple modifications can be made to enable the introduction of this zero-carbon fuel into various systems, leveraging the existing infrastructure for a smooth transition.

Clean hydrogen, although currently relatively higher in cost compared to fossil fuels, has the potential to become more competitive over time. As advancements in technology, economies of scale, and supportive policies come into play, the cost of producing clean hydrogen is decreasing.

The arguments that revolve around the cost and time involved in establishing hydrogen infrastructure compared to producing lower-carbon alternatives like oil and gas with carbon capture and storage (CCS) are now considered outdated and are swiftly losing their relevance.

A notable example is the transformation happening within major oil companies, including long-time fossil fuel proponents like ExxonMobil, who are now actively pursuing hydrogen and carbon capture strategies. For ExxonMobil, hydrogen is viewed as a potential $1 trillion market in the medium term. Similarly, BP envisions hydrogen accounting for up to 15% of the long-term energy mix.

The focus of the debate has shifted towards discussions surrounding the required timescales for implementation rather than the feasibility or cost-effectiveness of hydrogen as a viable energy solution.

Pictured: The planned innovative multi-million pound green hydrogen production facility at the Ballymena headquarters of globally renowned sustainable bus manufacturer Wrightbus, U.K.

There are certain misconceptions and mythical theories surrounding hydrogen, such as concerns that it will corrode pipes, lead to leaks, or be unsuitable for combustion in power plants and domestic boilers.

The notion that hydrogen cannot be effectively integrated into existing infrastructure is also outdated. In the initial stages of hydrogen adoption, a blending approach is being pursued, where hydrogen is mixed with natural gas in existing networks. A notable example is the HyDeploy project in the UK, which successfully trialled a 20% hydrogen blend with natural gas in domestic boilers in 2021. Additionally, pure hydrogen boilers are already available in the market, providing a direct and efficient way to utilize hydrogen for heating purposes.

The potential to produce clean hydrogen without any greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions holds significant appeal for industries currently reliant on grey hydrogen. These industries are facing substantial pressure to transition towards cleaner practices and contribute to the Net Zero goals.

Clean hydrogen’s appeal is that it has the capacity to replace fossil fuels in numerous sectors, including heat, power, and transportation, making it an attractive prospect for achieving decarbonisation objectives.

Similar to other clean energy sources, investment and innovation in clean hydrogen have been influenced by fluctuations in oil prices and government policies. It is worth noting that despite substantial investments and widespread deployment of modern renewables like wind and solar since the mid-1970s, they still represent only around 3% of the global energy mix.

In a similar vein, clean hydrogen has been developing over a comparable timeframe, with the challenge of competing against low-cost and abundant fossil fuels. However, the increasing focus on sustainability and the urgency to mitigate climate change are driving greater attention and investments toward the development and utilisation of clean hydrogen as a key solution for a more sustainable energy future.

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

For more recent followers, or anyone wanting to brush up on key points of the rapidly evolving hydrogen economy, it’s sometimes good to recap on where we currently are with this unique source of energy helping solve the climate crisis.

Hydrogen is gaining momentum as key player in the climate solution, with approximately $10 billion worth of hydrogen projects being announced monthly.

Policy initiatives like the Inflation Reduction Act and the Green Deal Industrial Plan are further promoting hydrogen production and usage. Recent research from McKinsey forecasts a demand increase of four to six times by 2050. This is not surprising, as harnessing hydrogen’s potential is on track to reduce global emissions by up to 20 percent annually by 2050.

Hydrogen also serves as a flexible and long-term storage solution for power grids. Simultaneously, industry and transportation sectors hold exponential potential for reducing emissions through hydrogen utilisation, with a cumulative abatement capacity of 80 gigatons of CO2.

A large proportion of today’s hydrogen is being generated using fossil fuels. This grey hydrogen is primarily utilised in oil and gas refining, as well as ammonia production for fertiliser manufacturing. However, this is the reality of an energy transition, and the world knows that in order to fully utilise hydrogen’s potential as a decarbonisation solution, it is the production of ‘clean hydrogen’ on a larger scale that requires the lion’s share of private and governmental focus. Fortunately, clean hydrogen projects are where the growth is, within the landscape of those being announced each month.

Green hydrogen can be produced through electrolysis using renewable energy sources to power the electrolyser plants, avoiding the use of fossil fuels. It can be produced anywhere with wind or sun, and an electrolyser. Blue hydrogen is generated by combining fossil fuels with emission-reducing measures like carbon capture, utilisation, and storage.

Hydrogen is gaining momentum as key player in the climate solution, with approximately $10 billion worth of hydrogen projects being announced monthly.

Regardless of the production method, clean hydrogen is driving decarbonisation efforts across a broad variety of industries such as transport including aviation, long-haul trucking, maritime shipping, also industries such as refining, and steel manufacturing.

However, scaling clean hydrogen requires some key actions, and here we identify three of the main ones:

Firstly, production costs must decrease, enabling hydrogen to become cost-competitive with other fuel sources.

Keeping costs down can be achieved by producing hydrogen in regions with ample and affordable renewable energy resources, such as areas with consistent wind or abundant sunshine. Although renewable energy development has made significant progress in recent years, the availability of land could emerge as a potential constraint for deploying renewables, potentially limiting the choices for green hydrogen producers in terms of suitable locations.

Hydrogen is a unique and sustainable source of energy crucial for decarbonising sectors across the economy including transport, industry and heating. Pictured: City fossil fuel emission pollution

The construction of plants that combine renewable energy generation and green hydrogen production has experienced cost challenges due to factors such as increased material and labour expenses, as well as constrained supply chains.

Secondly, establishing infrastructure, especially for hydrogen transportation, is crucial. Pipelines are the most efficient method for transporting hydrogen, but the existing gas infrastructure needs to be either repurposed or expanded to accommodate hydrogen transportation.

Thirdly, it is of course investments that are essential for the advancement of the hydrogen solution. Investment is playing a critical role in various segments of the hydrogen value chain, including expanding electrolyser capacity and establishing hydrogen refuelling stations to support the adoption of hydrogen-powered transport; an example being the rapidly growing fleet of hydrogen buses already in operation in cities across the UK. Producers of clean hydrogen are mitigating investment risks on the commercial front by securing future demand through purchase agreements.

The Hydrogen Council, a group led by CEOs and comprising members from over 140 companies, has highlighted that achieving a net-zero pathway would necessitate as much as $700 billion in investments by 2030.

Pipelines are the most efficient method for transporting hydrogen, but the existing gas infrastructure needs to be either repurposed or expanded to accommodate hydrogen transportation.

Advancing in this direction necessitates collaboration among policymakers, industries, and investors. Policy makers can play a crucial role by providing ongoing support to the hydrogen economy through measures like production tax credits or by setting targets for hydrogen uptake.

These initiatives are enhancing investors’ roles in future hydrogen markets and hydrogen-based products. Industries are already contributing by expanding capacities, such as increasing the production of electrolysers, and fostering collaborations throughout the value-chain. Meanwhile investors are playing an ever-growing role in supporting the industry by structuring and financing new ventures, and further contribute by setting standards for evaluating hydrogen projects and managing associated risks effectively.

One this is certain, that as the energy transition progresses, hydrogen is becoming an increasingly important consideration for businesses and governments alike.

While there are inevitable challenges associated with scaling hydrogen, as with any nascent industry, there is an increasing abundance of significant opportunities that come with it.

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

The prospect of a post-war future for Ukraine has emerged, paving the way for the country to implement plans that incorporate a green hydrogen centerpiece, making use of its abundant energy export infrastructure. The development is promising for promoting a more sustainable economic profile throughout Europe.

While hydrogen is primarily recognised as a fuel input for cells and combustible fuel, its applications extend far beyond that. It serves as the driving force behind modernised economies, supporting various industries, including agriculture, food processing, metallurgy, refinery operations and even medicine.

Hydrogen cannot be found in its pure form on Earth, and therefore must be extracted from other sources. Presently, the primary sources of hydrogen are natural gas and coal, which are of course not ideal.

However, the prospect of extracting green hydrogen from renewable sources such as water and biogas is advancing rapidly. In the past, electrolysis and other methods for producing green hydrogen were deemed costly, inefficient, and unsupported by public policy. However 2023 has seen marked reduction in electrolyser costs, coupled with the decreasing cost of renewable energy to power them. As a result, energy planners in Ukraine are determined not to be left behind.

In an op-ed last June, Oleksandr Riepkin, Ukraine’s Special Representative of the Minister of Foreign Affairs on Economic Diplomacy, advocated for clean hydrogen. He highlighted that the Ukrainian cities of Zaporizhzhia, Mykolayiv, Odesa, and Kherson receive the same or more sunshine than Italy, and proposed generating green hydrogen from water by utilising electrolysis systems powered by solar energy.

Riepkin says “Thanks to these regions alone, Ukraine would be able to provide enough green hydrogen for both domestic needs and the needs of Europe”.

Odessa port aeral view, Ukraine, Yuzhny seaport: One of the four Ukrainian cities known to receive as much sunshine as Italy, making it ideal for production of renewable solar energy and in turn green hydrogen through solar-powered electrolysis.

At an economic forum in Italy last September, President Volodymyr Zelensky reiterated the proposal. He reminded European leaders that the infrastructure necessary to export hydrogen from Ukraine to western destinations is already established, facilitating Europe’s transition away from “dirty” fuels sourced from Russia and other regions.

“Our country has a huge natural potential for developing opportunities in green energy and in production of green hydrogen. This is a potential of tens, and possibly hundreds of green gigawatts of electric power and millions of tonnes of green hydrogen.” said Zelensky.

According to Reuters in January, a preliminary memorandum of understanding was being considered that would involve the European Union providing financial support to establish a green hydrogen sector in Ukraine.

UkraineInvest, the country’s financial agency, reports that Ukraine is considered a “priority partner” for the European Union’s hydrogen initiatives. Pre-war assessments of Ukraine’s wind and solar potential indicate 320 gigawatts of wind and 70 gigawatts of solar capacity, which is just the beginning.

Additionally, the World Bank estimates that 250 gigawatts of renewable energy could be harnessed from stations floating in the waters of Crimea. UkraineInvest predicts that the total renewable energy capacity of over 700 gigawatts could be realised in a decade.

In April it was reported by Reuters, that Denmark and Ukraine signed a five-year energy development agreement that builds upon their cooperative efforts since 2014. The new agreement aims to restore wind farms damaged by the war and develop new wind energy capacity. In the future, offshore wind energy projects are also being considered.

“Ukraine can become a hub for Europe’s sustainable energy, and we are setting such ambitious goals as part of our energy sector recovery programs,” said Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Energy Yaroslav Demchenkov, “…especially solar and wind generation, as well as hydrogen technologies and bioenergy”.

Carbon Tracker has warned Ukraine must act quickly to keep up with the competition. In a survey released last fall, the organisation reported that other countries were rapidly distancing themselves from Russia’s fossil fuels, resulting in a surge of investment in green hydrogen.

Countries are rapidly distancing themselves from Russia’s fossil fuels (Pictured a Russian Power plant), resulting in a surge of investment in green hydrogen.

“War in Ukraine has spurred over $70 billion of fresh investment in green hydrogen in just a few months as costs drop, and has made fossil fuel-produced Hydrogen uneconomic as gas prices soar,” Carbon Tracker observed.

Carbon Tracker warned that due to the increasing prices of gas-feed, about $100 billion worth of “dirty” hydrogen assets may be stranded by 2030. This indicates that the worldwide hydrogen market is moving away from fossil sources, such as natural gas.

Last week, Nel announced the construction of one of the largest electrolyser manufacturing plants in Wallingford, Michigan. The $400 million plant is expected to be fully automated and serve as a model for the global scale-up of electrolyser production.

Nel cited proximity to General Motors as one of the advantages of the Michigan location and mentioned that GM and Nel are collaborating on electrolyser improvements. The new facility highlights the US Department of Energy’s efforts to promote green hydrogen since the early 2000s.

Nel’s CEO said ““Nearly two decades of research investment through the Department of Energy’s Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Office has led to technological advances that will now be transitioned to gigawatt scale in our Michigan facility”.

In 2021, Nel informed Reuters that it foresees attaining cost parity for green hydrogen at $1.5 per kilo by 2025. Reuters compared this cost to that of green hydrogen in 2019, which ranged between $2.5 and $4.5 per kilo.

Assuming everything goes as planned, the Nel factory in Michigan is expected to assist in establishing a robust supply chain to aid the Energy Department’s goal of creating a network of regional hydrogen hubs in the United States.

The primary focus of these hubs will be on green hydrogen, but for now at least they must take fossil sources into account, as required by law.

The possibility of green hydrogen beating fossil sources on cost may be subject to change if and when Russia limits itself to its recognised borders.

One thing is for sure, the green energy market is ready to expand for cost-competitiveness.

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

One of the world’s dirtiest industries is going to play an outsized role in the march towards net zero emissions.

Electricity networks need a huge amount of copper and aluminium. Rare earth elements are essential for the permanent magnets used by wind turbines and EV motors. Lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese and graphite are fundamental elements in the batteries that power increasing amounts of our lives.

To achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, i.e., stabilising temperature increases at “well below” 2°C, would mean a quadrupling of mineral requirements for clean energy by 2040, according to the International Energy Agency. To get to global net-zero by 2050 would mean consuming six times more mineral inputs in 2040 than today.

Electricity networks need a huge amount of copper and aluminium. Rare earth elements are essential for the permanent magnets used by wind turbines and EV motors. Lithium, nickel, cobalt, manganese and graphite are fundamental elements in the batteries that power increasing amounts of our lives.

Mining is already responsible for as much as 7% of global greenhouse gas emissions, so business as usual is clearly not an option. However, the International Committee on Mining and Metals has pledged that the industry will achieve net zero by 2050. Hydrogen is key to reaching that goal.

One of the biggest challenges that miners face when looking to decarbonise is the remote nature of their operations. Plugging into the local grid is not an option for most mines, which instead tend to rely heavily on diesel to power their vehicles, plant equipment and the small towns that often grow up around a large mine.

Direct electrification is not possible, thanks to the intermittent nature of renewable energy and the long charge times for battery electric vehicles.

As a clean and versatile fuel, green hydrogen can be used in a variety of places within mining operations, whether powering vehicles, providing fuel for generators or processing iron ore.

A report from consultancy dss+ earlier this year concluded that in mining operations alone, the adoption of green hydrogen could dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, by replacing diesel fuel in hauling vehicles, which make up between 30% and 80% of a mine’s carbon footprint.

Direct electrification of the mining industry is not possible, thanks to the intermittent nature of renewable energy and the long charge times for battery electric vehicles. As a clean and versatile fuel, green hydrogen can be used in a variety of places within mining operations, whether powering vehicles, providing fuel for generators or processing iron ore.

“Green hydrogen certainly shows great promise in helping to deliver an environmentally and economically sustainable future for mining companies,” said dss+ Director for Australia and New Zealand Andrew Wilson.” Its use cases extend far beyond simply fuelling heavy trucks.”

Some of the world’s biggest miners realised the potential of hydrogen to decarbonise their operation some years ago. Anglo American, BHP, Fortescue and Hatch announced a partnership back in 2020 to reduce the cost and risks associated with green hydrogen.

Since then, Fortescue has been the boldest, launching Fortescue Future Industries, a unit dedicated to green hydrogen production, while Anglo American in 2022 unveiled plans to replace its diesel-powered mine-haul trucks with hydrogen-powered alternatives, and the creation of a “hydrogen valley” in South Africa.

“Green hydrogen certainly shows great promise in helping to deliver an environmentally and economically sustainable future for mining companies,” said dss+ Director for Australia and New Zealand Andrew Wilson.” Its use cases extend far beyond simply fuelling heavy trucks.”

BNP said in March of this year it is working with engineering firm Hatch to develop an electric smelting furnace (ESF) in Australia, which would use hydrogen to replace the coking coal that it mines in Queensland to process the iron ore it produces in Western Australia (WA).

In May, Anglo American unveiled a prototype of its 220-ton hydrogen-powered ultra-class mine haul truck, capable of carrying a 290-tonne payload, at its mine in Mogalakwena, South Africa. The miner has since made a $200 million investment in global carbon reduction company First Mode with whom it plans to retrofit about 400 ultra-class haul trucks with First Mode’s proprietary hybrid fuel cell battery system.

Switching to hydrogen fuel will help Anglo American remove up to 80% of diesel emissions at its open pit mines, according to its calculations.

The mining giant considered options including synthetic fuels and biofuels before it became “crystal clear” hydrogen was the right solution for converting its fleet of diesel-powered monster trucks to a clean alternative, according to CEO Duncan Wanblad.

Anglo plans to make its own hydrogen and is in the process of building the 140 MW of solar needed at Mogalakwena to power the electrolysers that will produce the clean fuel.

Hydrogen’s characteristics have made it the choice for other suppliers of plant machinery as well. UK-based JCB developed a hydrogen combustion engine to power its next generation of loaders and diggers because about 97% of construction machines are refuelled while working on site. Hydrogen allows them to continue to work in a manner they are used to, filling up in a matter of minutes, rather than sitting idle for hours while a battery is recharged.

Moreover, clean hydrogen’s use in mining is more than a trucking story. Green hydrogen can also be used to manufacture low-emission explosives, as well as fuel metallurgical processes, backup power generation and personnel transport among other things.

UK-based JCB developed a hydrogen combustion engine to power its next generation of loaders and diggers because about 97% of construction machines are refuelled while working on site. Hydrogen allows them to continue to work in a manner they are used to, filling up in a matter of minutes, rather than sitting idle for hours while a battery is recharged.

Just last week, Carlton Power said it had signed agreements with Imerys and Sibelco to supply green hydrogen fuel to their clay mining operations near Plymouth in the southwest of England. A 5-mile underground pipeline will send the clean hydrogen from Carlton’s Langage Green Hydrogen project, replacing natural gas in the miners’ calcining operations.

A number of miners are exploring the use of hydrogen in the direct reduction of iron ore. As mentioned above, BHP is looking to replace highly polluting coking coal that it mines in Queensland with hydrogen to process its Pilbara iron ore in the steelmaking process.

Sweden’s LKAB, manager of the world’s largest underground iron-ore mine, is also using hydrogen to process iron ore for its customers.

“When we deliver iron ore pellets, they consist of both iron and oxygen. To remove oxygen, our clients today use coal and carbon, which form carbon dioxide,” said Susanne Eriksson Rostmark, a researcher at LKAB. “In this new process, we will use hydrogen that removes oxygen and makes only water vapour. So, it’s a totally carbon dioxide-free production.”

Hydrogen is not only powering a cleaner global economy; it is decarbonising the industries that will help us deliver a cleaner industrial future.

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A new Chief Executive Officer has been appointed by leading bus manufacturer Wrightbus.

Jean-Marc Gales has spent over 30 years in the automotive industry and brings a wealth of technical, engineering, commercial and sales experience as a very senior executive, most recently serving as Chairman of Williams Advanced Engineering before its sale to Fortescue Future Industries.

In a distinguished career, Jean-Marc has led the successful turnaround of Lotus as CEO. He was a former CEO of Peugeot and Citroen, where he delivered an impressive new product portfolio, and CEO of CLEPA, the European Association of Automotive Suppliers. Jean-Marc is a board member of EuroGroup Laminations S.p.A., which recently listed on Euronext Milan after the execution of a successful growth strategy.

Jean-Marc Gales, successful former CEO of Peugeot and Citroen and Lotus, is the newly appointed CEO of leading UK zero-carbon bus manufacturer Wrightbus.

He joins Wrightbus at an exciting time for the company, with significant orders for its class and plans to develop a green hydrogen production facility at the company’s Ballymena headquarters.

Jean-Marc said: “I am delighted to be joining Wrightbus and look forward to building on the considerable success the company has recently achieved in the zero-emissions sector. Wrightbus is leading the way in technological advances in hydrogen fuel cell buses, and has developed world-leading efficient electric power trains, used for hydrogen and battery electric powered buses. Our technological prowess places us in a prime position for growth and global expansion, which will be my focus as CEO.

“Our workforce is at the forefront of zero-emissions transport and I am very much looking forward to working with, and building on, the talented team in Ballymena, who have driven Wrightbus’s reputation across the UK, Ireland and around the world.”

Jamie Burns, Wrightbus Chief Financial Officer, said: “We are delighted to welcome Jean-Marc to the Wrightbus team. His background in manufacturing and his track record in successfully transforming companies coupled with his enthusiasm make him the ideal person to realise the global potential of our zero-emission technology.”

Wrightbus, based in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, builds the world’s lightest bus chassis and developed the world’s first double-deck hydrogen bus and the world’s most efficient double deck battery-electric bus. Owned by Jo Bamford, who bought the business in 2019, Wrightbus is at the vanguard of the zero-emission bus movement.

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Aviation accounts for approximately 2% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, although its overall impact on climate change is believed to be considerably greater when non-CO2 emissions are also taken into account.

As other sectors decarbonise, this percentage is only going to increase significantly. To address the issue, the industry has begun to take measures to adopt sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) – a hydrocarbon fuel that can lower lifecycle emissions. However, given the scope of the problem, there is a growing focus on the potential of new alternative propulsion technologies, namely battery and hydrogen-powered aircraft, that don’t rely on carbon at all.

Battery-electric aircraft use batteries to power electric motors, which drive the propeller directly, eliminating all in-flight emissions. By 2035, the range of battery-electric aircraft is projected to be up to 400 km, potentially increasing to 600 km by 2050.

Hydrogen fuel cells can convert hydrogen and air into electricity and water. The use of fuel cell technology in aircraft will significantly reduce in-flight emissions, enabling the design of electric aircraft with a significantly longer range than battery-powered aircraft. By 2030, fuel cell aircraft could have a range of approximately 2,000 km and potentially up to 4,000 km by 2035.

Aviation accounts for approximately 2% of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, although its overall impact on climate change is believed to be considerably greater when non-CO2 emissions are also taken into account.

The World Economic Forum has emphasised the pressing need for investments in airport infrastructure to enable the widespread adoption of hydrogen and electric aircraft by 2050.

Meeting the global demand for hydrogen and electric aircraft may require between 600 to 1,700 terawatt hours of clean energy, which is comparable to the energy output of 10 to 25 of the world’s biggest wind farms.

With hydrogen and battery-powered aircraft forecast to make up anywhere between 21% to 38% of flights by 2050, according to certain projections, the need for the corresponding infrastructure is indeed pressing.

David Hyde, Aerospace Projects Lead at the World Economic Forum said: “The aviation sector must make key investments in its infrastructure now if it wants to reach its net-zero target by 2050. Given that the share of aviation’s global warming impact is set to rise significantly if action is not taken, the sector must consider all the options available for decarbonization. This includes preparing to use aircraft that are powered by carbon-free fuels at scale.”

Initial commercial flights powered by these aircraft are projected to occur within this decade. To provide the required green hydrogen and electricity to these aircraft, airports, airlines, and other stakeholders will have to make substantial infrastructure investments.

The World Economic Forum has emphasised the pressing need for investments in airport infrastructure to enable the widespread adoption of hydrogen and electric aircraft by 2050.

In a new report developed by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with McKinsey titled ‘Target True Zero: Delivering the Infrastructure for Battery and Hydrogen-Powered Flight’ the necessary infrastructure modifications are examined. The report outlines the measures airports and other stakeholders can take to prepare for them. It concludes that transitioning to alternative propulsion methods will necessitate a capital investment ranging from $700 billion to $1.7 trillion throughout the value chain by 2050.

“Ground infrastructure will be an important unlock for battery-electric and hydrogen aircraft as they become available in the next decade, as an additional option to make aviation sustainable,” said Partner and Co-Leader, McKinsey Center for Future Mobility, Robin Riedel. “It is important that stakeholders across the value chain, from governments to airports to electricity and hydrogen players to airlines begin planning and investing in it.”

Despite the substantial costs involved, the required infrastructure investment for alternative propulsion is comparable to the expenses airports may incur anyway for expansions or upgrades. While investment needs will vary based on airport size, the cost of infrastructure investment for large airports will be in line with other significant expenses, such as constructing a new terminal.For an international hub or a significant regional airport, the required investment costs would be similar to the LaGuardia Airport terminal expansion, or approximately 20% of the expenses incurred for London Heathrow’s third runway project. The expenses for smaller airports will be much lower, as they will not have to cater to larger aircraft that necessitate more advanced infrastructure.

A recent report on the need for airport infrastructure investment in order to transition to clean fuels concludes that alternative propulsion methods will necessitate a capital investment ranging from $700 billion to $1.7 trillion throughout the value chain by 2050.

Since roughly 90% of the required investment will be allocated to off-airport infrastructure, mainly for power generation, hydrogen electrolysis, and liquefaction, the aviation industry will have to collaborate with other sectors to fulfill its infrastructure requirements. This could involve teaming up with energy providers to generate green hydrogen and electricity or partnering with equipment manufacturers for energy storage necessities.

Airports can commence the process of identifying particular stakeholders to collaborate with by mapping out the local hydrogen and energy projects ecosystem.

The World Economic Forum is launching the Airports of Tomorrow initiative to enable executives from the airport ecosystem to address their energy, financing, and infrastructure requirements in the coming years proactively.

In summary, here are the 10 key findings for the aviation sector as outlined by the WEF and McKinsey report:

1. By 2050, the global demand for alternative propulsion may require 600-1,700 TWh of clean energy, which is equivalent to the energy produced by 10-25 of the world’s largest wind farms or a solar farm half the size of Belgium.

2. Large airports may need to consume 5-10 times more electricity by 2050 to support alternative propulsion.

3. Alternative propulsion will require the development of two new infrastructure value chains, one for battery electric aviation and one for hydrogen, which may involve new partners not currently part of the aviation ecosystem.

4. Most airports have adequate space for hydrogen liquefaction and storage infrastructure, but not enough land to generate all the clean energy required for battery-electric and hydrogen aircraft.

5. Shifting to alternative propulsion may require a capital investment ranging from $700 billion to $1.7 trillion across the value chain by 2050.

6. Around 90% of the investment will be for off-airport infrastructure, primarily for power generation, hydrogen electrolysis, and liquefaction.

7. The investment required for airport infrastructure will be significantly higher for large airports than for smaller ones, but it will be of a similar magnitude to other major investments, such as building a new terminal.

8. Operators of alternative propulsion may face costs around 76-86% higher than the market price for green electricity, reflecting additional aviation infrastructure operating expenses.

9. The investment required to meet the 2050 goals must begin now, and the first on-airport infrastructure elements should be in place by 2025 to meet the anticipated energy demand.

10. Coordination of infrastructure investment will be necessary to take advantage of network effects and regional connectivity and make alternative propulsion operations feasible. The aviation industry must collaborate with other industries to obtain enough green electricity and clean hydrogen in a supply-constrained environment and have a say in shaping the future of the hydrogen ecosystem.

Overall, the transition to hydrogen and electric aircraft requires significant public and private investment and coordination, but it is essential for achieving climate targets and ensuring a sustainable future for the aviation industry.

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At a series of meetings in Sapporo, Japan, the G7 Climate Ministers have pledged to create a global market for clean hydrogen, which adheres to international standards.

The seven countries, which represent 40% of the world’s economic activity and a quarter of global carbon emissions, play a vital role in addressing climate change. However, their assistance to less affluent nations, which frequently experience the most severe effects of climate change while having limited resources to address them, is also crucial.

Consisting of the US, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the UK, and with the EU as a “non-enumerated member” in a joint statement, the ministers committed to establishing a transparent global market for clean hydrogen that relies on dependable international standards and certification schemes.

Japan, the third-largest economy in the world, which lacks sufficient energy resources, plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 by utilising a combination of energy sources such as hydrogen, wind, and nuclear power.

However, a Japanese proposal to consider co-firing of ammonia in coal power plants as an eco-friendly solution was rejected by the G7, who stressed the need to prioritise clean hydrogen in the most challenging “hard-to-abate sectors”, i.e those proving hardest to decarbonise, such as heavy industry and transport.

Calling the meetings “really constructive” the U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry continued in an interview with The Associated Press that “I think the unity for the goal that was expressed of phasing out fossil fuels is a very important statement.”

The G7’s statement went on to highlight the exploration of low-carbon and renewable hydrogen derivatives in the power sector, provided they align with the 1.5°C pathway, and the goal of achieving a predominantly decarbonised power sector by 2035.

Pictured: Sapporo, Japan, which played host to the G7 meetings.

The hydrogen-shaped elephant in the room has often been the subject of cost. So reducing the cost gap between low-carbon and renewable hydrogen and its derivatives and fossil fuels is of great importance to the G7. This includes carrying out research, development, and demonstration, as well as creating supporting infrastructure. The objective is to establish a transparent global market and supply chains based on dependable international standards and certification schemes, while also adhering to environmental and social standards, such as avoiding water use conflicts.

The significance of establishing international standards and certification for calculating greenhouse gas emissions during hydrogen production, as well as creating mutual recognition mechanisms for carbon intensity-based tradability, transparency, trustworthiness, and sustainability, has also been underscored.

The G7 has welcomed the report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), “Towards Hydrogen Definitions Based on Their Emissions Intensity,” as a valuable contribution to the conversation about expanding low-emission hydrogen and its derivatives, and promoting a shared understanding, but also cautioned that divergent national standards for clean hydrogen could impede the development of international hydrogen trade.

The collective of Climate Ministers also agreed and emphasised that nations producing low-carbon and renewable hydrogen for both domestic consumption and export should reap the full benefits of their efforts, and continue to do all they can to promote its advancement.

The G7 rejected a proposal from Japan to consider co-firing of ammonia in coal power plants as an eco-friendly solution. (Pictured: Sapporo, Japan)

Furthermore, their statement highlights proposals to incorporate natural gas projects, which address market gaps and elevated prices resulting from Russia’s hostility in Ukraine, into national hydrogen strategies. The ministers underscored the need to narrow the cost disparity between clean hydrogen and fossil fuels through research, development, and infrastructure support while expediting the phasing out of coal-fired power.

Although advanced economies are experiencing a decline in emissions, they have historically contributed the larger share of global carbon. For instance, the United States alone has been responsible for around one-quarter of all global carbon emissions in history. In contrast, emerging markets and developing economies are currently accountable for over two-thirds of global carbon emissions.

The President-elect of the upcoming United Nations climate talks, COP28, who was present at the discussions in Sapporo, released a statement calling on the G7 countries to boost financial aid for developing nations’ switch to clean energy.

Sultan Al Jaber implored other leaders to collaborate in establishing a “new deal” on climate finance that would bolster endeavors to alleviate and adjust to the effects of climate change, while also supporting biodiversity conservation, particularly in developing countries.

“Not enough is getting to the people and places that need it most.” he said, “we must make a fairer deal for the Global South”.

He emphasised both that developed nations must honour their commitment made at the COP15 meeting in 2009, and all COP meetings since to provide $100 billion, and that the next round of climate talks is scheduled to take place in Dubai in late November 2023.

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Low-carbon hydrogen is gaining traction as a highly promising solution to hasten the decarbonisation of high-emitting industries and promote a more environmentally friendly future. According to a recent report by the Capgemini Research Institute, 62% of heavy industry companies in various sectors are considering the implementation of low-carbon hydrogen to replace carbon-intensive systems. Energy and Utilities companies, on average, anticipate that low-carbon hydrogen will account for 18% of total energy consumption by 2050, and they are mobilizing investments in the hydrogen value chain to advance infrastructure development, cost-effective electrolysers, and fuel cells.

The report highlights the widespread belief among organizations that low-carbon hydrogen will play a significant role in achieving emissions and sustainability objectives over the long term. Specifically, 63% of Energy and Utilities (E&U) organizations regard low-carbon hydrogen as crucial to decarbonizing economies, and 62% believe it can reduce reliance on fossil fuels and boost energy independence.

Survey respondents indicate that low-carbon hydrogen has the potential to satisfy as much as 55% of hydrogen mix targets by 2050. E&U organizations are allocating an average of 0.4% of their total annual revenue towards low-carbon hydrogen initiatives by 2030, with the majority of investments focused on hydrogen energy transport and distribution (53%), production (52%), and research and development (45%).

Energy and Utilities companies, on average, anticipate that low-carbon hydrogen will account for 18% of total energy consumption by 2050

Group ClimateTech Lead at Capgemini, Florent Andrillon, says “Low-carbon hydrogen is crucial in the clean energy mix for decarbonising priority high-emission sectors such as industry and transportation, and thus combating global warming. Scaling the initiatives we see today will require significant investment in R&D, collaboration across the value chain, clear partnership strategies, and tailored business-case assessments. Organizations must establish the right collaboration throughout the value chain, secure their offtake, develop hydrogen-competence centers, and harness technologies like simulations, digital twins and traceability solutions to scale their low-carbon hydrogen initiatives successfully. While achieving measurable success won’t be easy, we have the opportunity to create a decarbonized future.”

Over the last three years, the global demand for hydrogen has surged by over 10% across various industries and regions. This trend is forecasted to persist, especially in conventional hydrogen uses like petroleum refining, chemicals, and fertilizers. Petroleum refining firms, in particular, project a considerable impact on their industry by 2030, with 94% anticipating such an effect. Likewise, 83% of chemical and fertilizer organizations predict a similar outcome.

The rise in hydrogen demand continues apace from applications including heavy-duty transportation, aviation, and maritime. Although these sectors may take longer to mature, organisations in these fields are optimistic about their potential and exploring innovative cost-saving measures and business models to enable scalability.

However, the most significant potential for low-carbon hydrogen lies in sectors where electrification is not feasible, and localized volumes can sustain use cases in the near term. For example, 71% of E&U organizations view low-carbon hydrogen as a viable solution for energy storage from intermittent renewable sources. It acts as a battery, enabling renewable energy, such as wind and solar, to power more applications.

The rise in hydrogen demand continues apace from applications including heavy-duty transportation, aviation, and maritime.

The rising demand for low-carbon hydrogen is accompanied by known challenges in its production. Meeting the necessary investments and growing supply and demand requires partnerships, ecosystems, and collaboration between established and new hydrogen players, as well as transparent and open markets.

Despite the challenges in sourcing low-carbon electricity and the high costs of electrolysers, E&U organisations are optimistic about low-carbon hydrogen. Almost half (49%) of these organizations expect its cost to decrease steadily by 2040.

Furthermore, many organizations are still in the early stages of exploring low-carbon hydrogen, with most at the proof-of-concept or pilot phase. Only a small percentage have fully integrated low-carbon hydrogen projects into their operations. To achieve widespread adoption and commercialisation of low-carbon hydrogen, crucial infrastructure and engineering challenges must be overcome, in addition to addressing cost and energy issues. But the enormous scale of the opportunity in the growing hydrogen sector for investment, decarbonisation and job creation is evident.

Different sectors face unique challenges when it comes to scaling up the use of hydrogen. For instance, in heavy transport, 65% of organisations cite the need to scale up the production of hydrogen fuel cells as the biggest infrastructure and engineering challenge. In aviation, 58% of respondents report the need for aircraft design modifications to accommodate low-carbon hydrogen as a fuel source. Meanwhile, 72% of those in the steel industry say that significant infrastructure upgrades are necessary for large-scale hydrogen-based steel production.

Apart from infrastructure, engineering, and cost challenges, growing demand for specialized skills and expertise is also identified as a significant obstacle to scaling up the use of hydrogen.

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Clean transport will be the main use of the hydrogen produced by the winners of grants from the UK’s Net Zero Hydrogen Fund, as well as industrial applications including a first-of-its-kind chemicals project.

Nine of the 15 projects awarded a total of £37.9m from the £240 million government fund explicitly mention transport, including Ballymena Hydrogen, the production facility being built by Hygen and Wrightbus in Northern Ireland to support the rollout of zero-emission hydrogen buses.

The project at Wrightbus aims to address the lack of local hydrogen production in Northern Ireland by installing and operating a multi-megawatt low carbon hydrogen production and distribution system at the factory in Ballymena that will have the capability of meeting the total hydrogen demand of more than 250 buses. The hydrogen produced will be distributed in the area by Ryze Hydrogen.

In Wales, the Trecwn Green Energy Hub will host a 15MW electrolyser, producing clean hydrogen to help decarbonise local industry and transport, potentially including a spur from the Fishguard to Swansea rail line. Easy access to nearby ports and harbours on the Welsh coast also creates a possible market for maritime offtakers.

Subject to planning a production facility is being built by Hygen and Wrightbus in Northern Ireland (at Wrightbus HQ) to support the rollout of zero-emission hydrogen buses. The hydrogen produced will be distributed across the region by Ryze Hydrogen.

Conrad Energy Hydrogen in Lowestoft has identified operators of marine vessels serving offshore wind turbines as potential buyers of its output. It also sees the hydrogen it produces being used as a fuel for industry, buses, refuse trucks or grid injection.

The Inverness Green Hydrogen Hub is expected to house between 6 MW and 24 MW of electrolyser capacity and foresees major users of its output coming from rail, road transport, fuel distribution, freight, retail, and industry.

Mannok Green Hydrogen Valley is another Northern Ireland-based project. It aims to enable the decarbonisation of Mannok’s extensive fleet of heavy goods vehicles and transition to zero emission truck technologies, including hydrogen. The project plans to utilise curtailed or unused wind energy that cannot be accepted onto the grid and will also make use of the oxygen produced from the electrolysis of water to significantly improve the efficiency of its industrial processes.

Ryze Hydrogen and British Gas have received funding to demonstrate the use of mobile compressed refuelling units (MCRUs), initially on British Gas’ fleet of vans in the UK. The project will showcase the benefits of MCRUs, which combine storage, compression and dispensers all on one chassis, taking up minimal land space for designated periods of time in a constrained environment.

Ryze will be the offtaker for the project, supplying British Gas vehicles and potentially Centrica’s wider fleet. Once demonstrated, the MCRU concept can be rolled out to supply hydrogen for vehicle refuelling to other customers.

Lanarkshire Green Hydrogen will combine 15 MW of electrolysis capacity with an onshore windfarm for the first time in the UK, producing 3.5 tonnes a day of green hydrogen. The output from the project, which is being developed by Octopus Energy, will be used to replace high carbon fuels, such as diesel, helping to decarbonise sectors such as commercial transport.

Also in Scotland, The Knockshinnoch Green Hydrogen Hub Project will connect 4 MW of wind power to 2.5 MW of electrolysers to produce hydrogen through an entirely off-grid system. The hydrogen will be compressed and stored in modular units, enabling the rapid filling of mobile trailers which will move the hydrogen to power the region’s zero emission bus and truck fleets.

The hydrogen production project at Wrightbus aims to address the lack of local hydrogen production in Northern Ireland by installing and operating a multi-megawatt low carbon hydrogen production and distribution system at the factory in Ballymena, that will have the capability of meeting the total hydrogen demand of more than 250 buses.

Port of Felixstowe Green Hydrogen Project will allow Hutchison Ports switch machinery, including terminal tractors, cranes and rail shunters, as well as on-site vehicles, from diesel to clean hydrogen.

Decarbonising transport that cannot be electrified via batteries is a key goal for the UK as it aims to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The sector is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the UK, accounting for 24% of emissions.

While the majority of passenger cars will use batteries, many larger vehicles, buses, commercial vehicles and long-distance transport will likely turn to hydrogen as it enables longer journeys, faster refuelling and greater geographical flexibility.

As well as addressing decarbonisation of the transport sector, recipients of grants from the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund were also focused on hard-to-decarbonise industrial sectors.

Maybe the most interesting of these projects is a joint venture by Progressive Energy, Statkraft, and Foresight Group, which plans to deploy green hydrogen production at TATA Chemical Europe’s Winnington and Middlewich sites in Cheshire. Hydrogen will be used as a replacement for natural gas to fuel steam-raising boilers.

Port of Felixstowe Green Hydrogen Project will allow Hutchison Ports switch machinery, including terminal tractors, cranes and rail shunters, as well as on-site vehicles, from diesel to clean hydrogen.

This use of green hydrogen as a fuel in the chemicals industry will arguably be a world-first. The combination of green hydrogen production and chemicals manufacturing represents significant levels of innovation, particularly in respect of systems and controls integration.

Elsewhere, the same consortium of Progressive Energy, Statkraft, and Foresight Group are planning to build a green hydrogen production plant at Pilkington UK Limited’s Greengate Works in St. Helen’s. The clean hydrogen will replace natural gas in the main float glass furnace, dramatically reducing carbon emissions.

The range of innovative projects being supported by the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund reflects the breadth of talent in the UK’s engineering and manufacturing base.

We look forward to seeing these projects coming to fruition.

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Innovative technologies that can facilitate electric flying taxis and hydrogen-powered aircraft are being voraciously developed in the UK.

In 2019, the aviation industry was responsible for 2.4% of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. Meanwhile, in the UK, aviation (including both international and domestic flights) contributed to 8% of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions; so the investment in hydrogen technology we’re seeing in aviation is not surprising.

Rolls-Royce have recently been granted £82.8 million to invest in three projects aimed at progressing liquid hydrogen jet engines.

Meanwhile budget airline easyjet (one of Rolls Royce’s collaborators on the hydrogen engine development) has demonstrated its bid to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, by placing its confidence in hydrogen-powered aircraft, anticipating that the zero-carbon technology will transform the environmental consequences of air travel in the next few decades.

Earlier in the year we saw a significant advancement in zero-emission aviation as ZeroAvia successfully flew the largest aircraft in the world powered by a hydrogen-electric engine. Conducting the inaugural flight of its 19-seat Dornier 228 testbed plane, ZeroAvia had retrofitted the aircraft with a full-scale prototype hydrogen-electric powertrain mounted on the left wing of the aircraft.

Hydrogen is considered the most feasible fuel source for Zero Emission Flight (ZEF) in the future. The New Aviation Propulsion Knowledge and Innovation Network has proposed that the entire regional fleet in the UK can be replaced with certified, safe, zero-carbon emission aircraft by 2040. Such a timeline underscores the necessity for an immediate overhaul of essential infrastructure to facilitate and sustain hydrogen operations.

The Jet Zero Strategy, published by the UK Government in 2022, set the ambitious target of achieving net zero flying by 2050. This objective poses a significant challenge for technology and industry. If current trends continue, aviation is projected to become one of the leading contributors to greenhouse gas emissions by the middle of the century. Fulfilling this goal will necessitate large-scale and rapid decarbonisation, which will require innovation across all levels of the aviation industry. This includes developing new planes and fuels, as well as upgrading airports and infrastructure.

In the pursuit of decarbonising the aviation industry, the Jet Zero Strategy highlights the significant role that Zero Emission Flight can play. Therefore Airports and airfields are of course crucial in facilitating the objectives of ZEF.  Plans are urgently required for the necessary infrastructure, which must evolve rapidly to meet the demands of future operations and will need to be implemented with the utmost safety and minimal disruption to services.

Budget airline easyjet has demonstrated its bid to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, by placing its confidence in hydrogen-powered aircraft, anticipating that the zero-carbon technology will transform the environmental consequences of air travel in the next few decades.

The Department for Transport (DfT) launched the Zero Emission Flight Infrastructure (ZEFI) programme, to unite academia, regulators, and industry to recognise the workable infrastructure and vital needs of support systems necessary to enable Zero Emission Flight implementation in UK aviation. A report based on the infrastructure outlined in the ZEFI Blueprint develops a model that can recognise appropriate infrastructure options for airports and airfields. The Connected Places Catapult carried out the study and presented the findings.

This report details suitable infrastructure, referred to as ‘archetypes,’ for airports and airfields of various sizes to accommodate gaseous and liquid hydrogen-fuelled aircraft between 2030 and 2050. The study’s scope focuses on hydrogen-powered aviation, and the model includes the entire process, from the delivery of hydrogen fuel to the airport or airfield to its connection with the aircraft. The analysis considers airports with regular commercial flights, and presented hydrogen-powered take-off and landing of fixed-wing aircraft.

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When it comes to discussions around the role of hydrogen in the transition away from fossil fuels there’s been a shift in the language used at the top of Government.  And as the IPCC issues its stark and ‘final warnings’ re climate change we’re starting to see rhetoric exchanged for actual deal making and significant plans developing in the hydrogen sector.

This week the UK energy secretary, Grant Shapps, stated that the production of hydrogen using surplus renewable and nuclear energy sources will be highly significant.

According to Mr.Shapps the UK will soon announce a series of policy measures regarding clean hydrogen, which he believes will be transformative for the industry, akin to a “Big Bang” moment.

Last week, while being questioned by the House of Commons Environmental Audit select committee, Shapps stated multiple times that he could not provide complete answers to certain questions as a new hydrogen strategy was about to be released. It’s what the rapidly growing but nascent hydrogen industry is looking forward to.

The IPCC has issued stark and ‘final warnings’ re climate change and the urgent need to decarbonise our economies with a ‘now or never’ moment.

“What’s really interesting is at night time, those [cost] figures can turn negative and that can be a windy night where we haven’t really got much to do with the energy… if we could use that energy and convert it into hydrogen at that point in time, that would be incredible.

“The same with nuclear power…when there’s high renewables going on and we don’t need that baseload…you could turn it into hydrogen, then you can see how this whole ecosystem can, and I think will, be very, very significant in the future.”

When questioned about the timeline for the large-scale production of green or blue hydrogen in the UK, Shapps responded by saying that a significant announcement was forthcoming. He stated, “There’s a big bang moment with a lot of information coming your way very soon. You’ll actually have actual timescales, almost dates attached to it.”

Shapps provided some hints about the potential contents of the new policies, expressing his belief in the value of blending 20% hydrogen into the natural gas network and describing the use of surplus energy to produce green or pink hydrogen as “incredible.”

Last week, while being questioned by the House of Commons Environmental Audit select committee, Energy Secretrary Grant Shapps stated that a new hydrogen strategy was about to be released. It’s what the rapidly growing but nascent UK hydrogen industry is looking forward to.

Extensive trials and tests in UK and other countries are still ongoing for hydrogen in the home, and although early results have been positive, safety, cost and efficiency all still under the microscope.

During the committee hearing, Shapps revealed that he spends nights reviewing a website that provides real-time information on the sources of the UK’s electricity and the cost per MWh.

By the end of 2025, the UK aims to produce 1GW of green hydrogen and 1GW of blue hydrogen, as well as 10GW of clean hydrogen by 2030, with at least half of the production through electrolysis.

One thing is certain: clean hydrogen has the potential to transform the global energy landscape by providing a versatile, low-carbon fuel that can support the transition to a sustainable and renewable future.

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According to an announcement from the Chancellor, Germany is planning to construct 17-21GW of new power plants capable of utilising hydrogen, in addition to natural gas. These facilities will primarily serve as backup power sources in situations where renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are insufficient to meet the demand.

According to Reuters, Chancellor Olaf Scholz stated in his speech that Germany intends to construct gas-fired power plants capable of using hydrogen, with a capacity of 17-21GW.

“We are not losing sight of the goal of decarbonization: in order to stabilise supply, we will build new gas-fired power plants which can be operated with hydrogen in the future,” he told the VKU local utilities association.

Reuters obtained a copy of the speech which stated that the new facilities would have a capacity of 17-21GW. As reported by the Euractiv news website in January, an internal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action document highlighted the need to build 17-21GW of new gas-fired capacity by 2030-31 for backup power during periods of low wind and sun, as recommended by the grid regulator, the Federal Network Agency.

Germany is planning to construct 17-21GW of new power plants capable of utilising hydrogen, in addition to natural gas. These facilities will primarily serve as backup power sources in situations where renewable energy sources such as wind and solar are insufficient to meet the demand.

Robert Habeck, who serves as both minister for economic affairs and climate action as well as deputy chancellor, announced in February that the government plans to auction off a significant number of hydrogen-fired power plants and other backup power capacity this year.

“We need a lot of power plant capacity that is not running continuously,” he said speaking at an event organised by the German renewables industry association BEE, then added that the plants will provide power when wind and solar power were insufficient to meet demand. “We have to act before the demand is there,” he said.

A consortium received €28.4m ($30m) in hydrogen investment funding from the German government last week to construct a hydrogen energy-storage pilot project in eastern Germany. The project will serve as a “real-world laboratory” to test the future conversion of conventional power plants into facilities capable of utilizing excess renewable energy. This facility will produce green hydrogen using excess wind and solar power, which will then be stored and utilized to generate power for the grid as required, similar to a gas-fired peaker plant.

Pictured: power plant cooling towers at night. Germany is planning to construct 17-21GW of new power plants capable of utilising hydrogen, in addition to natural gas.

The addition of 17-21GW of gas-fired power capacity marks a significant increase from Germany’s existing capacity of 27.5GW, as of November last year.

To support its transition towards renewable energy, Germany has plans to import large quantities of green hydrogen in the upcoming years. The country has already initiated international tenders to import green ammonia, methanol, and synthetic fuels produced using renewable hydrogen.

The announcement tallies with the big opportunities for the UK being discussed last week at the 18th UK Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Conference at the Birmingham NEC – namely a shift to renewable energy, with hydrogen energy generated in (winter) periods of high wind, stored and made available to compensate during low wind periods.

Meanwhile the UK government is preparing a swathe of new measures to support the UK’s hydrogen sector.

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

The government is preparing a swathe of new measures to support the UK’s hydrogen sector as it seeks to respond to aggressive subsidies from the U.S. and the EU.

The administration of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is readying a “plethora of announcements” on hydrogen, Graham Stuart, the outgoing minister with responsibility for the UK’s hydrogen strategy told parliament last week.

“Hydrogen is an important area in which we are a world leader; it is my intention to ensure that we remain in pole position,” he said in response to a question from Conservative MP Alexander Stafford.

“We will also be making announcements in the next few weeks about hydrogen, carbon capture and the future there, and I have already committed in the House to accelerating our approach to that,” Stuart said in response to a separate question.

The timing is important because some of the UK’s competitors for hydrogen investment, notably the U.S. and the EU, have been ramping up their support for the clean fuel in recent months.

While the UK was the first country in the world to announce a subsidy scheme for clean hydrogen production in the first half of 2022, it has since been overshadowed by the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, which offers subsidies of as much as $3 per kg for the cleanest hydrogen.

The administration of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is readying a “plethora of announcements” on hydrogen, Graham Stuart, the outgoing minister with responsibility for the UK’s hydrogen strategy told parliament last week.

As well as $369 billion of subsidies and incentives for electric vehicles, carbon capture, renewable energy and clean hydrogen, the IRA also contain strict made-in-America rules that mean imported hydrogen doesn’t benefit from the same incentives.

Goldman Sachs described the law as a “turning point” for the economics of hydrogen that makes green hydrogen (produced by splitting water with electrolysers powered by renewable energy) profitable at scale.

The EU has been no slouch itself when it comes to hydrogen support. It launched REPowerEU in May of last year as a strategy to wean itself off Russian hydrocarbons and includes measures to increase hydrogen production capacity, develop partnerships with other producing nations to build hydrogen corridors in the Mediterranean and the North Sea.

The EU has since announced further hydrogen initiatives including €10.6 billion for hydrogen-related projects through Hy2Use and Hy2Tech and at least €3 billion for the so-called European Hydrogen Bank, which will become a market-maker for hydrogen by guaranteeing purchases to create certainty of demand.

The government is preparing a swathe of new measures to support the UK’s hydrogen sector as it seeks to respond to aggressive subsidies from the U.S. and the EU.

In early February, the EU proposed a “Green Deal Industrial Plan” specifically designed to counter the IRA. It includes plans to loosen the regulatory environment around green projects, reducing red tape and enabling the fast-tracking of projects, such as clean hydrogen. It also proposes weakening state aid rules in the short-term to allow governments to support companies more freely, while preparing a European Sovereignty Fund in the medium term, although there has been some pushback against this because of the risk to the bloc’s level playing field.

The UK was the first to the punch when it came to designing support for clean hydrogen. The UK opened the application window for the Hydrogen Business Model in July 2022 along with £240 million Net Zero Hydrogen Fund, and aims to support at least 250 MW in the first allocation round. A shortlist of successful projects is expected to be announced in early 2023, although an exact date is yet to be provided.

The UK scheme works in a similar manner to renewable energy auctions in that a strike price is negotiated with the government on a project-by-project basis, enabling it to recover the cost of production and make a return on investment.

While that potentially represents quite a generous incentive, it caps profits in a way that the IRA does not. So how should the UK government respond and what would we like to see in the “plethora” of forthcoming announcements?

One key benefit of the UK having left the EU is that it is no longer beholden to the bloc’s state-aid rules, meaning that the government’s hands are not tied when it comes to supporting domestic industry. Obviously, there is not an unlimited pot of money to draw upon but increased direct support for the nation’s hydrogen industry would pay dividends for years to come.

The UK has been a leader in the emerging hydrogen economy. Pictured: JCB’s hydrogen refuelling truck; the construction manufacturing giant has also developed an award-winning hydrogen combustion engine.

To see an appropriate loosening of planning rules for both green hydrogen projects and the renewable-energy projects that support them would of course encourage efforts. Faster speed to market will support hydrogen investment in this country, supporting jobs and helping us achieve our net zero goals. Investment in infrastructure that supports both the renewable energy industry with a more robust and responsive grid and a pipeline network to transport hydrogen to end users would be money well spent.

Support for the transformation of industries, such as steelmaking that require massive investment in hydrogen to decarbonise, is also essential to the future of the UK economy.

The UK has been a leader in the emerging hydrogen economy. As well as the Hydrogen Business Model, the £26 million Industrial Hydrogen Accelerator Programme run by the Department for Business and Industrial Strategy has awarded millions of pounds already to projects aiming to decarbonise industries including asphalt, cement, steel and ceramics. £25 million of funding for technologies for producing hydrogen from biomass and waste was unveiled last year, while a £20 million competition in the Tees Valley to explore how hydrogen can be used to reduce emissions in the transport sector was launched in October 2022.

We have achieved so much. Now is the time to keep our foot firmly on the pedal.

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

Green hydrogen projects are getting bigger. The largest currently under construction is Ordos, a 390 MW system being built by China’s state-owned oil refining giant Sinopec that will produce about 30,000 tonnes of green hydrogen a year in Inner Mongolia.

Once complete, it will displace another Sinopec project, the 250 MW Kuqa, under construction in the west of Xinjiang, as the world’s biggest.

Ordos will be powered by 450 MW of wind and 270 MW of solar, and will include 288,000 cubic metres of hydrogen storage and a series of pipelines that will deliver clean hydrogen to its main customer, Zhongtian Hechuang Ordos Coal Deep Processing plant, which makes synthetic chemicals.

The clean hydrogen from Ordos will replace hydrogen that is currently produced from coal, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 1.43 million tons per year. The 5.7 billion yuan ($848 million) hydrogen investment is expected to contribute 600 million yuan a year to local GDP.

Ordos will include 288,000 cubic metres of hydrogen storage and a series of pipelines that will deliver clean hydrogen to its main customer, Zhongtian Hechuang Ordos Coal Deep Processing plant.

If those numbers seem big, Sinopec describes Ordos as a demonstration project and has said it plans to make 60% of its hydrogen green by 2025, which would equate to 2.1 million tonnes of green hydrogen a year.

That would mean 70 projects the size of Ordos in the next 3 years.

As part of its strategy, Sinopec is building a 1 GW PEM electrolyser factory with U.S. company Cummins in southern China and is working with France’s Air Liquide on development of a hydrogen distribution network.

As the second-largest economy in the world and one that desperately needs to reduce its carbon emissions, it is encouraging to see China pursuing hydrogen at such scale to meet its decarbonisation goals. However, hydrogen mega-projects are not confined to China.

In fact, according to a recent analysis by Norway’s Rystad Energy, the three biggest producers of green hydrogen by 2030 will be Australia, the U.S. and Spain.

Australia’s status as the biggest green hydrogen producer hinges on the completion of the 1.6 million tonnes per year Asian Renewable Energy Hub that is scheduled to be producing at full capacity by 2029. In 2022, BP acquired 40.5% of the project, which will be powered by 25 GW of wind and solar energy.

The Spanish government has approved 10 major green hydrogen projects thus far, including Puertollano, a 20-MW plant built by Fertiberia and Iberdrola that began operation last year.

BP is also behind one of the biggest green hydrogen projects in the UK, HyGreen Teesside, which is expected to have a capacity of 80 MW by 2025 and 500 MW by 2030.

On the other side of the country, the 200 MW Trafford Green Hydrogen project, being built by Carlton Power and Cadent among others, received planning permission in October of last year.

Meanwhile plans have recently been unveiled for an innovative multi-million pound green hydrogen production facility at the Ballymena headquarters of globally renowned sustainable bus manufacturer Wrightbus.

New green hydrogen projects are attracting investment every day across the world. As the hydrogen economy scales up, we expect the numbers will only get bigger, powering the much needed decarbonisation of transportenergy, manufacturing and heavy industry.

To learn more about HYCAP click here.

The world’s oldest sailing race has a fossil fuel problem.

While the vessels that compete for the storied trophy rely on the wind to propel themselves across the oceans, the chase boats that supply critical support to the competitors have continued to use gasoline-fuelled outboard motors.

Chase boats are used extensively in the America’s Cup and other sailing races by the pit crew and emergency response teams. They follow the racing yachts during races and are first on the scene in the event of a crash, capsize or mechanical failure.

The chase boats are also used to service the yachts between each race and tow them to and from shore at the start and end of each day’s session.

Keeping up with the yachts has become increasingly challenging – those competing in 2021’s race reached speeds of up to 53 knots (60 mph). The chase boat used by that year’s winner, Emirates Team New Zealand, was a 45-foot catamaran powered by four 300-horsepower V6 Yamaha outboard motors.

As the reigning champions, Emirates Team New Zealand was tasked with creating the new protocol for the 2024 event and last year unveiled Chase Zero, a hydrogen fuel cell-powered chase boat.

While the vessels that compete for the storied trophy rely on the wind to propel themselves across the oceans, the chase boats that supply critical support to the competitors have continued to use gasoline-fuelled outboard motors.

With little in the way of existing technologies to draw upon, the team set about designing and building a sport’s first hydrogen support vessel to be used not only by themselves but by every team taking part. The 10-metre-long boat seats six people, has a top speed of 50 knots and a four-hour range at 30 knots, as well as the ability to carry 550 pounds of gear in excess of any passengers.

In testing, Chase Zero has exceeded expectations and outperformed its predecessor, cruising at 28.3 knots for almost 6 hours and using just 86% of the fuel in its tanks in the process.

If Emirates Team New Zealand had done the same mileage in a regular 11-metre chase boat with twin 250 hp outboard motors, they would have used 825 litres of fuel, 25 litres more than its full capacity, i.e., it would have run out of gas.

Emirates Team New Zealand hasn’t achieved this feat all by itself: Toyota provided the pre-production hydrogen fuel cells units; Hiringa has supplied the green hydrogen that fuels the boats, Global Bus helped design and install the hydrogen fuel cell power train; and Gurit assisted with the structural design of the craft.

It appears that Emirates Team New Zealand’s investment in hydrogen is already paying off, delivering a considerably cleaner America’s Cup in 2024 – each team will have to use at least one hydrogen support vessel.

The race is also expected to act as a blueprint for the sport as a whole as technology trickles down to other categories of yacht racing. It’s fair to say that clean hydrogen has the wind in its sails.

To learn more about HYCAP, click here.

The European Commission has published the Delegated Act, defining what constitutes green hydrogen, not only within the EU, but for those who seek to sell the clean fuel into the bloc.

The long-awaited law, which still needs to be approved by the European Parliament and the 27 member states, provides the certainty that many investors have been waiting for before signing off on green hydrogen projects in and around Europe.

The Delegated Act will also unlock EU green hydrogen subsidies that have been on hold until the legislation is passed.

An earlier version of the Delegated Act included strict rules on additionality that required the renewable electricity powering green hydrogen production to come from new, dedicated projects and not from existing capacity that would otherwise have been fed into the grid.

Those rules have been loosened, so that the renewable energy can come from projects that were commissioned up to 36 months before the hydrogen producing elements come online. Also, hydrogen projects that begin operating before the end of 2027 won’t have to adhere to the additionality rules until the beginning of 2038.

Another element of the original Delegated Act was the insistence that green hydrogen producers match the electricity they are using to produce hydrogen with renewable sources every hour in the event the wind stops blowing or the sun stops shining and they are forced to take power from the grid.

A stipulation of the European Commission’s Delegated Act is that the renewable energy being bought to power electrolysers must come from the same geographical “bidding zone”, usually the same country.

The latest iteration of the Delegated Act allows monthly matching until the end of 2029 when hourly matching will come into force. That means if power is taken from the grid, renewable energy can be bought to replace it within a month.

Another stipulation of the Act is that the renewable energy being bought to power electrolysers must come from the same geographical “bidding zone”, usually the same country.

In some cases, additionality will not be required, such as when there is a surplus of electricity being produced by existing renewable energy projects. Instead of the electricity being curtailed (i.e., turned off), as is the case today, it can be used to produce green hydrogen or ammonia.

Additionality rules also don’t apply when 90% of grid electricity came from renewables in the previous calendar year, or has an average emission intensity of less than 18 grams of CO2-equivalent per megajoule (64.8gCO2e/kWh).

That would mean Sweden, with an average carbon intensity last year of 28gCO2e/kWh and France, which has achieved 55-56gCO2e/kWh when a large proportion of its nuclear fleet is up and running, would qualify for producing green hydrogen directly from the grid. Norway is not in the EU, but with average carbon intensity of 30gCO2e/kWh would be able to export green hydrogen powered by its energy grid to the bloc.

Sweden (pictured: Stockholm), with an average carbon intensity last year of 28gCO2e/kWh and France, which has achieved 55-56gCO2e/kWh when a large proportion of its nuclear fleet is up and running, will in theory qualify for producing green hydrogen directly from the grid.

While not as sexy as the release of a new hydrogen-powered sports car or a breakthrough in electrolyser design, these rules are crucial for unleashing the billions of euros of investment the EU needs to reach its goal of 10 million tonnes of domestic green hydrogen production by 2030 and a further 10 million tonnes of imports.

Assuming the Delegated Act passes smoothy through parliament, investors will be able to pull the trigger on green hydrogen projects safe in the knowledge they meet the EU’s requirements.

The same goes for neighbouring countries, including the UK. Scotland, in particular, has plans to produce surplus hydrogen that can be exported to the EU. Developers now know what they need to do meet the EU’s criteria.

To learn more about HYCAP click here.

There was exciting news this week as a final investment decision was taken by U.S. start-up SGH2 Energy on a waste-to-hydrogen plant in California following sign-off from the city council.

The facility will use its patented plasma-enhanced gasification technology to turn 42,000 tonnes of rejected recycled mixed-paper waste a year into 4,500 tons of “greener than green” hydrogen.

Such projects are carbon negative because the feedstock in the form of waste paper would otherwise have gone to landfill and produced methane, a greenhouse gas 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

SGH2’s system uses plasma torches that produce temperatures of up to 4,000 degrees Celsius, turning all solids into gases, about 90% of which is a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide, known as syngas. The carbon monoxide is burned to generate electricity for the process, leaving hydrogen.

While the project represents an important step in the development of carbon negative hydrogen, it is not alone.

U.K. waste-to-hydrogen pioneer Powerhouse Energy has been working with partners to deliver its first facility, at Protos Plastic Park in Cheshire in the northwest of England. Its DMG technology turns a wider range of waste unrecyclable waste, including plastic and end- of-life tyres and turns them into syngas to produce hydrogen, electricity and chemical inputs.

U.K. waste-to-hydrogen pioneer Powerhouse Energy has been working with partners to deliver its first facility, at Protos Plastic Park in Cheshire in the northwest of England.

Luxembourg-based Boson Energy uses a similar process to SGH2. It’s plasma-assisted gasification process turns waste into hydrogen, carbon dioxide and a molten slurry that solidifies into a blue-grey glassy rock.

The UK government has seen the potential in waste-to-hydrogen and provided funding for a number of early-stage projects last year as part of its £5 million Hydrogen BECCS Innovation Programme Phase 1.

Levidian Nanosystems and United Utilities were granted £212,000 for a project to use biogas from wastewater treatment as feedstock to produce hydrogen and graphene through Levidian’s LOOP process.

The UK water industry produces 489 million cubic metres of biogas annually from its anaerobic digestion processes.

Levidian claims its LOOP process produces hydrogen at little to no cost because there is a market for its other product, graphene.

Waste-to-hydrogen technology is also being developed by the University of Aberdeen, which, received £220,000 in funding from the Hydrogen BECCS Innovation Programme.

The University of Aberdeen is working with Cranfield University in England and the University of Verona in Italy to commercialise its four-stage process: dark fermentation, anaerobic digestion, plasma reforming, and steam gasification.

Waste-to-hydrogen technology is also being developed by the University of Aberdeen (pictured Aberdeen, Scotland)

The future of hydrogen is not only green, it’s also a solution to the world’s growing waste problem. And the UK is leading the way by developing cutting-edge technologies that will drive investment in hydrogen for years to come.

To learn more about HYCAP click here.

For a relatively small country, Scotland has huge wind energy resources. While its economy is about 1.2% the size of the Europe Union, its offshore wind potential is between 4% and 6% of Europe’s total.

Used solely to generate electricity, it would have more wind energy than it could use in its domestic economy. But with the help of electrolysers, Scotland can turn much of its renewable energy bounty into clean hydrogen, a resource that can not only be used to decarbonise domestic industry but can be exported by pipeline and ship.

The Scottish government is investing heavily in clean hydrogen – in December 2022, it released its Hydrogen Action Plan with a plan to build 5 GW of clean hydrogen capacity by 2030 (half of the UK’s 10 GW total) and 25 GW by 2045 when it foresees achieving net zero as an economy.

“Our priority is to get as much renewable hydrogen into the energy system as quickly as possible, while also supporting the establishment of low-carbon hydrogen production at scale in the 2020s, linked to carbon capture and storage (CCS),” Michael Matheson, Scotland’s energy secretary said in the action plan’s launch document.

Pictured: Edinburgh. The Scottish government is investing heavily in clean hydrogen – in December 2022, it released its Hydrogen Action Plan with a plan to build 5 GW of clean hydrogen capacity by 2030 (half of the UK’s 10 GW total) and 25 GW by 2045 when it foresees achieving net zero as an economy.

While £80m has been allocated “to support the development of CCUS and CCS-enabled negative emissions technologies in Scotland,” Scotland intends to generate the great majority of its hydrogen from renewable energy, namely wind.

So-called green hydrogen is created by passing water through an electrolyser powered by renewable energy, splitting it into hydrogen and oxygen with no carbon dioxide emissions. Blue hydrogen is made the traditional way, by reforming natural gas, but the carbon emissions are captured for storage or use.

Negative-carbon hydrogen can be produced with biomass or biogas, in which plant matter is used that has already taken carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which is then stored underground.

In 2022, Scotland awarded leases to 20 offshore wind projects with a combined capacity of 27.6 GW. Added to previous projects, it has a total pipeline of more than 40 GW, one of the largest in the world.

Many of those projects have already indicated they plan to produce hydrogen as part of their plans, whether at sea, to be piped back to shore using existing natural gas infrastructure, or on the mainland.

Scotland is at the cutting edge of hydrogen production innovation, having awarded leases to three “hydrogen focused” floating wind projects totalling 2.8GW in the clearing round of last year’s auctions.

Pictured: Offshore turbines off the coast of Scotland. In 2022, Scotland awarded leases to 20 offshore wind projects with a combined capacity of 27.6 GW. Added to previous projects, it has a total pipeline of more than 40 GW, one of the largest in the world.

One of the world’s first floating wind hydrogen projects – the Dolphyn project being built by Engie-owned Tractebel – involves taking 2 MW of Scotland’s 50 MW Kincardine array to produce hydrogen that would be piped to Aberdeen from 2024.

According to the Scottish government, domestic demand for clean hydrogen is expected to come from heavy-duty on and off-road transport, shipping, aviation and industrial high temperature heat. They also foresee hydrogen being used in the production of synthetic fuels and for energy storage to increase the flexibility of the grid, as well as in domestic heating.

Scottish Power and low-carbon development firm Storegga said in May last year they’re planning to develop, build and operate green hydrogen production plants across Scotland to feed the country’s whiskey distilleries.

Scotland is also experimenting with hydrogen-powered rail. In September 2022, a former ScotRail train that has been converted to run on hydrogen began trials on the five-mile Bo’ness & Kinneil Railway heritage line near Linlithgow, West Lothian. Hydrogen could be well suited to Highland and other long-distance rural lines where electrification would not be economically viable.

While domestic hydrogen consumption is expected to be considerable, export plans are already beginning to be explored. An international consortium, including Axens, Chiyoda, EnQuest, ERM, Koole Terminals, Port of Rotterdam, Scottish Government, Shetland Islands Council, Storegga and the Aberdeen-based Net Zero Technology Centre, are working on the Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier (LOHC) for Hydrogen Transport from Scotland (LHyTS) project that hopes to use nascent LOHC technology to send hydrogen from Scotland to Rotterdam.

Pictured: Edinburgh train station from above.

In June 2022, Scotland and Germany signed an agreement to explore options for transporting green hydrogen from Scotland to Bavaria.

Scotland may also be part of the AquaDuctus North Sea hydrogen pipeline project, which recently applied for European Commission for Project of Common Interest status. The 400 km pipeline could be fed by Scottish clean hydrogen projects, facilitating exports to Germany and other countries in continental Europe.

Scotland’s hydrogen ambitions will be helped by two of the nation’s ports receiving Green Freeport status from the Scottish and UK governments earlier this month. Inverness and Cromarty Firth Green Freeport and Forth Green Freeport will receive up to £52 million in start-up funding and will benefit from tax reliefs and other incentives.

Other initiatives to boost hydrogen investment include a loosening of planning rules, signed off by MSPs earlier this month, that will make it easier to build renewable energy projects, including wind.

A lot is riding on Scotland’s successful development of a hydrogen economy. The country has benefited from being the centre of the UK’s oil and gas industry for decades, but output has been in decline and use of fossil fuels is being phased out in the race to reach net zero emissions.

Clean hydrogen could provide Scotland with “greatest industrial opportunity since oil and gas,” Energy Secretary Michael Matheson said in October.

To learn more about HYCAP click here.

More and more companies are waking up to the likelihood that, for many use cases, hydrogen combustion engines are the best next step in their decarbonisation journey.

Some saw this coming earlier than others. JCB, one of the world’s leading plant machinery manufacturers, began working on a project to develop a hydrogen internal combustion engine (ICE) back in July 2020.

JCB soon identified hydrogen ICE as its technology of choice after realising that fuel cells, in their current form, were unlikely to withstand the rigours of life on a building site or quarry. The British company has built prototype backhoe loaders and loadall telescopic handlers powered by hydrogen ICE and is due to give the technology its international debut at the Conexpo trade fair in Las Vegas in March.

JCB, one of the world’s leading plant machinery manufacturers, began working on a project to develop a hydrogen internal combustion engine (ICE) back in July 2020, since when it has won numerous awards for the hydrogen technology that now powers several zero-carbon prototype machines.

Other plant machinery manufacturers have followed suit. In October last year, German company Liebherr debuted its hydrogen-powered R 9XX H2 crawler excavator. The engine can reduce CO2 emissions by almost 100% on a tank-to-wheel basis or by 70% cradle-to-grave, i.e., including the manufacture of the engine itself, Liebherr said at the time.

Hydrogen ICE is also attracting attention from the trucking industry. Engine manufacturer Cummins recently reported strong demand for its hydrogen combustion engines from major logistics companies who see them as less revolutionary than a jump straight to fuel cells from diesel.

That logic was echoed earlier this year by Tata Motors, one of the largest vehicle manufacturers in India, which said it expects hydrogen ICE could be commercialised faster than fuel cells because it’s more tolerant of lower purity hydrogen and because it allows companies like Tata to leverage their existing intellectual property and ICE infrastructure.

While these cases stand a good chance of becoming mainstream, interest in hydrogen ICE isn’t confined to plant machinery and trucks. Passenger vehicle brands Toyota and Porsche have also been investing in hydrogen combustion technology.

JCB soon identified hydrogen ICE as its technology of choice after realising that fuel cells, in their current form, were unlikely to withstand the rigours of life on a building site or quarry. The British company has built prototype backhoe loaders and loadall telescopic handlers powered by hydrogen ICE and is due to give the technology its international debut at the Conexpo trade fair in Las Vegas in March.

In December, Toyota unveiled a prototype hydrogen combustion engine car, the Corolla Cross H2 Concept, based on the GR Corolla and equipped with a 1.6 litre, 3-cylinder turbo engine.

Toyota also cited the ability to leverage to leverage existing ICE technologies, as well as rapid refuelling times and a significant decrease in the use of rare and expensive elements required for battery production.

While the concept is only 40% of the way to commercialisation and there is no guarantee that it will get there, Toyota is convinced by the potential of hydrogen combustion in motor sports. Earlier in 2022, Toyota fielded a GR Corolla H2 with a hydrogen combustion engine in all races of the Super Taikyu endurance series.

Tata Motors, one of the largest vehicle manufacturers in India, which said it expects hydrogen ICE could be commercialised faster than fuel cells because it’s more tolerant of lower purity hydrogen and because it allows companies like Tata to leverage their existing intellectual property and ICE infrastructure.

Hydrogen combustion engines are seen as a way of cleaning up the motorsports industry while retaining the excitement that comes from hearing an engine rev – something that is not replicable with battery-electric vehicles. Some have gone so far as to say that hydrogen ICE could be the saviour of the supercar.

That may also be the thinking behind Porsche’s recent foray into hydrogen ICE. The German luxury sportscar marque recently announced that it had produced a prototype V8, 4.4-liter internal combustion engine while also reducing fuel consumption and maintaining emissions equivalent to ambient air.

Hydrogen combustion engines could end up powering not only the construction machines that are responsible for producing much of the world’s infrastructure, but the cars that allow us to enjoy our downtime at the end of the day, whether as drivers or spectators.

To learn more about HYCAP click here.

The annual World Economic Forum in Davos is back this week following several years of disruption thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, and decarbonisation of hard-to-abate industries with clean hydrogen is high up on the agenda.

A slew of reports from WEF in the weeks running up to this year’s event cover topics including accelerating financing for clean hydrogen projects, how to fund the decarbonisation of hard-to-abate sectors in developing economies, and a very useful piece titled ‘Everything you need to know about hydrogen in the clean energy transition’.

Clean hydrogen and hydrogen-based fuels, says WEF, “could play a central role in efforts to decarbonise the global energy system.” It cites the International Energy Agency in hydrogen and hydrogen-based fuels could stop up to 60 gigatonnes of CO2 being released into the atmosphere by 2050, equivalent to 6% of total cumulative emissions reductions.

According to the International Energy Agency hydrogen and hydrogen-based fuels could stop up to 60 gigatonnes of CO2 being released into the atmosphere by 2050, equivalent to 6% of total cumulative emissions reductions.

WEF also points out the myriad potential uses of clean hydrogen, to help decarbonise hard-to-abate industries, such as chemical manufacturing and refining, power generation and hard-to-electrify heavy mobility sectors like shippingaviationrailways and buses.

As well as being a cheerleader for the hydrogen economy, WEF is attempting to use its influence to bring about change with the Accelerating Clean Hydrogen Initiative, through which it is aiming to bring together leaders to “identify barriers, drive collaboration and find solutions to the toughest hydrogen challenges.”

The annual World Economic Forum in Davos is back this week following several years of disruption thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, and decarbonisation of hard-to-abate industries with clean hydrogen is high up on the agenda.

The initiative has attracted more than 200 members from 60 organisations, both public and private, encouraging them to collaborate on hydrogen.

One of the main challenges the initiative is aiming to tackle is financing of hydrogen projects. While more than 500 hydrogen projects worth more than $500 billion have been announced globally, only around 5% have reached final investment decision (FID) in Europe.

That is the theme of one of its recent articles, ‘3 ways to accelerate financing for clean hydrogen projects’. First, WEF recommends that projects include a credible industrial sponsor or developer to help reduce risk for financiers. An example of this can be seen in the recent announcement by Ryze Hydrogen and UK energy giant Centrica to develop clean hydrogen projects across the UK.

The World Economic Forum in Davos is taking place from Jan. 16 to Jan. 20.

Second, it suggests Investments into parent companies, with optionality for project-level co-investment. This was demonstrated in the strategic partnership between Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) and Tree Energy Solutions (TES), which included of an equity stake in TES, as well as a direct investment into the construction of TES Green Energy Hub and terminal in Wilhelmshaven, Germany.

Third, WEF highlights the role that contracts for difference (CfDs) can play in ensuring a stable and competitive cost for clean hydrogen and the confidence that ensues for investors. The UK announced the world’s first CfD-based hydrogen subsidy scheme last year.

The World Economic Forum in Davos is taking place from Jan. 16 to Jan. 20.

To learn more about HYCAP click here.

The Portuguese government has unveiled details of its first hydrogen tender, with which it plans to secure decade-long contracts for the clean fuel later this year.

Portugal’s Last Resort Wholesale Trader is seeking to award 10-year contracts for 3,000 tons a year of green hydrogen at a maximum price of €127/MWh and 10,000 tons a year of renewable methane at €62/MWh through competitive auction.

The hydrogen and renewable methane will then be sold onto gas suppliers to be blended into the grid.

No date has been set for the auction, but the exact procedures of the tender must be submitted to the government by the Directorate-General for Energy and Geology by 30 May, 2023, and be published by 30 June.

While the volumes are relatively low for this first tender, it is an “important pilot project for the adoption of domestic H2 production in Europe,” according to Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, CEO of Hydrogen Europe.

Portugal’s Last Resort Wholesale Trader is seeking to award 10-year contracts for 3,000 tons a year of green hydrogen at a maximum price of €127/MWh and 10,000 tons a year of renewable methane at €62/MWh through competitive auction.

Portugal’s approach not only supports its goal of decarbonising the gas supply in the country, but it also guarantees demand for suppliers who might otherwise hesitate to make the necessary investments in hydrogen production infrastructure.

The EU has sought to tackle this challenge with the creation of the €3 billion European Hydrogen Bank, which aims to be a market maker in the supply and demand of hydrogen. While the UK has been a leader in the development of a subsidy regime with the Hydrogen Business Model, it is yet to tackle this particular issue, maybe assuming that demand from industry will be sufficient to ensure there is always a market for competitively priced supply.

Portugal aims to tap its plentiful solar and wind resources to become a major exporter of green hydrogen, the country’s environment minister Duarte Cordeiro said in November. It already produces 60% of its electricity from renewables and aims to reach 80% by 2026.

(Pictured) Lisbon, Portugal. The Portuguese government has unveiled details of its first hydrogen tender, with which it plans to secure decade-long contracts for the clean fuel later this year.

The H2MED hydrogen pipeline project between France and Spain will have a spur linking it to Portugal, which currently produces the cheapest renewable hydrogen in the EU, according to Hydrogen Europe.

Other bold policy initiatives from Portugal include a decision in December to scrap mandatory environmental assessments from green hydrogen projects in a bid to accelerate investment in the sector.

There has been significant corporate activity as well. Portugal’s largest utility EDP and oil and gas company Galp Energia are both planning to build green hydrogen production facilities in the industrial hub of Sines.

The nation’s three largest glass manufacturers and two biggest cement makers, which account for 10% of Portugal’s industrial carbon emissions, are also working together to build a green hydrogen plant. Simultaneously here in the UK St Helens-based Pilkington, part of the NSG Group, has been a leader in the glass sector’s switch to low carbon fuels, and has completed two trials of hydrogen firing in a glass furnace.

Portugal is of course a very different country to the UK.  With domestic demand for clean hydrogen expected to outstrip supply for some time in the UK, there is currently less need for such a policy here.

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2022 was an extraordinary year for hydrogen as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine accelerated the search for fossil fuel alternatives, particularly in Europe where dependency on Russian natural gas was the greatest.

Politicians got behind hydrogen with initiatives including the Hydrogen Business Model in the UK, REPowerEU on the continent and the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, all of which provide policy and financial support aimed at lowering the cost of clean hydrogen production and boosting innovation.

Companies ramped up their climate commitments too with many embracing hydrogen as central to their net-zero targets. Sectors from heavy industry to manufacturing, shipping, aviation and energy are realising that clean hydrogen is, in many cases, the only option for decarbonisation.

Clean hydrogen can be made from splitting water with electrolysers powered by renewable energy, whereas producing hydrogen using natural gas emits carbon dioxide which is then captured, and means the hydrogen is classed as blue.

The expectation of surging demand has been a catalyst for new supply of hydrogen and Europe is leading the way. There is an 1,100 MW pipeline of planned or announced electrolytic hydrogen projects in Europe for 2023 compared with less than 100 MW in the U.S., according to research from investment bank ING and BloombergNEF.

Clean hydrogen can be made from splitting water with electrolysers powered by renewable energy.

However, the U.S. is expected to catch up rapidly in 2023. The U.S. Inflation Reduction Act offers the most generous subsidies in the world for clean hydrogen production (as much as $3 per kg depending on how clean it is) and is predicted to attract significant investment to hydrogen projects on the other side of the Atlantic.

There have been calls for Europe to respond to the lure of U.S. subsidies, but the UK’s Hydrogen Business Model is already up and running with the first round of submissions while the U.S. system has yet to unveil the details of how it will be implemented. We are looking forward to a shortlist of successful projects being announced in early 2023 for the first allocation of the UK Hydrogen Business Model.

Financial support is not the only thing that governments can provide. Producers also need to know they have a market for their output, and the EU’s €3 billion European Hydrogen Bank, which aims to be a market maker in the supply and demand of hydrogen looks like a potentially good model to bring that about.

A number of landmark hydrogen projects were announced in the UK in 2022, including the two government-backed low carbon clusters based around the industrial centres of the northeast and northwest of England, East Coast Cluster and Hynet, respectively. Ryze Hydrogen announced an agreement with Centrica to build and operate a series of hydrogen production facilities across the UK to supply industry and transportation.

Time is of the essence. The longer it takes to start cutting emissions, the more will need to be cut and the slimmer the chances of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

After a year of so many announcements, the UK (and global) hydrogen industry needs to start delivering. Of course, large industrial projects are not built overnight. Consultations need to be launched, permits attained and finance raised. However, bigger projects will soon be making progress in 2023 as smaller projects start producing.

Time is of the essence for two important reasons. The first is the science of climate change. The longer it takes to start cutting emissions, the more will need to be cut and the slimmer the chances of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.

The cost of producing hydrogen needs to come down fast enough and volumes need to ramp up quickly enough to bring significant decarbonisation to steel production, agriculture and transport over the coming decade that the task of achieving net zero by 2050 is achievable.

As we saw in the northern hemisphere in 2022, the effects of climate change are already with us. Every year we delay our response and continue to release planet warming gases like carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the more we will have to spend on efforts to mitigate the impacts of a hotter, drier planet in the future.

Secondly, policy makers need to deepen their understanding of hydrogen for it to prove its worth and break into vital sectors, such as heating.

The UK needs both hydrogen boilers and heat pumps to decarbonise domestic heating, because the latter are not appropriate for many of the nation’s homes, either because they are not adequately insulated or not big enough to contain a water tank.

Important trials are taking place to demonstrate hydrogen’s role in domestic heating, cooking and hot water. 300 homes in Fife, Scotland, are preparing to become the world’s first to use 100% hydrogen from 2024. Two larger villages – Ellesmere Port and Redcar – are currently competing to expand the trial to 2,000 homes and businesses from 2025, with a decision from Ofgem due this year.

The UK needs both hydrogen boilers and heat pumps to decarbonise domestic heating, because the latter are not appropriate for many of the nation’s homes, either because they are not adequately insulated or not big enough to contain a water tank.

It is crucial that such trials move forward in 2023 in time for a government decision on the role of hydrogen in these settings by 2026. Successful trials would unlock billions of pounds of investment in vital hydrogen infrastructure.

Similarly, the infrastructure to support the growing number of hydrogen buses and trucks on our roads needs to keep pace with the demand from vehicles.

As we welcome the many exciting new project announcements set to arrive in 2023, we are also looking forward to seeing finance secured and shovels in the ground on the many projects that are currently in planning.

Here at HYCAP we’re off to a busy start and will be proudly exhibiting in the UK Pavilion at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week from 14 – 19 January 2023 attended by heads of state, policy makers, industry leaders, investors and entrepreneurs, and we very much hope to see you there.

A happy hydrogen new year to you all.

To learn more about HYCAP click here.

So much has happened in the hydrogen economy in 2022 it is impossible to write an exhaustive list of significant developments without testing the patience of readers, so we’ve decided to give you what we at HYCAP consider to be the top 10 and explain a little about the why.

When looking at this year’s highlights, we kept a few questions top of mind: will it have wide-reaching repercussions for the sector as a whole; how soon will it impact the market; will it impact opportunities to invest in hydrogen in the UK and Europe?

Unfortunately, choosing just 10 means leaving out some big moments for clean hydrogen in 2022, including some potential technological breakthroughs which we haven’t included because it is so difficult to predict those that will make it to commercial viability.

1) Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While not an initiative of the hydrogen industry, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February this year sparked a rush to replace Russian fossil fuel imports, particularly among EU countries, who relied on Russia for almost one third of its crude oil and more than 40% of its natural gas in 2020.

Responses have included a doubling of the UK’s 2030 low-carbon hydrogen production target to 10 GW and the EU’s REPowerEU plan to accelerate the green transition through, among other initiatives, producing 80 GW of electrolytic hydrogen and importing the same again (see 4 and 5 below).

2) Climate change reaches the northern hemisphere. It would be nice to think that climate change policy was driven purely by the science, but there’s no doubting that a summer of extreme heat and wildfires across Europe and the United States has also lit a metaphorical fire under the voters and politicians who are the drivers of policy. A record 40.3 degrees Celsius reached in the UK on July 19 appears to have focused minds – rising UK temperatures was cited by 75% of respondents as the biggest expected impact of climate change in September this year, up from 62% 6 months earlier.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on 24 February this year sparked a rush to replace Russian fossil fuel imports, particularly among EU countries, who relied on Russia for almost one third of its crude oil and more than 40% of its natural gas in 2020.

3) U.S. Inflation Reduction Act. While not a UK or EU policy, the Biden administration’s £369 billion Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law in August, is expected to have major repercussions for the global hydrogen sector thanks to the generous subsidies on offer – as much as $3/kg of hydrogen depending on how much carbon was emitted in its production.

The law is a “turning point” for the economics of hydrogen, according to Goldman Sachs, which said it makes green hydrogen (produced by splitting water with electrolysers) profitable at scale. While this is expected to generate billions of dollars of investment in clean hydrogen in the U.S., it has led to calls for the UK and EU to respond with an equally enticing package of incentives to ensure funds don’t flow across the Atlantic.

4) UK Hydrogen Business Model. On 20 July, the UK government opened the application window for funding under the Hydrogen Business Model and £240 million Net Zero Hydrogen Fund, the world’s first subsidy scheme for clean hydrogen production with the aim of supporting at least 250 MW in the first allocation round. A shortlist of successful projects is expected to be announced in early 2023, although an exact date is yet to be provided.

While the UK was the first to put a hydrogen subsidy scheme in place, it is not expected to be as generous as that on offer in the U.S. However, the strike price for specific projects will be set in bilateral negotiations with developers so it remains an open question. UK government funding for hydrogen is coming from other directions too.

The £26 million Industrial Hydrogen Accelerator Programme run by the Department for Business and Industrial Strategy has awarded millions of pounds already to projects aiming to decarbonise industries including asphalt, cement, steel and ceramics. £25 million of funding for technologies for producing hydrogen from biomass and waste was unveiled earlier this month, while a £20 million competition in the Tees Valley to explore how hydrogen can be used to reduce emissions in the transport sector was launched in October.

There’s no doubting that a summer of extreme heat and wildfires across Europe and the United States has also lit a metaphorical fire under the voters and politicians who are the drivers of policy.

5) REPowerEU. Many European Union countries started this year considerably more dependent than the UK on Russian hydrocarbons – about 55% of Germany’s natural gas came from Russia before its invasion of Ukraine. The EU has responded swiftly. REPowerEU – a strategy to wean itself off Russian hydrogen carbons – includes measures to increase hydrogen production capacity, develop partnerships with other producing nations to build hydrogen corridors in the Mediterranean and the North Sea.

Since REPowerEU was launched in May, the EU has announced further hydrogen initiatives including €10.6 billion for hydrogen-related projects through Hy2Use and Hy2Tech and at least €3 billion for the so-called European Hydrogen Bank, which will become a market-maker for hydrogen by guaranteeing purchases to create certainty of demand. Germany has been leading the way in terms of hydrogen imports, signing agreements with the likes of Canada, with who it signed a five-year deal in August.

6) COP27 shipping agreement. COP27 in Egypt was an important event for clean hydrogen, which was named as one of five sector-specific priority actions named under the summit’s Breakthrough Agenda. The World Bank used the event to announce the creation of the Hydrogen for Development Partnership (H4D), a new global initiative to boost the deployment of low-carbon hydrogen in developing countries.

However, the biggest win for hydrogen-led decarbonisation arguably came from the shipping industry, with companies including Maersk, MAN ES and the Getting to Zero Coalition committing to the achievement of commercially viable, zero-emission, deep-sea vessels from 2030 with the intention of using exclusively zero-emission-powered ocean-freight services by 2040; the scaling-up of green hydrogen production to 5.5 million tons per year by 2030; and the full decarbonisation of the shipping sector by 2050 at the latest.

7) France-Spain hydrogen pipeline. Billions of pounds, dollars and euros need to be invested in hydrogen infrastructure to produce, transport, store and supply clean hydrogen and enable the hydrogen economy. A big step towards the hydrogen transport piece of the puzzle was made this month with the announcement that H2MED, a €2.5 billion undersea pipeline between France and Spain will be dedicated to hydrogen. The 455 km pipeline will have a capacity of 2 million tonnes a year and be ready by 2030, and will form a major artery of the “European hydrogen backbone”, according to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

The UK has its own hydrogen backbone plan. A number of regional hydrogen pipelines will be connected to National Grid’s Project Union, which aims to establish a National Hydrogen Transmission System to link the UK’s industrial clusters with a dedicated supply of hydrogen. National Grid estimates it could repurpose about a quarter of the UK’s current natural gas transmission pipelines for hydrogen.

8) UK hydrogen hubs. The message is getting through to regional authorities in the UK that they all need a hydrogen strategy. Most major UK industrial centres now have plans for a hydrogen hub and many others do too. In early August a Hydrogen Ecosystem was unveiled by the GW4 Alliance of leading universities in the UK’s southwest and Western Gateway, a grouping of regional government and enterprise bodies focused on net zero delivery. Less than two weeks later, proposals for a 35 MW commercial hydrogen hub, located on industrial-zoned land in Barrow-in-Furness, UK were launched.

Meanwhile energy giant Centrica and Ryze Hydrogen announced they will jointly build and operate hydrogen production facilities in the UK aimed at providing a reliable supply of hydrogen for industry and transportation.

Also in August, the UK government revealed the 20 shortlisted projects from Hynet and East Coast Cluster that were chosen for funding last year. These projects join half a dozen others that have been unveiled over the past year, including the Port of Shoreham in West Sussex, Portsmouth International Port, and Hydrogen East, based around Bacton on the Norfolk coast. Eventually, all these hubs will be joined to each other through the National Grid’s National Hydrogen Transmission System and users whether industrial, transport or energy, won’t need to think so hard where to get access to H2.

9) Hydrogen trains. A lot has happened in the hydrogen transport space in 2022, including Wrightbus fuel-cell buses completing 1.5 million miles since entering service, preventing 2,366 tonnes of planet-warming carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere. Just this month, JCB showed that it‘s possible to run, not just plant machinery but trucks with hydrogen combustion engines.

In December 2022 JCB have showed that it‘s possible to run, not just plant machinery but trucks with hydrogen combustion engines.

Hydrogen-fuelled trucks are advancing by leaps and bounds with Hyundai signing a deal with the German government and seven companies to deliver 27 of its XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks. In August, Amazon put clean hydrogen on the front pages with an agreement to buy nearly 11,000 tons of green hydrogen a year from Plug Power from 2025 to fuel forklifts and heavy-duty trucks.

However, the biggest development this year has to be the world’s first fleet of hydrogen-powered passenger trains, which went into service outside Hamburg in August. Germany will have 14 zero-emission hydrogen trains running by early 2023, each of which is capable of running the entire day on a single tank. Each train will save more than 422,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually, preventing more than 4,000 tons of CO2 emissions being released each year, according to estimates from the manufacturer, Alstom.

Germany will have 14 zero-emission hydrogen trains running by early 2023, each of which is capable of running the entire day on a single tank. Each train will save more than 422,000 gallons of diesel fuel annually.

10) Green steel. There have also been a plethora of developments in the industrial use of clean hydrogen this year. The UK was home to a major milestone in the decarbonisation of the industrial economy in July after British company Tarmac led a project to produce industrial lime with clean hydrogen. Kleenex and Andrex maker Kimberly-Clark said it will buy green hydrogen from Carlton Power for its factory in Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, and Scotland’s Arbikie Distillery has been awarded planning permission for a 1MW wind turbine to make green hydrogen to fuel its operations.

The prize for the most significant industrial hydrogen development of 2022 goes to SSAB, which has supplied green steel made with hydrogen to companies including Volvo Group and Faurecia for use in their products. Volvo Groupbuilt a load carrier for use in mining and quarrying produced entirely with fossil-free steel, while SSAB research showed hydrogen-reduced iron, a major input in the steel-making process, has superior properties to traditionally produced iron, and almost completely eliminates CO2 emissions in the process.

With such advancements across the globe the stage is set for continued rapid growth of the hydrogen sector in 2023.

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One of the great advantages of clean hydrogen over fossil fuels is the ability to produce it anywhere there is a ready supply of renewable energy and water. However, with both of those inputs being distributed unevenly around the world, it is likely to be cost competitive to transport clean hydrogen between and across countries.

While a fair amount of the world’s clean hydrogen will be transported in various forms by sea, most will be moved by pipeline, according to research from ReThink Energy. That’s because it’s the cheapest option for distances below 7,000 km, ReThink says (others say it’s closer to 5,000 km, but a lot no doubt depends on what kind of terrain is being traversed).

One of the big advantages of pipelines is that they can transport hydrogen as a gas, while seaborne transport involves converting it into a liquid or ammonia and back again, or using liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOCHs), all of which add to the cost of a kg of end product.

Transporting the clean fuel to major consuming nations from low-cost producers will add between $0.50 and $1.86 to a kg of hydrogen, ReThink research shows. Depending on differences in cost of production between countries, a healthy trade in clean hydrogen is expected to develop.

One of the big advantages of pipelines is that they can transport hydrogen as a gas, while seaborne transport involves converting it into a liquid or ammonia and back again, or using liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOCHs), all of which add to the cost of a kg of end product.

Those countries don’t need to be on the other side of the world from each other. Hydrogen trade got a big boost last week when H2MED, a €2.5 billion pipeline between Spain and France, was unveiled by European leaders, including Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez. An additional pipeline connecting Spain and Portugal will cost €350 million.

The 455 km underwater pipeline will have a capacity of 2 million tonnes a year and be ready by 2030. The project will take advantage of the Iberian peninsula’s abundant sun and wind to produce low-cost clean hydrogen and send it to industrial consumers in the north of the continent.

The pipeline will form a major artery of the “European hydrogen backbone”, according to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

“Hydrogen is a game changer for Europe, we want to make hydrogen a central part of our energy system in the transition to climate neutrality and Net Zero, and we want to maintain our European trailblazer position as we build a global market for hydrogen,” said von der Leyen. “We are establishing hydrogen partnerships with Mediterranean countries, we have one with Egypt and now discussing one with Morocco, and working on a broader green hydrogen partnership with all southern Mediterranean countries.”

Hydrogen trade got a big boost last week when H2MED, a €2.5 billion pipeline between Spain and France, was unveiled by European leaders, including Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

The UK is also readying a hydrogen pipeline network. The Hynet North West Hydrogen Pipeline aims to be the nation’s first 100% hydrogen pipeline project, with work set to begin in 2025, subject to consent.

The pipeline will criss-cross the area, delivering clean hydrogen from a production plant in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire to industry and homes in St Helens, Warrington and throughout the Hynet North West low-carbon cluster.

A major hydrogen pipeline is also planned for south Wales. Hyline Cymru hopes to link Pembroke and the Swansea Bay area.

A major hydrogen pipeline is also planned for south Wales. Hyline Cymru hopes to link Pembroke and the Swansea Bay area.

These regional pipelines will be connected to National Grid’s Project Union, which aims to establish a National Hydrogen Transmission System to link the UK’s industrial clusters with a dedicated supply of hydrogen. National Grid estimates it could repurpose about a quarter of the UK’s current natural gas transmission pipelines for hydrogen.

Clean hydrogen is no pipe dream. And neither are the pipelines that will deliver it to its destination.

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While hydrogen use in the aviation industry cannot yet be said to have taken off, it is hurtling down the runway at great speed and about to nudge its nose into the air.

Technical advancements have been coming thick and fast in recent weeks, with some of the biggest players in the industry, including Rolls-Royce and Airbus, announcing major developments.

Rolls-Royce, manufacturer of engines for the world’s largest aircraft, revealed on Nov. 28 the successful test of a regional aircraft engine powered by hydrogen. The Rolls-Royce AE 2100-A was fuelled by hydrogen produced from wind and tidal power at the European Marine Energy Centre in the Orkney Islands.

A few days later, Airbus said it’s developing a hydrogen fuel-cell engine for aircraft. Unlike the Rolls-Royce engine, which burns hydrogen to produce power, it would generate electricity in much the same way as a fuel-cell car or bus.

Rolls-Royce, manufacturer of engines for the world’s largest aircraft, revealed on Nov. 28 the successful test of a regional aircraft engine powered by hydrogen.

Airbus plans to test the engine by the middle of the decade on a modified A380 MSN1, but it is likely to be deployed on smaller commercial aircraft able to carry up to 100 passengers about 1,150 miles.

Airbus has been a leader among investors in hydrogen aviation technologies and in September 2020 revealed three ZEROe concept aircraft, all powered by hydrogen. The “blended-wing body” design looks like a flying V, while the turbofan and turboprop designs have longer bodies to store the hydrogen fuel in the rear and have longer wings.

While hydrogen has an energy density almost three times greater than diesel or gasoline, it needs to be chilled to minus 253 degrees centigrade to keep it liquid, creating some technical challenges for aircraft designers.

However, another piece of the hydrogen aviation puzzle fell into place in November announced it had completed a prototype cryogenic hydrogen fuel tanks. Following testing with nitrogen, Airbus is aiming for a fully functional hydrogen tank in 2023 with flight testing expected to begin between 2026 and 2028.

Emissions from aviation account for 2% of the global total. If aviation is serious about achieving net zero emissions, hydrogen is currently the only option.

Sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs), while favoured by some because they can be dropped into existing aircraft with few modifications, only reduce carbon emissions by 80% while hydrogen produced with renewable energy creates negligible CO2 and none while being burned or used in a fuel cell.

Emissions from aviation account for 2% of the global total. If aviation is serious about achieving net zero emissions, hydrogen is currently the only option.

SAF is also expensive – produced from biological resources it is between two and six times more expensive than traditional jet fuel – and there isn’t much of it about – it currently covers less than 0.1% of the aviation industry’s needs.

Hydrogen fuel could make up 32% of the market by 2050 if it becomes commercially available by 2035, according to a study from climate think-tank Energy Transition Commission.

FlyZero, the UK study into zero-carbon emission commercial air travel, concluded that green hydrogen is the optimum fuel for zero-carbon emission flight and could power a midsize aircraft with 280 passengers from London to San Francisco directly, or from London to Auckland with just one stop.

The economics look good too. In January, U.S. non-profit, the International Council on Clean Transportation, published a study that found green hydrogen would be a cheaper aviation fuel than e-kerosene for trips of up to 3,400 km.

Airbus expects to achieve “mature technology readiness” for a hydrogen-combustion propulsion system by 2025 and to have a commercial hydrogen plane in service by 2035.

While Airbus has been leading the charge among larger aircraft manufacturers on the investment in hydrogen, there are numerous start-ups and other smaller players making progress as well.

Airbus has been a leader among investors in hydrogen aviation technologies and in September 2020 revealed three ZEROe concept aircraft, all powered by hydrogen. The “blended-wing body” design looks like a flying V, while the turbofan and turboprop designs have longer bodies to store the hydrogen fuel in the rear and have longer wings.

U.S. and U.K.-based ZeroAvia has targeted 2025 to launch the 600-kW ZA600 powertrain, designed to retrofit aircraft with up to 19 seats with a range of up to 300 miles. By 2027, it aims to have launched the 2- to 5-MW ZA2000, enabling emissions-free flight for up to 80 passengers for 685 miles.

ZeroAvia is working with partners, including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and RJ Aviation Group to certify a system for even larger, regional jets by 2030.

GKN Aerospace, a UK-based hydrogen aviation contender with considerable pedigree in traditional aviation, is also seeking to scale up its technology after successful early tests. After initially targeting a 19-passenger aircraft solution with its H2GEAR Programme, it is now looking at 96-passenger aircraft and beyond.

U.S. and U.K.-based ZeroAvia has targeted 2025 to launch the 600-kW ZA600 powertrain, designed to retrofit aircraft with up to 19 seats with a range of up to 300 miles. By 2027, it aims to have launched the 2- to 5-MW ZA2000, enabling emissions-free flight for up to 80 passengers for 685 miles.

Cranfield Aerospace Solutions (CAeS) has been developing its hydrogen propulsion system since 2019 under the name Project Fresson. It recently announced an addition to its deal to supply fuel-cell conversion kits for the Britten-Norman BN2 Islander to Germany’s Evia Aero and to develop a solution for a larger, 19-seater aircraft.

Fasten your seat belts. Hydrogen aviation will soon be airborne.

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Zero-emission transport pioneer Wrightbus has reached 1,000 employees, up from just 56 when it was bought out of administration three years ago, demonstrating how investment in hydrogen can also be a boon for job creation.

Wrightbus launched the world’s first hydrogen-powered double-deck bus, the Hydroliner, in 2020 and also boasts the world’s most efficient battery-electric double decker. More than half the company’s sales are of zero-emission vehicles, up from none in 2019 when it was acquired by Jo Bamford, son of JCB Chairman Lord Bamford.

The company will produce 400 zero-carbon emission buses in the current financial year, with a target of 3,000 by 2024, equivalent to 10% of the UK’s entire bus fleet.

Their hydrogen buses alone have driven 1.5 million miles, saving 2,366 tonnes of planet-warming carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere if those same journeys had been made by diesel buses. That’s the same as taking 550 fossil fuel cars off the road for a whole year.

With Wrightbus’ debut of UPTIME 365 in 2021, a new innovation in customer assistance was born. Equipped with live GPS tracking & vehicle analysis, the Wrightbus telematics system, UPTIME 365, does exactly as the name suggests. It keeps bus fleets at peak performance and offers a clearer understanding of their operation and availability. It also provides up to date with real-time performance and CO2 savings information.

Sales of hydrogen buses this year have included a deal in May to supply German operator RVK with up to 60 Hydroliners over the subsequent two years. Agreements have also been signed to build zero-emission vehicles for England’s First Bus, the Republic of Ireland’s National Transport Authority (NTA) and hydrogen buses in Australia.

Matthew Hill, 30, from Ballymena in Northern Ireland, started work on Nov. 21 as a coach builder and is Wrightbus’ 1,000th employee. After increasing headcount by more than 40% over the past 12 months, Wrightbus intends to add a further 400 staff in the coming year.

Investment in the hydrogen economy is creating thousands of jobs in the UK and is set to create thousands more across industries from transport to energy, steel to manufacturing.

The UK government estimated in its Hydrogen Strategy released last August the hydrogen economy could create 9,000 high-quality jobs by 2030, potentially rising to 100,000 jobs by 2050. That is likely a huge underestimate as the UK’s hydrogen ambitions have grown significantly since then, with its 2030 target for clean hydrogen production doubling from 5GW to 10GW.

Wrightbus launched the world’s first hydrogen-powered double-deck bus, the Hydroliner, in 2020 and also boasts the world’s most efficient battery-electric double decker. More than half the company’s sales are of zero-emission vehicles, up from none in 2019 when it was acquired by Jo Bamford. (Pictured: a Wrightbus zero-carbon hydrogen powered double decker on display at COP26).

There are also thousands of jobs that will be indirectly supported by the UK’s successful transition to a hydrogen economy. For instance, the steel industry employs about 33,000 people in the UK and a further 42,000 in related supply chains. Investment in hydrogen technologies will both decarbonise the industry, and secure those jobs.

Wrightbus is a great example of what can be done with smart investment, as the hydrogen economy creates thousands more jobs in the process.

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Last year, COP26 put clean hydrogen at the top of the global decarbonisation agenda, as global availability of affordable, renewable and low carbon hydrogen by 2030 became one of its five pillars.

This year, hydrogen’s role in achieving net zero was further solidified. The scale up of low-emission hydrogen production was one of five sector-specific priority actions named under the summit’s Breakthrough Agenda.

Priority actions included the development of common definitions for low-emission and near-zero emission hydrogen to ensure credibility and transparency and help direct billions of pounds in hydrogen investment, and to ramp up the deployment of essential infrastructure projects including at least 100 hydrogen valleys. A hydrogen valley is a city, a region, an island or an industrial cluster – where several hydrogen applications are combined together into an integrated hydrogen ecosystem that consumes a significant amount of hydrogen, improving the economics behind the project.

This year’s COP27 has seen hydrogen’s role in achieving net zero further solidified. The scale up of low-emission hydrogen production was one of five sector-specific priority actions named under the summit’s Breakthrough Agenda.

The biggest two announcements came from the World Bank and the global shipping industry.

The World Bank announced the creation of the Hydrogen for Development Partnership (H4D), a new global initiative to boost the deployment of low-carbon hydrogen in developing countries. The multilateral lender aims to unlock significant investment from both public and private sources, foster capacity building and provide developing countries with access to concessional financing and technical assistance to scale up hydrogen projects.

The shipping industry took a major step forward as companies including Maersk, MAN ES and the Getting to Zero Coalition made some strong pledges around the adoption of green hydrogen and hydrogen-derived fuels to achieve their decarbonisation goals.

Signatories to the agreement committed to the achievement of commercially viable, zero-emission, deep-sea vessels from 2030 with the intention of using exclusively zero-emission-powered ocean-freight services by 2040; the scaling-up of green hydrogen production to 5.5 million tons per year by 2030; and the full decarbonisation of the shipping sector by 2050 at the latest.

The shipping industry took a major step forward as companies including Maersk, MAN ES and the Getting to Zero Coalition made some strong pledges around the adoption of green hydrogen and hydrogen-derived fuels to achieve their decarbonisation goals.

Existing commitments made by Green Hydrogen Catapult, which includes Acwa, CWP, FFI, Iberdrola, Orsted and Snam, would be able to supply 90% of the shipping sector’s green hydrogen demand by 2030, according to the statement.

“The true winner at COP27 is hydrogen, which saw widespread support as a potential replacement for gas in hard-to-decarbonize areas of the economy,” said Lauren Craft, editor of Energy Intelligence New Energy. “Gas continues to be viewed as a bridge fuel in the energy transition — but its role could be short-lived and less stable than was once believed.”

Many of the delegates at COP27 said time is running out for new gas assets to be fully used and monetized before 2050, the date set by most nations for net zero to be achieved, according to Craft. Hydrogen, on the other hand, earned nearly universal support, she said.

Deals in support of that statement include an $80 million loan to Egypt Green from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to build the country’s first green hydrogen facility. The financing will be used to construct a 100 MW electrolyser to be powered by renewable energy, delivering up to 15,000 tonnes of green hydrogen annually, which will be used to produce green ammonia to be sold in Egypt and internationally.

The agreement is a building block in the EU-Mediterranean Renewable Hydrogen Partnership, which aims to provide the infrastructure and financing frameworks to support the development of a renewable hydrogen industry and trade across the EU and Egypt, helping the EU reach its RePowerEU goal of reducing its reliance on Russian gas with 20 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen by 2030.

Kenya’s President announced a plan to produce 30 GW of green hydrogen production after signing a 500 billion Kenyan shilling ($4 billion) deal with the UK, which will provide KES2 billion of financing over the next three years, with the goal of unlocking KES12 billion of climate finance through CPF Financial Services and other private investors.

A sizeable order for electrolysers manufactured by Israeli company H2Pro from Moroccan renewable energy developer Gaia Energy was also announced at COP27.

Saudi Arabia also elaborated on its pitch to be one of the world’s largest suppliers of green and low carbon hydrogen, with a target of producing 4 million mt/year by 2030. Production standards would be configured to meet market requirements in both Europe and Asia-Pacific, the Saudi energy ministry’s head of hydrogen, Zeid al-Ghareeb, told delegates in Sharm El-Sheikh.

Green hydrogen produced by Saudi Arabia with alkaline electrolysers, including capex, was assessed at $3.20/kg this month, among the cheapest sources of hydrogen in the world, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights.

Saudi Arabia plans to produce 650 mt/d of renewable hydrogen powered by 4 GW of wind and solar at its Neom project in the northwest of the Kingdom, with first output expected in 2026. It is also developing a “world-scale” hydrogen plant at Jubail reforming natural gas with carbon capture technology, to produce 420 mt/d of hydrogen.

Saudi Arabia also elaborated on its pitch to be one of the world’s largest suppliers of green and low carbon hydrogen, with a target of producing 4 million mt/year by 2030.

So, while COP27 disappointed many after failing to find agreement to phase down the use of fossil fuels, agreements accelerating the use of clean hydrogen provides more than a silver lining.

Fossil fuels cannot be phased out without a viable replacement and clean hydrogen is the only replacement. Industries from steel production to construction to transport and energy need hydrogen, which produces no carbon emissions when burned or used in a fuel cell, to decarbonise.

Thanks to the agreements announced in the past couple of weeks, a global hydrogen economy is getting ever closer.

To learn more about HYCAP click here.

Amid tough negotiations at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh on how to finance the clean energy transition in developing nations, hydrogen is providing a focus for potential solutions.

Many developing countries have abundant renewable energy resources that can be used to make clean hydrogen by powering electrolysers to split water.

Africa alone could produce 5-10% of the world’s hydrogen by 2050, amounting to 30-60 million tonnes of the clean fuel annually, with 20-40 million tonnes for export as pure hydrogen, ammonia, and synthetic fuels, according to a recent report.

Clean hydrogen could create as many as 3.7 million jobs for the African continent and generate as much as $120 billion of revenue, said the report from Masdar and Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

Some nations are already seeking to exploit the opportunity. Namibia signed an agreement with the Netherlands in 2021 to create a hydrogen supply chain between the two countries, and said during COP27 it had secured €540 million of climate finance from the Dutch and the European Investment Bank.

Kenya said earlier this month it plans to produce 30GW of green hydrogen after signing a KES500bn ($4.1 billion) agreement with the UK to fast track renewable energy investments. The UK will commit KES2bn with the aim of unlocking KES12bn of private-sector climate finance for Kenyan projects over the next 3 years from partners including CPF Financial Services.

Morocco is also working to attract hydrogen investment. Local renewable energy developer Gaia announced a deal with Israeli technology company H2Pro for a 10-20 MW demo project at COP27.

Developing nation hydrogen developments are not limited to Africa.

Kenya said earlier this month it plans to produce 30GW of green hydrogen after signing a KES500bn ($4.1 billion) agreement with the UK to fast track renewable energy investments. (Nairobi pictured).

Chile’s Ministry of Energy estimates it could produce up to 160 megatons per year of green hydrogen and become the leading low-cost exporter by 2040. The country has signed two agreements at COP27, with the InterAmerican Development Bank and the World Bank, for $400 million and $350 million respectively, to develop its green hydrogen sector.

Brazil is also expected to become a major green hydrogen producer. Australia’s Fortescue Future Industries, which is planning on building a $9 billion green hydrogen project in Brazil, is said to be working on a power purchase agreement with Brazil’s Omega Energia, builder of a 4.6 GW solar project set to become the world’s largest.

To support these opportunities, the World Bank earlier this week launched Hydrogen for Development Partnership (H4D) with the aim of boosting the deployment of low-carbon hydrogen in developing countries.

By realising their potential for clean hydrogen production, developing nations can not only decarbonise their own economies, they can generate much-needed foreign currency through exports.

Brazil is expected to become a major green hydrogen producer. Australia’s Fortescue Future Industries, which is planning on building a $9 billion green hydrogen project in Brazil, is said to be working on a power purchase agreement with Brazil’s Omega Energia

Europe is going to need millions of tonnes of imported clean hydrogen to meet its decarbonisation goals and the developing world, particularly Africa, has the potential to deliver it.

Developing markets also provide a whole host of opportunities for UK companies, whether it be participating in projects or making use of the abundant hydrogen they will produce.

The UK is making progress in the creation of its own hydrogen ecosystem with projects such as that announced by Northern Gas Networks, Ryze Hydrogen and Hygen Energy last week.

The hydrogen economy is developing globally, and links with emerging markets will be crucial for the UK.

To learn more about HYCAP click here.

A year ago, there was a big buzz in the UK around the annual United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26, in part because it was hosted in Glasgow and Prime Minister Boris Johnson was determined to demonstrate British leadership on tackling the greatest existential threat we have ever faced.

COP26 was a landmark event for clean hydrogen. The Breakthrough Agenda, signed by 40 world leaders, including the US, India, EU and China, named the global availability of affordable renewable and low carbon hydrogen by 2030 as one of its five pillars.

The First Movers Coalition of 25 major global companies has proposed clean hydrogen as a key technology for their plans to decarbonise the steel, trucking, shipping and aviation sectors. Founding members of the powerful group include Amazon, Boeing, Fortescue, Volvo, AP Moller-Maersk and Vattenfall.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the World Economic Forum launched a series of enabling roadmaps for green hydrogen, each of which shows the top 10 measures and critical timelines for their implementation in areas such as cost reduction, demand growth, international standards, infrastructure and technology development.

There has been significant progress for clean hydrogen on a number of fronts in the year preceding COP27.

(Pictured) a zero-carbon hydrogen-powered double-deck bus manufactured by UK firm Wrightbus on display in the Green Zone at Glasgow’s COP26 in November 2021.

Accelerated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent surge in energy prices, countries and companies across the world have brought forward plans to produce, store, transport and consume clean hydrogen.

Green hydrogen has been cheaper than liquefied natural gas (LNG) in much of Europe this year, providing a clear signal to hydrogen investors.

A summer of heatwaves and droughts across Europe and North America has also helped bolster the case for increased investment in hydrogen as climate change reached the northern hemisphere faster than many had predicted.

Landmark legislation on both sides of the Atlantic is helping to bring down the cost of producing clean hydrogen and support the hydrogen economy.

In April, the UK government doubled its low carbon hydrogen production target to 10GW from 5GW and launched the Hydrogen Business Model, the world’s first subsidy scheme for green hydrogen production, clearing the way for billions of pounds of investment in the country’s hydrogen economy.

In the U.S. in August, President Biden passed the Inflation Reduction Act, providing $369 billion for energy and climate projects, including a subsidy of as much as $3/kg for clean hydrogen.

In September, the European Union announced the creation of a €3 billion European Hydrogen Bank, which will act as a “market maker” for hydrogen, helping to create demand for the 20 million tons a year of renewable hydrogen the EU is targeting by 2030. Additionally, the latest iteration of the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive II sets targets for renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBOs) such as green hydrogen and green ammonia at 5.7% of all fuels by 2030, and 1.2% for maritime fuels.

Also in the UK, the government’s £26 million Industrial Hydrogen Accelerator Programme run by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, has awarded millions to projects able to demonstrate end-to-end industrial fuel switching to hydrogen to develop the concepts further.

So, what do we want to see from COP27 on the hydrogen front?

One of the biggest issues facing attendees of this COP is climate finance. Rich countries have repeatedly failed to live up to a pledge to provide poorer nations with $100 billion of climate finance annually, a figure that, even if achieved, is seen as inadequate. One of the goals of this summit is to work out how to implement that goal while working on targets to mobilize trillions of dollars of climate finance in the years ahead.

In September, the European Union announced the creation of a €3 billion European Hydrogen Bank, which will act as a “market maker” for hydrogen, helping to create demand for the 20 million tons a year of renewable hydrogen the EU is targeting by 2030.

Some developing countries are expected to be major players in the production and supply of clean hydrogen in the years ahead, including MoroccoNamibiaKazakhstan and Brazil. Providing the necessary investment in hydrogen to realise those ambitions will be a major step forward.

Carbon markets will also be under scrutiny at COP27 with strict guidelines to ensure that the credits used in the global carbon market represent real emission reductions. This is important for hydrogen watchers because the more effective carbon markets become, the higher the cost of pollution and the lower relative cost of clean alternatives, such as hydrogen.

Nov. 8 will see the Hydrogen Transition Summit in Sharm El-Sheikh, running alongside COP and featuring some major names from public and private sectors, including Dr.Andrew Forrest, founder and executive chairman, Fortescue Future Industries, Mechthild Woersdoerfer, director-general for energy, European Commission, and Dr. Andrea Lovato, executive vice president and global head of hydrogen, ACWA Power.

We will be watching closely as the major hydrogen developments emerge from the conference and the numerous political discussions taking place.

To learn more about specialist hydrogen fund HYCAP click here.

Production of low‐emission hydrogen will rise from 0.3 Mt today to 90 Mt in 2030 and 450 Mt in 2050 as it takes an increasingly large role in the decarbonisation of industry, transport and power, according to the International Energy Agency.

Total global hydrogen demand is 475 Mt in 2050 under the IEA’s Net Zero Emissions scenario, outlined in its 2022 World Energy Outlook. Electrolysers meet one third of hydrogen demand in 2030 and 70% in 2050, with just over a quarter from fossil fuels with CCUS. That means installed electrolyser capacity of 720 GW by 2030 and 3,670 GW by 2050, up from 510 MW today.

A huge amount of electricity will need to be generated to power those electrolysers. By 2050, more than 14,800 TWh of electricity will be dedicated to the production of low‐ emission hydrogen, more than 50% of global electricity demand today.

Demand for clean hydrogen will come overwhelmingly from transport, power and industry, with those sectors making up 95% of consumption in 2050, say the IEA.

Transport

Hydrogen will play an important role in decarbonising road transport, accounting for almost one‐quarter of energy consumption, the IEA said.

Synthetic kerosene, created by combining hydrogen with a non‐fossil fuel source of CO2, will be responsible for about a quarter of energy use in the aviation sector, while direct use of hydrogen accounts for 8% of total energy demand. Following the commercialisation of hydrogen aircraft from 2035, half of all regional and narrow body aircraft sold will be powered by hydrogen by 2050, according to the IEA.

By 2050, ammonia derived from low-emission hydrogen will meet around 45% of demand for shipping fuel with hydrogen accounting for a further 20% of demand, particularly on short‐ to mid‐range routes.

Hydrogen will play an important role in decarbonising road transport, accounting for almost one‐quarter of energy consumption, the IEA said.

Industry

Many industries will lean on hydrogen to decarbonise their operations, but some of the biggest are steel, cement and chemicals, according to the IEA.

Hydrogen‐based direct reduced iron (DRI) will be a “key technology” for primary steel production with much of the hydrogen produced on site via electrolysis. The power to produce electrolytic hydrogen will reach 3% of the steel industry’s final energy consumption by 2030 and more than 25% by 2050.

The production of hydrogen will also drive up the share of electricity in the chemical sector’s energy consumption from about 10% today to 15% by 2030 and 35% by 2050, the IEA predicts. Most of that hydrogen take the place of fossil fuel feedstock for ammonia and methanol production.

Many industries will lean on hydrogen to decarbonise their operations, but some of the biggest are steel, cement and chemicals, according to the IEA.

Power

The IEA also sees both hydrogen and hydrogen-derived ammonia increasingly being blended with natural gas and coal for the production of power towards the end of this decade. A total of 410 GW of natural gas‐fired power plants and 160 GW of coal‐fired plants will be retrofitted by 2050 to co‐fire ammonia and hydrogen, providing 2‐3% of global electricity generation from 2030 to 2050, it predicts.

It is clear that hydrogen is going to play a large role in the decarbonisation of much of the global economy over the coming decade.

To learn more about the hydrogen specialist fund HYCAP click here.

Hydrogen is looking increasingly as though it was made for plant machinery.

Not only are some of the biggest names in the business backing the zero-carbon fuel, including JCB, Volvo and Hyundai, the infrastructure to roll it out is also coming together.

This week, JCB unveiled the world’s first mobile site hydrogen refueller for its hydrogen-powered backhoe loaders and telehandlers.

The design of the refuellers follows the same logic as the other hydrogen-powered vehicles JCB has developed in that it works much like the diesel equivalent.

JCB has opted for hydrogen combustion engines to power its next generation of plant equipment, meaning that the thousands of mechanics and engineers around the world that already know how to service their vehicles won’t have to completely reskill, minimising the cost of transition for its customers.

Currently, about 97% of construction machines are refuelled while working on site – switching to hydrogen allows them to continue to work in a manner they are used to, filling up in a matter of minutes, rather than sitting idle for hours while a battery is recharged.

JCB began its hydrogen journey at its Derbyshire R&D centre in July 2020 and unveiled its first prototype hydrogen-fuelled piston engine 10 months later. In November 2021, JCB announced an increase in the number of engineers working on the development of its hydrogen engines from 100 to 150 and a plan to invest £100 million in the technology. It expects to have the engine ready for pre-production by the end of 2022.

JCB has since been joined by the likes of Volvo Construction Equipment and Hyundai Construction Equipment in exploring the potential of hydrogen to power plant machinery.

JCB began its hydrogen journey at its Derbyshire R&D centre in July 2020 and unveiled its first prototype hydrogen-fuelled piston engine 10 months later. In November 2021, JCB announced an increase in the number of engineers working on the development of its hydrogen engines from 100 to 150 and a plan to invest £100 million in the technology. It expects to have the engine ready for pre-production by the end of 2022.

In June this year, Volvo Construction Equipment started testing the world’s first hydrogen articulated hauler prototype. The Volvo HX04 was born out of a four-year partnership with RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, who provided specialist competence on driveline development and safety, and PowerCell Sweden, a developer of fuel cell-based hydrogen-electric power solutions.

Shell provided a hydrogen refuelling station at the Volvo CE test track in Braas. It can be filled with 12 kg of hydrogen in 7.5 minutes, allowing it to operate for about 4 hours. As with all hydrogen fuel cells, the only by product is water vapour.

Also in June, Hyundai said it plans to introduce hydrogen-powered excavators from 2023. The 14-tonne HW155H concept wheeled excavator is powered by hydrogen fuel cells and offers 8 hours of operation after 20 minutes of refuelling.

Hyundai’s machine is being showcased this week at BAUMA in Munich, Germany, the world’s largest construction machinery trade fair, where Liebherr is debuting its hydrogen-powered R 9XX H2 crawler excavator.

Hyundai said it plans to introduce hydrogen-powered excavators from 2023. The 14-tonne HW155H concept wheeled excavator is powered by hydrogen fuel cells and offers 8 hours of operation after 20 minutes of refuelling.

The R 9XX H2, developed by Liebherr-France SAS in Colmar, follows JCB’s lead in that it features a hydrogen combustion engine instead of fuel cells. The engine can reduce CO2 emissions by almost 100% on a tank-to-wheel basis or by 70% cradle-to-grave, i.e., including the manufacture of the engine itself, Liebherr says.

U.S. engine manufacturer Cummins has also been researching hydrogen combustion products since mid-2021 and recently announced an agreement with agricultural equipment company Versatile to develop a hydrogen-powered tractor.

Cummins’ “goal is to have a common engine from the head gasket down across all three of the fuels that they’re planning on making the engine capable of running on, that being diesel, methane and hydrogen,” said Erron Leafloor of Versatile.

In May of this year, global miner Anglo American unveiled a hydrogen fuel cell replacement for its fleet of diesel-powered monster trucks. The 220-ton beast can carry 290 tons of ore without producing any planet-warming emissions.

After considering options including synthetic fuels and biofuels, it became “crystal clear” hydrogen was the right solution for the job, according to CEO Duncan Wanblad.

Batteries are not practical for equipment with high power demands, and that work in remote locations, such as backhoe loaders and large excavators. Batteries weigh too much, cost too much and recharging them takes hours, meaning unacceptable levels of downtime.

“Fossil fuels are not the future and hydrogen is the practical solution to powering our machines in the decades to come,” JCB Chairman Lord Bamford said when unveiling the hydrogen refueller. “Our British engineers are doing a fantastic job in developing this technology and there are many more exciting developments to come.”

Batteries are not practical for equipment with high power demands, and that work in remote locations, such as backhoe loaders and large excavators. Batteries weigh too much, cost too much and recharging them takes hours, meaning unacceptable levels of downtime.

Hydrogen fuel is a “slam dunk” for heavy-duty transport, including buses, trains, trucks, shipping and aviation, ReThink Energy wrote in a report in June, citing their faster recharging times, superior cycle life and range compared with battery electric vehicles.

As investment in hydrogen vehicles, plant equipment and associated technology continues to increase, ReThink’s prediction is rapidly becoming reality.

To learn more about HYCAP click here.

With clean hydrogen identified as the key to decarbonising a swathe of industries from steel to manufacturing, there has been a great deal of focus on where all the hydrogen is going to come from.

The favoured solution for many is green hydrogen, produced by splitting water into its constituent parts with electrolysers powered by renewable energy. It’s a great solution that will likely provide the world with the majority of the zero-carbon fuel in the coming decades.

There are, however, other emerging technologies for producing clean hydrogen, many of which rely on different materials to electrolysers, providing the kind of diversity that is healthy for any ecosystem.

Just this week, Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University and Malaysia’s Petronas announced a £1 million research project to explore technologies that use thermochemical reactions to produce hydrogen from biomass and other waste materials.

The initial target for the project will be the approximately 4million tonnes of waste and by-products created by the UK’s distilleries, and the 127 million tonnes of agriculture waste produced annually in Malaysia.

Waste is also being used as a feedstock by UK company Powerhouse Energy, which has developed a technology called Distributed Modular Generation that turns plastic, end-of-life tyres and other usually unrecyclable waste into syngas, which can be used to make hydrogen, electricity, and chemical inputs.

Edinburgh’s Heriot-Watt University and Malaysia’s Petronas announced a £1 million research project to explore technologies that use thermochemical reactions to produce hydrogen from biomass and other waste materials.

Among its UK customers is Peel Environmental, which is seeking to build waste-to-hydrogen facilities at Protos Energy Park in Cheshire, and Rothesay Dock on the north bank of the River Clyde in Scotland.

Luxembourg-based Boson Energy has developed a plasma-assisted gasification process that breaks down waste into hydrogen, carbon dioxide and a molten slurry that solidifies into a blue-grey glassy rock.

Boson believes it can cover the cost of hydrogen production by selling the CO2 to industrial customers, the rock to construction companies as aggregate, and charging a fee to local authorities for treating their waste.

It claims to be able to produce 100 kg of carbon-negative hydrogen for every tonne of waste and requires 6 times less renewable electricity than electrolysing water.

There are also other methods of electrolysis being developed, including plasma-driven solution electrolysis, which has a number of advantages over more conventional methods, such as alkaline electrolysis, solid oxide electrolysis, and polymer electrolyte membrane hydrolysis. As well as producing anenergy yield 3.9 times higher than alternatives, there is no need for the precious metal catalysts that drive today’s electrolysers.

There are also some disadvantages of the method, such as the need for gas separation methods to provide high-efficiency removal of hydrogen from gas mixtures, but it could yet develop into a mainstream commercial technology.

Other technologies being explored include a technique being developed by Nanomox Ltd. that produces hydrogen while treating waste from the steel industry.

HiiROC and Jaguar Land Rover were recently awarded £281,000 by the UK government to research the feasibility of thermal plasma electrolysis to produce hydrogen and mitigate the emissions created from industrial paint shop processes.

As part of the same round of awards, ASH Waste Services, Compact Syngas Solutions, and Pure Energy Centre were granted £176,000 to develop a system for turning solid recoverable fuel (SRF) waste into hydrogen.

HiiROC and Jaguar Land Rover were recently awarded £281,000 by the UK government to research the feasibility of thermal plasma electrolysis to produce hydrogen and mitigate the emissions created from industrial paint shop processes.

As is always the case with early stage technologies, not all will make it to commercialisation, but the pipeline of potential technologies feeding into the hydrogen ecosystem is healthy and should ensure there are a range of ways to produce clean hydrogen and decarbonise the economy in the process.

To learn more about HYCAP click here.

Ask the wrong question and you will inevitably get the wrong answer.

When it comes to decarbonisation, the question has for too long been: “which is the better solution, hydrogen or batteries?”

The fault line runs through a number of sectors, most notably transport, domestic heating and energy storage.

In transport, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) are vying with hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (HFCVs); in domestic heating it’s heat pumps versus hydrogen boilers; while in energy storage it’s large battery stacks against compressed or liquefied hydrogen.

High-profile public spats on this topic add fuel to the fire. The media can’t help but report on any developments in the ongoing clash between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Australian billionaire Andrew Forrest, executive chairman of Fortescue Future Industries (FFI).

When it comes to decarbonisation, the question has for too long been: “which is the better solution, hydrogen or batteries?” This is the wrong question. Domestic heating for example can be decarbonised with electricity (using a heat pump) if a house is new; or in the near future we will be able to use hydrogen if the house is older and smaller (as so many houses are in the UK) and therefore not suited to the costly upheaval of a large heat pump.

Notable quotes from the pair include Musk calling hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles “mind-bogglingly stupid” and Forrest referring to Musk as “just a businessman” rather than a “real climate avenger.”

Through Tesla, Musk sells BEVs, battery-based home energy storage systems called Powerwall and battery-based commercial energy storage systems called Megapack. You could say he is heavily invested in batteries.

Forrest’s FFI is one of the world’s biggest investors in green hydrogen, produced by splitting water with electrolysers powered by renewable energy. He envisions using Australia’s huge solar and wind resources to produce enough green hydrogen to meet Australia’s needs for decarbonisation and have some left over for export.

Both are visionaries and both will be needed as the world draws on both batteries and clean hydrogen to decarbonise at pace to reach 2050 net zero targets and avoid catastrophic atmospheric warming.

When it comes to transport, most BEVs are already selling in their millions and have a growing infrastructure to support them, but issues of range, recharging times and environmental impact suggest they shouldn’t be the only game in town. UK government-backed agency the Advanced Propulsion Centre said in a report last month that likely shortages of lithium for electric battery production means that the UK should mitigate against a lack of supply by investing in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Batteries also appear to be unsuitable for larger vehicles. That’s why Ford is developing a hydrogen fuel cell version of its heavy-duty truck, the Super Duty, and not a battery one. “If you’re pulling 10,000 pounds, an electric truck is not the right solution,” said Ford CEO Jim Farley. “And 95% of our customers tow more than 10,000 pounds.”

Ford is developing a hydrogen fuel cell version of its heavy-duty truck, the Super Duty, and not a battery one. “If you’re pulling 10,000 pounds, an electric truck is not the right solution,” said Ford CEO Jim Farley. “And 95% of our customers tow more than 10,000 pounds.”

Get even bigger and fuel cells look increasingly like the solution of choice with the likes of Daimler Trucks, Hyundai, Volvo Trucks and Hyzon Motors recently releasing details of vehicles at varying stages of development.

Then there is the matter of choice. For many drivers, range is the most important factor when purchasing a car, while for others that is less of an issue. Some are prepared to pay a premium for the driving experience, while others are more focused on economics. For instance, hydrogen seems likely to dominate the supercar market thanks to its suitability for internal combustion engines.

When it comes to domestic heating, proponents of air-source heat pumps tout low running costs while ignoring size and high installation costs among other issues, making them inappropriate for a row of older terraced houses (of which there is no shortage in the UK), while hydrogen boilers offer a technology that, while currently more expensive to run, would leave the homes of their users largely intact. This is not an ‘either or’ situation.

Heat pumps are good for newer builds, but most UK homes cannot accommodate them due to their significant size, while low water temperatures mean replacing central heating systems with larger radiators.

Heat pumps cost between £7,000 and £13,000 to install, according to Which?, compared to what will be a cost of around £3,000 for a hydrogen-ready gas boiler. However, those lobbying for a heat pump-only solution tend to ignore upfront costs and focus only on running costs.

For some, the upfront cost may be something they are able to swallow, while for others, a smaller upfront investment may be more suitable. If we were to rely solely on heat pumps, many households would be stuck with natural gas for decades, which is both expensive and responsible for funding Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

Consumers should have the choice of both hydrogen boilers and heat pumps.

Heat pumps cost between £7,000 and £13,000 to install, according to Which?, compared to around £3,000 for a hydrogen-ready gas boiler. However, those lobbying for a heat pump-only solution tend to ignore upfront costs and focus only on running costs. Heat pumps are good for newer builds, but most UK homes cannot accommodate them due to their significant size, while low water temperatures mean replacing central heating systems with larger radiators.

The same goes for battery energy storage compared with hydrogen fuel cells. Both have their pros and cons and are more suitable for some applications than others.

Batteries are highly efficient for short-term energy storage, but losses from self-discharge are significant, making them wholly unsuitable for anything more than a few hours at a time at grid scale.

Green hydrogen, on the other hand, can be stored for months, making it suitable for inter-seasonal energy storage as well as shorter-duration applications.

Again, there is no need for either/or thinking. The question we should be asking is whether we can give end-users a choice of hydrogen and electric options, whether it be for transport, energy storage or home heating and let them decide how to decarbonise.

Investment in the hydrogen economy alongside electrification will provide choice, help us hedge against control of battery raw materials by China and, ultimately, give the world a greater chance of decarbonising in time to avoid devastating levels of global warming.

To learn more about HYCAP click here.

You may be forgiven for not having been gripped by the latest bureaucratic wrangling in the EU over green hydrogen regulation but recent debates over “additionality” and the Delegated Act have important implications for European hydrogen investment.

Until Sept. 14, a key piece of EU legislation, the Renewable Energy Directive II (REDII) included a requirement that all green hydrogen projects had to source their electricity from dedicated renewable energy projects and could only use electricity from the grid when they could be offset with a dedicated supply within the hour.

The idea behind the Delegated Act was a good one: avoid a scenario whereby renewable energy was being cannibalised by the green hydrogen industry at the expense of providing clean power to the grid.

However, such was the expected burden of hourly requirements that green hydrogen investment was predicted to flee to the U.S. where, under the Inflation Reduction Act, subsidies of as much as $3/kg are on offer for certain projects.

On Sept. 14 an amendment was passed by the European Parliament allowing green hydrogen producers to source electricity from the grid so long as they can verify that it has come from a renewable source via a power purchase agreement. Verification will take place every quarter until 2030, giving hydrogen producers time to put PPAs in place if they’re not already covered.

Until Sept. 14, a key piece of EU legislation, the Renewable Energy Directive II (REDII) included a requirement that all green hydrogen projects had to source their electricity from dedicated renewable energy projects and could only use electricity from the grid when they could be offset with a dedicated supply within the hour.

But while hydrogen producers represented by lobbyist Hydrogen Europe were thrilled with the changes, others, such as trade body SolarPower Europe were not so happy, saying green hydrogen production could now cannibalise European renewable energy.

Is there a middle way? Hydrogen Europe CEO Jorgo Chatzimarkakis thinks so. Additionality is not the issue, but the complexity with how it was being implemented in RED II.

“We want additionality because we believe that additionality is the key and the catalyst for an uptake of renewable hydrogen,” he told delegates at the H2Expo in Hamburg last week. “But we have to distinguish between additionality as a principle and very complex rules to prove that.”

The challenge is that the EU is a slow and bureaucratic organisation and it could take up to 2 years to replace the Delegated Act with a replacement.

“That’s too long,” said Chatzimarkakis. “We need a delegated act. We invite the Commission to come up with a pragmatic, realistic proposal, making clear there is additionality, but you don’t need to prove it every 15 minutes. You can prove it every month.”

On Sept. 14 an amendment was passed by the European Parliament allowing green hydrogen producers to source electricity from the grid so long as they can verify that it has come from a renewable source via a power purchase agreement. Verification will take place every quarter until 2030, giving hydrogen producers time to put PPAs in place if they’re not already covered.

As for the UK, the additionality is not a mandatory requirement under the Low Carbon Hydrogen Standard. Instead, additionality is weighted at 5% of a project’s overall score when applying for government support.

The reasoning for such a low weighting is to avoid the kind of difficulties being experienced on the continent. The UK’s approach is not perfect but it does give it the regulatory certainty that green hydrogen investors are looking for.

Green hydrogen, produced by splitting water with electrolysers powered by renewable energy, is needed to decarbonise industries from steel production to transport, construction to power generation. It produces no greenhouse gases when burned or consumed in fuel cells making it the cleanest fuel on earth.

With the right regulatory framework it is an even more attractive investment.

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The global economy cannot do without steel and decarbonising steel is not possible without clean hydrogen.

While there is a whole raft of applications for hydrogen, from decarbonising transport to cleaning up industrial processes to domestic heating, the above fact alone demonstrates the opportunity for investing in hydrogen.

According to a recent report from Wood Mackenzie, 50 megatons of competitively priced green hydrogen will need to be produced every year if the steel industry is to reduce its carbon footprint by the required 90% by 2050.

That means 550-600 GW of electrolyser capacity will need to be installed by the middle of the century, about 2,000 times the 257 MW installed today.

Electrolysers powered by renewable energy are used to split water molecules into their constituent parts to produce hydrogen and oxygen.

Clean hydrogen is used in the production of direct reduced iron (DRI), an essential ingredient of green steel.

According to a recent report from Wood Mackenzie, 50 megatons of competitively priced green hydrogen will need to be produced every year if the steel industry is to reduce its carbon footprint by the required 90% by 2050.

The entire bill for decarbonising the steel industry, including 2,000 GW of renewable energy generation capacity, 470 mt of carbon capture and storage and transitioning to greener iron ore feedstock will be about $1.4 trillion, of which about $176 billion is needed for building a green hydrogen ecosystem, according to Wood Mackenzie.

In short, a lot of clean hydrogen is going to be needed to clean up the steel industry, an essential commodity if we are to continue to construct buildings, make cars and the thousands of other things in which steel is a fundamental material.

The industry has no choice but to embrace hydrogen. Carbon pricing and forthcoming carbon border taxes from the likes of the EU will ensure that steel producers have to decarbonise if they want to sell into the world’s largest economic area.

Steel production accounts for about one quarter of Europe’s carbon emissions.

Demand is also being driven by ethical brands and, ultimately, consumers, who are willing to pay a premium for products with a lower carbon footprint.

The steel industry has no choice but to embrace hydrogen. Carbon pricing and forthcoming carbon border taxes from the likes of the EU will ensure that steel producers have to decarbonise if they want to sell into the world’s largest economic area.

In May, Volvo Trucks announced it will start using green steel manufactured with hydrogen to build its heavy-duty vehicles.

From the third quarter of 2022, it will begin introducing the hydrogen-based steel, produced by Swedish steel manufacturer SSAB.

Initially, the green steel will be used in the vehicles’ frame rails, onto which its other main components are mounted. As more of the fossil fuel-free steel becomes available, Volvo will begin to use it in other parts of the trucks.

“We will increase the use of fossil-free materials in all our trucks to make them net-zero not only in operation – but also when it comes to the materials they are built of,” said Jessica Sandström, senior vice president of product management at Volvo Trucks.

The collaboration between Volvo and SSAB is not their first – in October 2021, Volvo began using green steel in the manufacture of a load carrier for mining and quarrying.

In June, 2022, a group of steel buyers, hydrogen producers and an EU-funded innovation hub joined forces to invest about €2.2bn into developing one of Europe’s largest electrolyser projects for the production of hydrogen for DRI.

In May 2022, Volvo Trucks announced it will start using green steel manufactured with hydrogen to build its heavy-duty vehicles.

The GravitHy consortium aims to have completed its first DRI plant in Fos sur Mer, southern France, by 2027, churning out 2 million tonnes per annum of DRI for use in green steel manufacturing.

The following month, German steel producer Salzgitter said it will spend €723m on the first stage of a long-term plan to decarbonise its business by the end of 2033, including the replacement of coking coal with green hydrogen.

Wood Mackenzie says that the clean hydrogen required from his massive demand will need to be produced for $2/kg or less to make the economics work. Such prices are already within touching distance in some parts of the world, such as the UAE and Brazil, where renewable energy prices are very low, and will become attainable even in higher cost regions, such as Europe in the coming years.

Following the ground-breaking tax break that is part of the Biden administration’s Inflation Reduction Act, green hydrogen prices could be as low as 73 cents/kg in some parts of the US, the cheapest in the world.

The future of the steel industry is being written today.

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Just as the passing of the UK’s longest-reigning monarch has focused our minds on the value of continuity, the election of a new prime minister reminds us that the only constant we can be sure of is change.

Boris Johnson was supportive of clean hydrogen and helped introduce a raft of measures to aid the growth of the industry, including a clean hydrogen production target of 10 GW by 2030, the £240 million Net Zero Hydrogen Fund, £26 million for the Industrial Hydrogen Accelerator, and £100 million for the Hydrogen Business Model, a subsidy scheme for green hydrogen production.

Jacob Rees-Mogg, newly appointed Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, used his first speech in the Commons to insist that the government will “accelerate” the rollout of renewables with “vim and vigour, accelerating the deployment of wind, solar and—particularly exciting, I think—hydrogen technologies.”

The business secretary’s view on clean hydrogen echoed that of the Prime Minister, who earlier in the debate stated: “we will speed up our deployment of all clean and renewable technologies including hydrogen, solar, carbon capture and storage, and wind… where we are already the world leader in offshore generation.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg, newly appointed Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, used his first speech in the Commons to insist that the government will “accelerate” the rollout of renewables with “vim and vigour, accelerating the deployment of wind, solar and—particularly exciting, I think—hydrogen technologies.”

The speeches are reassuring for the hydrogen sector.

“We see no reason to anticipate a change in hydrogen policy in the UK following Liz Truss’s election success and are looking forward to working with the administration to realise her recently stated ambition: ‘I want to see us do more on hydrogen’,” says Celia Greaves, CEO of the UK Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association.

Hydrogen UK CEO Clare Jackson said the Trade association looks forward to “working together to accelerate the hydrogen economy, given our shared passion to see Britain take a leading role in the global energy system.”

Boris Johnson’s government laid the foundations for the sustained investment the UK needs to build the hydrogen economy. Liz Truss must build on that legacy and deliver greater financial support, regulatory environment and infrastructure needed to ensure the UK is the hydrogen investment destination of choice.

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At the beginning of 2022, we predicted a stellar 12 months ahead for hydrogen but few could have foreseen the exponential pace of developments in the sector we have witnessed in the first 8 months of the year.

Accelerated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent surge in energy prices, countries and companies across the world have brought forward plans to produce, store, transport and consume clean hydrogen.

Green hydrogen has been cheaper than liquefied natural gas delivered by tanker in much of Europe this year, providing a clear signal to hydrogen investors.

The northern hemisphere is also rapidly waking up to the realities of climate change after heatwaves and droughts ripped across Europe and North America this summer, bolstering the case for increased investment in hydrogen.

Research continues to point to rapidly declining costs for producing hydrogen. Economies of scale will help push down the price of hydrogen electrolysers to $340/kW by 2030 from $1,400/kW today, according to a recent report from Rethink Energy.

The northern hemisphere is also rapidly waking up to the realities of climate change after heatwaves and droughts ripped across Europe and North America this summer, bolstering the case for increased investment in hydrogen.

More than 100GW of electrolysers will be produced every year by the end of the decade, contributing to an average global price for green hydrogen of $1.50/kg, compared with about $6/kg today.

Costs are also being reduced by landmark legislation on both sides of the Atlantic. In April, the UK government doubled its low carbon hydrogen production target to 10GW from 5GW and launched the Hydrogen Business Model, the world’s first subsidy scheme for green hydrogen production, clearing the way for billions of pounds of investment in the country’s hydrogen economy.

In the U.S. last month, President Biden passed the Inflation Reduction Act, providing $369 billion for energy and climate projects, including a subsidy of as much as $3/kg for clean hydrogen.

We even saw the launch of The Hydrogen Show, a brand new multi-platform series accelerating growth of the hydrogen economy with the latest hydrogen sector news.

Accelerated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent surge in energy prices, countries and companies across the world have brought forward plans to produce, store, transport and consume clean hydrogen.

Hydrogen production

New hydrogen production projects announced this year so far include the massive 60GW Hydrogen City project in Texas that will produce clean rocket fuel for Elon Musk’s SpaceX, and the deal by Abu Dhabi’s Masdar to develop clean energy projects including integrated offshore wind and green hydrogen projects with a capacity of 2,000 MW in Azerbaijan.

In July, Shell reached a final investment decision to build Holland Hydrogen 1, a 200MW green hydrogen plant that will be the biggest of its kind in Europe when operational in 2025. In the UK, new clean hydrogen projects announced this year include a €170 million plant being built by Iberdrola in the UK’s largest port, Felixstowe.

This year has also seen a flurry of hydrogen hub announcements across the UK, including a Hydrogen Ecosystem, which was unveiled by the GW4 Alliance of leading universities in the UK’s southwest, and Western Gateway, a grouping of regional government and enterprise bodies focused on net zero delivery.

Soon after, proposals for a 35MW commercial hydrogen hub, located on industrial-zoned land in Barrow-in-Furness, were launched by a public-private partnership involving Carlton Power, Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, Barrow Borough Council, Cadent, and Electricity North West.

This summer, the UK government also revealed the 20 shortlisted projects from Hynet and East Coast Cluster that were chosen for funding last year. Hydrogen production projects including bpH2Teesside, H2NorthEast, Hydrogen to Humber (H2H) Saltend and HyNet Hydrogen Production Project (HPP) will all proceed to the due diligence stage of the Phase-2 Cluster Sequencing process.

In Scotland, the award in August of seabed rights for a 2.8GW floating wind farm off Shetland that will be focused on hydrogen represents a huge step forward for the industry.

It’s not all new announcements either; projects are starting to come online, including an 800kW green hydrogen facility in Hazira, Gujarat, being built by Larsen & Toubro.

In Scotland, the award in August of seabed rights for a 2.8GW floating wind farm off Shetland that will be focused on hydrogen represents a huge step forward for the industry.

Hydrogen transport

One of the big advantages of green hydrogen is that it can be produced anywhere with a supply of renewable energy and an electrolyser, but there will be a need for some large consumers, particularly in Europe, to import the clean fuel as well to meet demand.

Germany has been at the forefront of efforts to secure foreign supply of clean hydrogen and it again showed its ambition last month as Chancellor Olaf Scholz signed a five-year agreement to begin imports of hydrogen produced from renewable energy in Canada.

German companies have also signed agreements with entities in Australia, Chile, the UAE and India this year to explore imports of clean hydrogen using a variety of technologies, including Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers (LOHC) and ammonia.

Projects to move clean hydrogen via pipelines are also in development, with plans to connect Norway and Denmark to Germany currently the most advanced.

Hydrogen vehicles

In August, Amazon put clean hydrogen on the front pages with an agreement to buy nearly 11,000 tons of green hydrogen a year from Plug Power from 2025 to fuel forklifts and heavy-duty trucks.

That deal was yet another boost for hydrogen as a transport fuel. In August, Hyundai that it had signed a deal with the German government and seven companies to deliver 27 of its XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks, while Daimler Trucks announced that it is testing the use of liquid hydrogen in its Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Truck with the aim of extending the range of the vehicles to 1,000 km (621 miles) and beyond.

Hydrogen is also rapidly becoming the solution of choice for decarbonising plant machinery, as some of the biggest players in the sector, including JCB and Volvo Construction Equipment as well as miners such as Anglo American made public machines that run on the clean fuel.

The potential of hydrogen to dominate the bus market was again on show in June when Wrightbus announced a deal to supply German operator RVK with 60 hydrogen buses over the coming two years.

Consumer vehicle brands are also betting on a hydrogen future. In August, BMW Group CEO Oliver Zipse said its future Neue Klasse EV platform may include fuel cell power trains with vehicles based on the technology hitting the market in 2025.

The potential of hydrogen to dominate the bus market was again on show in June when Wrightbus announced a deal to supply German operator RVK with 60 hydrogen buses over the coming two years.

Toyota, the world’s biggest car company, released a new version of its Mirai hydrogen vehicle earlier this year equipped with a system that actually purifies the air around it rather than making it dirtier. Unlike battery-electric vehicles, the Mirai can be refuelled with 350 miles or more of range in less than 5 minutes.

Motorsport is increasingly looking to hydrogen combustion engines to fuel the next generation of racing cars, keeping the romance associated with the sport while eliminating the emissions. Toyota debuted the GR Yaris H2 outside of Japan at the Ypres Rally in Belgium in August, while Porsche said it had developed a V8 hydrogen combustion engine that aims to match the power and torque of current high-performance gasoline engines.

Industrial hydrogen

Even more important in the race to decarbonise the global economy, have been developments in the use of hydrogen in industry.

BMW signed a contract last month with Sweden’s H2 Green Steel to buy its hydrogen-produced steel. One of India’s biggest companies, Reliance Industries, said it will build 20 GW of solar energy capacity as it seeks to transition its entire grey hydrogen production to green by 2025.

Closer to home, a consortium of European iron and steel producers, GravitHy, made up of EIT InnoEnergy, Engie New Ventures, Plug, FORVIA and GROUPE IDEC, said it planned to invest €2.2 billion to produce 2 million tonnes of hydrogen-powered ‘direct reduced iron’ annually from 2027.

Other industries are getting in on the action too. Recent weeks have seen deals signed by the likes of Kleenex and Andrex maker Kimberly-Clark, which will buy green hydrogen from Carlton Power for its factory in Barrow-in-Furness in Cumbria, and Scotland’s Arbikie Distillery, which has been awarded planning permission for a 1MW wind turbine to make green hydrogen to fuel its operations.

The UK was home to another major milestone in the decarbonisation of the industrial economy in July after British company Tarmac led a project to produce industrial lime with clean hydrogen.

This is only a snapshot of what has been achieved by the pioneers driving the hydrogen economy in the first 8 months of the year. The final third of 2022 will be packed with even more developments which we will share with you in December.

To learn more about HYCAP click here.

If necessity is the mother of invention, expect a lot more hydrogen to start flowing towards Europe over the coming decade.

Germany, in particular, is desperate to wean itself off fossil fuels after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent the cost of natural gas into the stratosphere and made continued purchases from its biggest supplier (also Russia) untenable.

Germany, in particular, is desperate to wean itself off fossil fuels after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent the cost of natural gas into the stratosphere and made continued purchases from its biggest supplier (also Russia) untenable.

While in the short-term Germany, and other European nations including the UK, are increasing their purchases of seaborne liquefied natural gas (LNG), much of the continent will be forced to ration energy this winter. There is also the not insignificant issue of carbon dioxide emissions from burning natural gas that point to the need for another solution.

Germany’s response has been to double down on its pursuit of clean hydrogen, both from domestic sources and from abroad.

Clean hydrogen can help decarbonise industries from steelmaking to construction, transport to heating. Hydrogen produced by splitting water with electrolysers powered by renewable energy creates no carbon dioxide and neither does burning it or consuming it in fuel cells, making it the cleanest fuel on the planet.

Germany has doubled down on its pursuit of clean hydrogen, both from domestic sources and from abroad.

The EU aims to produce up to 1 million metric tonnes of renewable hydrogen per year by 2024, and 10 million mt per year by 2030 under its Hydrogen Strategy. It has since increased its target to include imports of 20 million mt per year by 2030 to replace 25-50 bcm per year of imported Russian gas.

Imports will cover about half of Europe’s hydrogen needs by 2050, according to a report last year from the World Energy Council.

German companies have been at the forefront of efforts to secure foreign supply of clean hydrogen and it again showed its ambition last week as Chancellor Olaf Scholz signed a five-year deal agreement to begin imports of hydrogen produced from renewable energy in Canada.

Canada is “aiming to become a major producer and exporter of hydrogen as well as related clean technologies,” according to the agreement, while Germany is “aiming to import significant amounts of renewable hydrogen to decarbonize its hard-to-abate sectors in line with its 2045 climate neutrality target.”

Canada is aiming to become a major producer and exporter of hydrogen.

Canada has vast wind resources – the deal was signed in Stephenville, a small town northeast of New York near at least two large-scale wind farms that will be used to generate clean hydrogen.

Canada “has almost boundless potential to become a superpower in sustainable energy and sustainable resource production,” Germany’s Scholz said earlier in the day. “Germany, for its part, stands ready to become one of your closest partners.”

The Germany-Canada deal is an important one in the creation of a cross-Atlantic hydrogen trade, but it won’t be the last.

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The US has upped the ante in the global quest to decarbonise the economy by mass producing clean hydrogen.

The Inflation Reduction Act became law on Aug. 7, providing $369 billion for energy and climate projects, including a subsidy of as much as $3/kg for clean hydrogen.

The subsidy works on a sliding scale, so that the cleaner the end product, the bigger the tax credit it receives, starting at 60c/kg. That means support for a variety of clean hydrogen technologies, including blue, which is made by capturing the carbon dioxide produced during traditional production.

It also makes green hydrogen, created by splitting water with electrolysers powered by renewable energy “immediately cost-competitive” with unabated traditional grey hydrogen, made with natural gas and steam reformation, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights.

How cost competitive depends on the cost of electricity on any particular day. S&P’s calculations show a PEM electrolyser producing hydrogen on the US Gulf Coast with the maximum $3/kg tax credit applied would have been cheaper than grey production 54% of the time in the year through August 2022.

The Inflation Reduction Act became law in the US on Aug. 7, providing $369 billion for energy and climate projects, including a subsidy of as much as $3/kg for clean hydrogen.

However, those calculations assume taking power from the grid, but many green hydrogen projects will have dedicated renewable energy supplies, reducing the cost of electricity significantly. The cost of electrolysers and of renewable energy are predicted to continue to decline rapidly over the coming years, providing further downward pressure on the price of green hydrogen.

Even after sharp declines in the cost of renewables over the past couple of decades, electricity costs from both onshore and offshore wind fell by a further 15% since 2020, while rooftop solar PV dropped by 13%, according to data from the International Renewable Energy Agency.

The Inflation Reduction Act is an unalloyed good for the global hydrogen economy, providing a huge injection of cash into clean production in the world’s largest economy.

“With the passage of the Act, we expect a boom for our electrolyser and green hydrogen business,” said Andrew Marsh, CEO of Plug Power. “All applications that use grey hydrogen today, such as fertiliser manufacturing, will now be able to buy green hydrogen at a competitive price.”

For European projects, however, the Act provides something of a challenge. With such large incentives in place to invest in US projects, money could be drawn away from Europe, Mark Hutchinson, head of Fortescue Future Industries and former head of GE Europe, told the Financial Times this week.

If Brussels is to be successful in replacing Russian gas it will need to provide more competitive incentives, he said. “Otherwise, what’s going to happen? All the green capital is going to be flowing into the US and you’re just going to miss out,” he told the FT.

Fortescue signed a non-binding deal earlier this year to sell Germany green hydrogen equivalent to about one third of its gas imports from Russia by 2030.

With such large incentives in place to invest in US projects, money could be drawn away from European clean energy projects.

The EU’s energy strategy, RepowerEU, predicts the consumption of 20 million tonnes of clean hydrogen by 2030, of which half will come from domestic production with the remainder imported from low-cost producers such as Australia, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Brazil.

RePowerEU relies on incentives based around contracts for difference, similar to the UK’s system, but the details are yet to be fleshed out. However, what is clear is that, while the US will provide differential levels of funding for projects based on how clean they are, in the EU, as of 2026 it will only provide support for green hydrogen projects powered by new wind and solar plants.

Clean hydrogen has the potential to decarbonise industries from steel manufacturing to chemical production, transport to energy storage. Burning produces no greenhouse emissions, such as carbon dioxide, while using it in fuel cells emits nothing but water vapour.

Green hydrogen could meet 24% of the world’s energy demands by 2050 while cutting CO2 levels by 34%, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Hydrogen Economy Outlook.

Billions of dollars of investment is pouring into the hydrogen sector at all stages of the supply chain from both government and private investors.

“The US has changed the game,” according to Hutchinson. “They have created an industry out of nowhere.”

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After global warming, waste pollution is the biggest environmental threat to our planet.

Global plastics production doubled from 2000 to 2019 to reach 460 million tonnes, accounting for 3.4% of worldwide carbon emissions, according to the OECD.

Only 9% of plastic waste is recycled – 15% is collected for recycling but 40% of that is disposed of as residues. A further 19% is incinerated, 50% ends up in landfill and 22% goes straight into uncontrolled dumps, is burned in open pits, or ends up in oceans and rivers or strewn across open land.

The potential for clean hydrogen made from splitting water with renewable energy to help in the fight against climate change is well known. Less so, the ability to turn waste, including hard-to-recycle plastics, into clean hydrogen.

Some of world’s leading waste-to-hydrogen companies are from the UK, including Powerhouse Energy, developer of a technology called Distributed Modular Generation (DMG), which takes plastic, end-of-life tyres and other usually unrecyclable waste and turns them into syngas, which can be used to make hydrogen, electricity, and chemical inputs.

Now, the UK government is seeing the potential in this technology and has provided funding to two early-stage projects as part of its £5 million Hydrogen BECCS Innovation Programme Phase 1.

Levidian Nanosystems and United Utilities were granted £212,000 for a project to use biogas from wastewater treatment as feedstock to produce hydrogen and graphene through Levidian’s LOOP process.

The UK water industry produces 489 million cubic metres of biogas annually from its anaerobic digestion processes.

Levidian claims its LOOP process produces hydrogen at little to no cost because there is a market for its other product, graphene.

Some of world’s leading waste-to-hydrogen companies are from the UK, including Powerhouse Energy, developer of a technology called Distributed Modular Generation (DMG), which takes plastic, end-of-life tyres and other usually unrecyclable waste and turns them into syngas, which can be used to make hydrogen, electricity, and chemical inputs.

Similar economics are being marketed by another leader in the waste-to-hydrogen space, Luxembourg-based Boson Energy, which has developed a plasma-assisted gasification process that breaks down waste into hydrogen, carbon dioxide and a molten slurry that solidifies into a blue-grey glassy rock.

Municipalities will pay for their waste to be taken away, the rock can be sold for construction, making the hydrogen cheaper than that produced by electrolysis, according to Boson.

Waste-to-hydrogen technology being developed by the University of Aberdeen received £220,000 in funding from the UK Government’s Hydrogen BECCS Innovation Programme, it was announced this week.

The UK government is seeing the potential in waste-t0-hydrogen technology and has provided funding to two early-stage projects as part of its £5 million Hydrogen BECCS Innovation Programme Phase 1.

The University of Aberdeen is working with Cranfield University in England, and the University of Verona in Italy to commercialise its four-stage process: dark fermentation, anaerobic digestion, plasma reforming, and steam gasification.

Only with investment in early-stage hydrogen technologies such as these will the UK maintain its place at the forefront of the emerging hydrogen economy. We support the efforts of the government to ensure this happens.

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There is no denying that global warming has arrived in the UK, and not just because we’ve recently experienced our warmest ever temperature when the mercury rose above 40 degrees Celsius for the first time in July.

All of the UK’s 10 warmest years on record have been since 2002, while heatwaves are now 30 times more likely to happen, according to the Met Office.

UK winters are projected to become warmer and wetter, while summers become hotter and drier. By 2050, heatwaves of the kind seen in 2018 and 2022 are expected to happen every other year.

There is no denying that global warming has arrived in the UK, and not just because we’ve recently experienced our warmest ever temperature when the mercury rose above 40 degrees Celsius for the first time in July.

Even if the Paris climate goals are reached and warming is limited to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, sea levels around the UK will keep rising beyond 2100 and parts of the UK will be at risk of permanent flooding.

While it’s not the most cheerful thought to ponder this summer, the consequences of not meeting the Paris climate goals are profoundly worse with prolonged heatwaves, droughts and extreme weather events all becoming increasingly common and severe with no part of the world spared.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s April report Mitigation of Climate Change said unequivocally that hydrogen will play a vital role in reaching net-zero emissions, particularly in hard-to-decarbonise areas such as heavy industry, transport and energy storage.

“Hydrogen could provide long-term electricity storage to support high-penetration of intermittent renewables and could enable trading and storage of electricity between different regions to overcome seasonal or production capability differences,” said the IPCC in its report.

“It could also be used in lieu of natural gas for peaking generation, provide process heat for industrial needs, or be used in the metal sector via direct reduction of iron ore,” it said. “Clean hydrogen could be used as a feedstock in the production of various chemicals and synthetic hydrocarbons.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s April report Mitigation of Climate Change said unequivocally that hydrogen will play a vital role in reaching net-zero emissions, particularly in hard-to-decarbonise areas such as heavy industry, transport and energy storage.

“Finally, hydrogen-based fuel cells could power vehicles. Fuel cell technology could complement electric vehicles in supporting the decarbonisation of heavy-duty transport segments (e.g., trucks, buses, ships, and trains).”

Hydrogen produces no greenhouse gases when it is combusted or used in fuel cells, and can be created emissions free by powering electrolysers with renewable energy to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

There is no time to waste. Clean hydrogen will be responsible for 10% of the world’s emissions reductions by 2030, if the world is to meet its obligations under the Paris Agreement, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

That’s 3.7 gigatonnes per year of carbon dioxide that won’t be released into the atmosphere if clean hydrogen can be produced in sufficient quantities to decarbonise industries from steel manufacturing and transport to chemicals production and construction.

The ramp up in clean hydrogen production will need to be unprecedented: from close to zero currently to 154 million tonnes per year by 2030 and 614 million tonnes per year by 2050, according to IRENA. Electrolyser capacity, to split water into hydrogen and oxygen with renewable energy, will need to reach 350 GW by 2030.

To make that happen, serious levels of investment in hydrogen is going to be needed. IRENA estimates that about 3% of the $3 trillion a year that needs to be invested in the energy system by 2030 will need to be funnelled into hydrogen. That’s about $90 billion a year or $810 billion in total.

Hydrogen investment is happening. Almost every week, a new government fund or support mechanism is launched, while private sector investment in clean hydrogen is also on the up.

The UK hopes to unlock £9 billion of private sector investment in clean hydrogen and last month appointed its first hydrogen champion, Jane Toogood, with the aim of bringing business and government together in the goal of creating 10 GW of hydrogen production capacity by 2030.

On the same day, green hydrogen projects were able to apply for government funding through the Hydrogen Business Model, a support mechanism that ensures green hydrogen producers can earn a return while reducing the cost of clean hydrogen, and the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund, £240 million of grant funding to support the upfront costs of developing and building low carbon hydrogen production projects.

Clean hydrogen is critical to the world minimising global warming and the potentially devastating consequences of missing the Paris climate goals. Front loading investment in hydrogen today stacks the odds in our favour that we can leave an inhabitable planet for our children the generations that follow.

To learn more about HYCAP click here.

Renewables aren’t the only way to produce carbon-free hydrogen.

While wind and solar energy are likely to be the main sources of energy used to produce clean hydrogen over the coming decades, the world is on the verge of a nuclear renaissance that offers the possibility of an alternative supply of carbon-free electricity.

While nuclear energy is not beloved of all environmental groups, it produces no carbon dioxide or other airborne pollutants and is likely to play a major role as nations seek to meet their net zero targets.

As well as providing clean electricity, nuclear plants can power the electrolysers that are used to split water into oxygen and clean hydrogen. Using hydrogen in fuel cells produces no emissions apart from water vapour, making hydrogen produces by renewables or nuclear energy the cleanest fuel on the planet.

The potential of so-called pink hydrogen – as opposed to green, blue, or grey (not to mention turquoise) – was highlighted last week by a coalition of industry players under the moniker the Nuclear Hydrogen Initiative (NHI).

Led by environmental lobbyist, the Clean Air Task Force, NHI argues that all paths to producing clean hydrogen need to be explored if the necessary scale is to be achieved in the transition to a hydrogen economy.

Among the benefits of adopting nuclear powered hydrogen production are its capacity factors of above 90% and the need for minimal land resources compared with renewables. Because nuclear plants produce heat as well as electricity, they are well suited to use with high temperature steam electrolysers, which are considerably more efficient than their regular alkaline and PEM cousins.

In Nuclear’s favour as a source of power for making hydrogen, is the need for so-called baseload power during periods of low wind or sun, an important plank in the UK’s energy security strategy as it moves away from imported oil and gas.

Modern nuclear reactors that operate at extremely high temperatures can even produce hydrogen thermochemically without the need for electrolysers at all.

One of the keys to producing cheap hydrogen is high utilisation rates for electrolysers and that is easier to achieve with nuclear than with renewables.

However, there remain a number of questions surrounding the role of nuclear in clean hydrogen production, notably the high cost of electricity production compared with renewables.

The latest offshore wind auction in the UK produced a strike price of £37.35 per MWh, compared with £92.50 per MWh for Hinkley C, currently being constructed in Somerset, England.

In its favour, however, is the need for so-called baseload power during periods of low wind or sun, an important plank in the UK’s energy security strategy as it moves away from imported oil and gas.

Clearly the part nuclear will play in the developing hydrogen economy should be explored as we invest in our hydrogen future.

To learn more about HYCAP click here.

The price of liquefied natural gas is higher than green hydrogen in eight European countries, providing a major tailwind to invest in hydrogen.

The levelized cost of green hydrogen produced with alkaline electrolysers, i.e., not including any subsidies, is cheaper than natural gas in countries including the UK, Sweden, Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Poland, according to data from BloombergNEF.

The price of natural gas has soared over the past year as Russia reduced supplies to Europe amidst its invasion of Ukraine. Meanwhile, the cost of renewable energy and electrolysers used to produce green hydrogen continues to fall.

The levelized cost of green hydrogen produced with alkaline electrolysers, i.e., not including any subsidies, is cheaper than natural gas in countries including the UK

BloombergNEF’s analysis found that Sweden and Italy were capable of producing the cheapest hydrogen in Europe, while the cost of production would be highest in Germany and Poland, reflecting relative renewable energy costs.

Onshore wind is the cheapest source of electricity across Europe, while solar is the cheapest in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, according to BloombergNEF. Green hydrogen is not currently cheaper than natural gas in China, the US, or the UAE where gas prices are lower.

While natural gas prices are predicted to decline towards the end of the decade, so will the cost of green hydrogen.

According to a report earlier this year by Rethink Energy, the cost of green hydrogen will fall from about $3.70/kg today to just over $1/kg in 2035 and $0.75/kg by 2050. Green hydrogen will be produced for $1/kg in some countries by 2030, according to Wood Mackenzie.

The cost of green hydrogen is reliant on the price of renewable energy, which has been steadily falling for decades and continues to do so.

Green hydrogen also has the advantage that its production costs are predictable and steady, contrasting with natural gas, which is a highly volatile commodity, the price of which can be manipulated by the few large players, such as Russia, that control global supplies.

The cost of green hydrogen is reliant on the price of renewable energy, which has been steadily falling for decades and continues to do so.

Green hydrogen’s current price advantage over natural gas makes short-term investment decisions easier, particularly when it is replacing natural gas in industrial processes, heating and energy production.

Today’s price dynamics are also important because the traditional way of making hydrogen is through steam reforming natural gas, also known as grey hydrogen.

It was only in March that BloombergNEF data showed that green hydrogen production costs were below grey. Now it is cheaper even than grey hydrogen’s main input.

The numbers speak for themselves. Clean hydrogen is not only the future; it is the present.

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If the UK is to be a leader in the emerging hydrogen economy, it will be off the back of its world-beating offshore wind industry.

Home to the world’s biggest offshore wind farm, the UK was also the largest market for offshore wind until last year when it was overtaken by China.

Offshore wind is important because it is the source of the renewable energy that will power the electrolysers used to split water, creating oxygen and clean hydrogen.

Renewable energy was the biggest source of electricity in the UK in the first quarter of this year, providing 38.2 TWh or 45.5% of the total 84.0 TWh produced. Offshore wind was the biggest source of renewable energy, providing 14.9% of total electricity generation, while onshore wind delivered 13.9%. Solar PV, by contrast, made up just 2.4% of total electricity production in the period.

While offshore wind is only just ahead of onshore wind in terms of output, the future is very much offshore after the pipeline of onshore projects was interrupted by a moratorium on subsidies for such projects that only ended in 2022 after more than 5 years.

Home to the world’s biggest offshore wind farm, the UK was also the largest market for offshore wind until last year when it was overtaken by China. (Pictured: wind turbines off the shores of Brighton, U.K.)

At the most recent government renewable energy auction earlier this month, offshore wind also showed itself to be the cheapest source of power as it took 7 GW of the 11 GW of projects that qualified for subsidies under the government’s contracts for difference (CfD) scheme.

CFDS provide generators with guaranteed returns by paying the difference between market prices and a pre-agreed ‘strike’ price. That can work both ways as developers can pay the government when, as currently, wholesale power prices are above the strike price.

The price of UK offshore wind has fallen 70% since it was first allocated subsidies in 2015 and fell almost £2/MWh compared with 2019’s offshore wind auction, even though developers are facing considerable inflationary pressures.

In April this year, responding to the surge in energy prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the UK government raised its target for offshore wind capacity to 50 GW by 2030 from 40 GW.

Today, it has 12.7 GW of connected offshore wind energy across 44 wind farms containing over 2,500 turbines. That includes Hornsea One, with a capacity of 1,218 MW, currently the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

There have been serious questions about whether the UK can meet that target but steps have been bringing it into the realms of possibility, including cutting the usual planning period for offshore wind projects to 1 year from 4 years.

Just last week, National Grid ESO published details of what it sees as the optimal transmission requirements for offshore wind. “Pathway to 2030 Holistic Network Design” proposes linking 23 GW of projects with each other and the mainland through hubs that represent a move away from the radial transmission design that has prevailed until now.

It might seem like a peripheral technical issue, but it’s an important step for the UK as it lays the groundwork for forthcoming offshore wind projects.

These projects are vital to the UK’s future domestic hydrogen industry because they will power the electrolysers that produce the clean fuel. The first wave of hydrogen production in the UK is centred around ports and coastal industrial clusters.

There have been serious questions about whether the UK can meet that target but steps have been bringing it into the realms of possibility, including cutting the usual planning period for offshore wind projects to 1 year from 4 years.

In June, Hydrogen East joined a growing list of hydrogen hubs that are progressing around the country, including major government backed industrial clusters in Teesside and the Humber, and the northwest. Smaller projects have been proposed for sites along the south coast including Southampton, Shoreham and Portsmouth.

Hydrogen East, based around Bacton on the Norfolk coast, will have access to the growing roster of offshore wind projects nearby, including Norfolk Vanguard and Sheringham Shoal.

Offshore wind projects with hydrogen plans attached to them include BP and Masdar’s 500 MW HyGreen Teesside project, the smaller Tees Green Hydrogen production centre, launched by EDF Renewables in March, while Shell and RWE said last year they would explore the possibilities of establishing integrated projects for the production of green hydrogen using offshore wind power on a gigawatt scale in in the northeast of England.

In May, Vattenfall was awarded £9.3m in innovation funding from the Net Zero Innovation Portfolio Low Carbon Hydrogen Supply 2 to develop the world’s first hydrogen-producing offshore wind turbine, with the electrolyser sited directly onto an existing operational turbine.

In June, RWE and Scottish Gas Networks (SGN) signed an agreement to investigate the development of wind-supplied electrolysis in Scotland to meet heating demand.

We may not have the solar resources of Brazil, Chile or Namibia but with some of best wind resources in the world, the UK can still be a leader in the hydrogen economy.

It won’t be a shoo-in, however. Billions of pounds of investment will be needed coupled with supportive government policies and the innovation British companies are known for.

With a fair wind behind us, we can stake out a leading position in the global hydrogen economy.

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Another major milestone has been reached in the decarbonisation of the industrial economy after UK-based Tarmac led a project to produce industrial lime with clean hydrogen.

The company Tarmac replaced natural gas in the lime production process, which involves heating calcium carbonate from limestone to about 1,000 degrees Celsius. By burning hydrogen, no carbon dioxide was emitted from burning the fuel, only water vapour.

Lime production is the second largest source of carbon emissions from industrial processes after cement production. Fuel emissions account for about one third of the CO2 emissions in lime production, with the remainder coming from the conversion of limestone to quicklime.

Lime is used a host of industrial and manufacturing applications, including steel production, construction, food, agriculture and environmental services such as purifying drinking water.

The biggest consumer of lime is the steel industry, which uses it to turn iron into ‘pig iron’, as a fluxing agent in furnaces and to enhance the life of the furnaces.

The biggest consumer of lime is the steel industry, which uses it to turn iron into ‘pig iron’, as a fluxing agent in furnaces and to enhance the life of the furnaces.

Hydrogen is also being used to replace coking coal in the direct reduction process, further slashing the carbon emissions from its production. The world’s first green steel made with clean hydrogen was produced last year by Swedish green steel venture HYBRIT, which is aiming to demonstrate the technology on an industrial scale as early as 2026.

Just this week, BP signed a memorandum of understanding with Thyssenkrupp Steel with the aim of developing a long-term supply of low carbon hydrogen and renewable power for steel production.

The decarbonisation of the lime production process is another feather in the cap for clean hydrogen, which is the only viable option for eliminating CO2 emissions from industries including metals, chemicals manufacturing and construction and has a major role to play in decarbonising travel and energy storage.

Companies including Rolls Royce, ITM Power, Ceres Power, Ryze Hydrogen, JCB and Wrightbus (pictured world first zero carbon emission double deck bus), as well as British energy majors BP and Shell, have been driving innovation in the hydrogen economy

Hydrogen produced from the electrolysis of water with renewable energy produces no CO2 emissions, making it the cleanest energy carrier in the world.

The fact that this world first happened in the UK is also a testament to the nation’s growing influence in the global hydrogen economy. Companies including Rolls Royce, ITM Power, Ceres Power, Ryze Hydrogen, JCB and Wrightbus, as well as British energy majors BP and Shell, have been driving innovation in the hydrogen economy in recent years all along the supply chain, from electrolyser manufacturing to hydrogen supply, transport and plant machinery.

We can now add lime manufacturing to the list.

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It’s hard to overstate how much Germany wants to wean itself off Russian gas.

Such is its desire to rid itself of dependence on the hydrocarbons that are fuelling Vladimir Putin’s war machine that it is not only investing in hydrogen production at home; it is planning to fund infrastructure abroad to meet expected demand.

In December last year, Germany’s €900 million ($1 billion) plan to subsidise green hydrogen production outside the EU countries was approved by the European Commission, which waved state-aid rules.

The program, H2Global, is looking to fund up to 500 MW of electrolyser capacity abroad using competitive auctions to drive down the cost of globally traded hydrogen.

Such is Germany’s desire to rid itself of dependence on the hydrocarbons that are fuelling Vladimir Putin’s war machine that it is not only investing in hydrogen production at home; it is planning to fund infrastructure abroad to meet expected demand.

Moreover, an even larger figure – €3.6 billion – is being sought for the scheme to accelerate Germany’s energy transition, according to the country’s draft budget for 2023 that was approved by the Federal Cabinet on July 1.

That suggests even greater ambition for a project that promises to accelerate global hydrogen production and trade, eliminating some of the chicken and egg dilemma that can hold back the development of new markets.

Germany launched H2Global in early 2021 because it believes it will struggle to produce enough clean hydrogen domestically to meet its decarbonisation goals.

The cheapest green hydrogen is expected to be produced by countries with the greatest renewable energy resources, such as solar, wind and hydropower. However, shipping costs will add to the price for end users, such as Germany.

Europe’s largest economy has already signed agreements with Canada, Chile, Japan, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates to work together on clean hydrogen. However, concrete import deals will only be signed following forthcoming auctions.

The cheapest green hydrogen is expected to be produced by countries with the greatest renewable energy resources, such as solar, wind and hydropower. However, shipping costs will add to the price for end users, such as Germany.

In April, S&P Global Commodity Insights reported that H2Global would begin its first auction for a 10-year contract for green ammonia (derived from green hydrogen) imports in the second quarter, leading to a first cargo in 2024. That is yet to materialise but suggests the first auction is imminent.

Germany will subsidise the cargoes using a contracts-for-difference mechanism similar to that being used by the UK government to support affordable domestic hydrogen production

It will be fascinating to see which countries bid in the first auctions, what prices are achieved and who wins.

The EU is planning an agreement with Namibia, long touted for its potential as a green hydrogen hub due to its exceptional renewable energy resources.

Ultimately, the scheme will accelerate the adoption of clean hydrogen and help build a global trade network in the fuel that is the key to decarbonising heavy industry, transport, manufacturing, energy and heating.

Germany is not alone. The EU is planning an agreement with Namibia, long touted for its potential as a green hydrogen hub due to its exceptional renewable energy resources, to support imports of the fuel from the African nation, officials told Reuters this week.

Government backing for hydrogen imports would ensure that the UK is also at the centre of the emerging trade in the clean fuel.

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First the bad news: The world needs more clean hydrogen than is currently forecast to be produced over the coming 3 decades if it is to meet the Paris climate goals and keep global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The good news: That leaves a huge opportunity to invest in hydrogen production and blow past those forecasts.

That’s the conclusion of a recent report by US-based assurance and risk management specialist DNV. In Hydrogen Future to 2050 , DNV predicts hydrogen should meet about 15% of energy demand by 2050 but is currently set to reach just 5% by that time.

The world needs more clean hydrogen than is currently forecast to be produced over the coming 3 decades if it is to meet the Paris climate goals and keep global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Even to meet 5% of energy demand, $6.8 trillion will be invested in clean hydrogen production by 2050, with a further $180 billion spent on hydrogen pipelines and $530 billion on building and operating ammonia terminals, according to the report.

The dominant source of clean hydrogen will be electrolysers, which use renewable electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, while so-called blue hydrogen, derived from natural gas with carbon capture, will account for about one quarter of production by 2050, DNV says.

Regional transport of hydrogen will mainly happen via pipelines, of which between 50% and 80% will be repurposed from natural gas pipelines. That’s because repurposing will cost just 10%-35% as much as building a new hydrogen-ready pipeline, according to the report.

However, pipelines are rarely suitable for intercontinental transport, so seaborne transportation will be the primary method of distribution. Because ammonia is safer and more convenient to transport over long distances, 59% of it will be used for inter-regional transportation, with the remaining consumed within region, DNV forecasts.

The biggest consumers of clean hydrogen will be transport and manufacturing, according to DNV. Transport will consume almost 56% of clean hydrogen production, the majority of which will be in the form of hydrogen derivatives such as ammonia, methanol and e-kerosene in the aviation, maritime and trucking sectors.

Regional transport of hydrogen will mainly happen via pipelines, of which between 50% and 80% will be repurposed from natural gas pipelines.

Manufacturing will take about one third of clean hydrogen output, with the remainder used in buildings, electricity generation and other energy uses.

DNV’s report echoes what other experts are saying. The International Renewable Energy Agency sees the global hydrogen trade being responsible for meeting a quarter of global energy demand by 2050, around half of which will be via pipelines and half via ammonia shipping.

IRENA estimates that about 3% of the $3 trillion a year that needs to be invested in the energy system by 2030 will need to be funnelled into hydrogen. That’s about $90 billion a year or $810 billion in total.

The dominant source of clean hydrogen will be electrolysers, which use renewable electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen

The International Energy Agency estimates $1.2 trillion of investment in clean hydrogen is needed through 2030.

The message is clear: the world needs clean hydrogen to keep the world from catastrophic heating. And that requires serious investment. Let’s be part of the solution.

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“We are in the hydrogen century,” Armin Fuerderer, director of hydrogen solutions at Rolls-Royce Power Systems, told The Times recently.

Over the coming decades, hydrogen has the potential to decarbonise industries from transport to steel, fertilisers to oil refining, shipping to energy storage. To fulfil its potential, a huge amount of infrastructure needs to be built for production, storage and use of the clean fuel.

The International Energy Agency predicts about 3,500 GW of hydrogen production capacity will be needed by 2050, while investment bank Jefferies thinks it could be twice that. The world’s largest factory for producing electrolysers, the machines that turn water and electricity into clean hydrogen, has a capacity of just 1 GW.

Rolls-Royce, which is working with Airbus on hydrogen-powered aircraft, is also considering making its own electrolysers with the aim of building a complete supply chain for its hydrogen turbine engines.

That factory is in Sheffield and is owned by ITM Power, one of the British companies that is at the leading edge of the hydrogen revolution. Such is the demand for its products, ITM is planning a new factory in Sheffield on the former site of City airport.

ITM does not have the playing field all to itself though. Another British company, Doncaster-based CPH2 this year listed on Aim, London’s junior stock market, to fund the development of a “membrane-free” electrolyser, which it claims will produce hydrogen in a wider range of operational conditions as well as lasting longer and being simpler to maintain than current systems.

Rolls-Royce, which is working with Airbus on hydrogen-powered aircraft, is also considering making its own electrolysers with the aim of building a complete supply chain for its hydrogen turbine engines.

Another UK hydrogen pioneer is Ceres Power, which is also listed on Aim. Ceres develops technology for hydrogen fuel cells, which can either turn hydrogen into energy or vice versa, and licences it to companies to manufacture products from. Its largest shareholder is Bosch, the German industrial products conglomerate, which said earlier this year it will build a factory in China to manufacture hydrogen fuel cells based on Ceres technology.

Further along the hydrogen value chain is Ryze Hydrogen, the Oxford-based company specialising in the storage and supply of hydrogen to end users such as the transport sector. Wrightbus, based in Northern Ireland, is a customer of Ryze Hydrogen. Its zero-carbon-emission buses, including hydrogen-powered single- and double-deckers, have driven more than 1.1 million miles, saving about 2,000 tonnes of CO2 in the process, and recently won significant orders in Australia and Germany.

Some of the UK’s biggest companies, household names such as JCB and BP, are investing heavily in clean hydrogen. JCB, one of the world’s biggest producers of plant machinery, is investing £100 million to create super-efficient hydrogen combustion engines to power its loaders, excavators and diggers.

Some of the UK’s biggest companies including JCB, are investing heavily in clean hydrogen.

BP said last week it is taking a 40.5% stake in the Asian Renewable Energy Hub in Australia, one of the largest renewables and clean hydrogen projects in the world, and will become the operator of the 6,500 sq. km site. The same day, Reuters reported that the energy major is increasing the size of its hydrogen team, adding 100 people after hiring a similar number in 2021.

The lead that British companies are taking in the emerging hydrogen economy will require sustained investment if it is to be maintained. There are extraordinary levels of demand for hydrogen technologies; a significant amount of money will be needed to ensure British companies can capitalise on those opportunities.

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Clean hydrogen will be responsible for 10% of the world’s emissions reductions by 2030, if the world is to meet its obligations under the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming 10 1.5 degrees Celsius this century, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

That’s 3.7 gigatonnes per year of carbon dioxide that won’t be released into the atmosphere if clean hydrogen can be produced in sufficient quantities to decarbonise industries from steel manufacturing and transport to chemicals production and construction.

The ramp up in clean hydrogen production will need to be unprecedented: from close to zero currently to 154 million tonnes per year by 2030 and 614 million tonnes per year by 2050, according to IRENA. Electrolyser capacity, to split water into hydrogen and oxygen with renewable energy, will need to reach 350 GW by 2030.

Clean hydrogen will be responsible for 10% of the world’s emissions reductions by 2030, if the world is to meet its obligations under the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming 10 1.5 degrees Celsius this century.

None of that is going to happen without serious levels of investment. IRENA estimates that about 3% of the $3 trillion a year that needs to be invested in the energy system by 2030 will need to be funnelled into hydrogen. That’s about $90 billion a year or $810 billion in total.

Currently, the public and private sector are falling a long way short. According to the International Energy Agency, as of mid-2021, governments had committed £37 billion and the private sector had announced $300 billion.

While those numbers don’t account for the considerable announcements we’ve seen over the past 12 months, including more than £500 million of support from the UK government, it’s clear there is still a long way to go if clean hydrogen is to be allowed to fulfil its significant role in meeting the Paris Agreement targets.

If we take the IEA’s estimates of what is needed in terms of investment, the number is even higher: $1.2 trillion through 2030.

A crucial factor in meeting these targets is getting the cost of hydrogen production and transport to “well below” $1 per kg, IRENA said in its report.

At this early stage in the development of the hydrogen economy, investment is needed in technology as much as infrastructure. All elements of the supply chain from production to transportation and storage are maturing rapidly, while potential use cases continue to expand.

IRENA sees the global hydrogen trade being responsible for meeting a quarter of global energy demand by 2050, around half of which will be via pipelines and half via ammonia shipping. About 70% of the ammonia will be used as feedstock and fuel with the rest reconverted to hydrogen.

We know what needs to be done. Let’s go out and do it.

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The European Investment Bank (EIB) has released a report into the state of the EU’s hydrogen finance market, and it has some strong recommendations if the bloc is going to meet its production goal of utilising 20 million tonnes of clean hydrogen a year by 2030.

The report, titled Unlocking the Hydrogen Economy, summarises the results of an investor consultation into how to accelerate the adoption of hydrogen, which the EIB describes as offering “enormous potential” for the reduction of global carbon emissions by replacing fossil fuels in hard-to-decarbonise industries.

The development of a hydrogen economy is likely to need hundreds of billions of euros of investment in the coming decades from both the private and public sectors, according to the report, but a range of “economic, regulatory, industrial and operational challenges” need to be tackled before hydrogen can reach its potential.

Scale alone may not bring hydrogen costs down to where they need to be, so innovation is needed to advance technologies, such as electrolysis, that have the potential to create a step change in production economics, investors told the EIB.

Hydrogen venture capital is relatively concentrated among a few European players that dominate the space.

Early-stage research and development usually relies on grants from public and private organisations, and there is an opportunity to do more in this space to ensure hydrogen does not fall behind other fields, investors said.

Hydrogen venture capital is relatively concentrated among a few European players that dominate the space. Challenges include the high cost of demonstration projects, the offtake price, duration and volume risk, as well as technology, operational and counterparty credit risks.

This is where specialist investors can add value, and where a generalist fund might struggle.

The EIB’s recommendations fall into four categories: economic competitiveness; clear and streamlined regulation; ecosystem support; and value-chain thinking.

A variety of support mechanisms are proposed, including contracts for difference, which are already being enacted in the UK and have been put forward in the European Commission’s RepowerEU legislation. Other suggestions include guaranteed offtake, feed-in tariffs, a European clearing house or market-making mechanism, auctions and green public procurement.

Furthermore, the EIB suggests the provision of enhanced demonstration financing instruments funded by quasi-equity investment from the private sector, allowing the investor and the investee to better share the risks and rewards of projects.

The EIB also recommends the establishment of credit-enhancing mechanisms that reduce lender risk on hydrogen projects, such as first-loss guarantees whereby the EC or the EIB pledge to cover a percentage of any potential losses from a project.

The EIB could also make conditional grants to cover agreed costs for hydrogen projects, reducing the amount of debt or equity financing required.

Hydrogen investments are often more complex than other new energy projects and involve more participants, including renewable energy suppliers, electrolyser manufacturers, storage providers, hydrogen transport and offtake deals. The EIB believes it can play a role in building a hydrogen ecosystem by connecting financiers and projects as well as spreading the word about blended finance options.

Clean hydrogen has the potential to decarbonise industries from steel manufacturing to transport to agriculture and construction.

“Advisory support could also extend to hands-on project development assistance, particularly in the case of large, complex projects involving multiple players and value chain segments,” the EIB said in the report.

That could take the form of demand aggregation around hydrogen production centres, integrating hydrogen production into renewable energy projects as a power storage solution, or the creation of mobility hubs.

In the UK, some of these issues are already being addressed through government financing initiatives, including the £240 million Net Zero Hydrogen Fund, £26 million for the Industrial Hydrogen Accelerator, and £100 million for the Hydrogen Business Model, a subsidy scheme for green hydrogen production.

Last month, the UK government awarded £60 million to 28 hydrogen projects across the country as part of a competition aimed at fostering innovation in the production and storage of hydrogen.

However, there are still some learnings the UK can take from the EIB report. Promoting co-investment between the public and private sector could unlock billions more for hydrogen investment at this crucial stage in the technology’s development.

Clean hydrogen has the potential to decarbonise industries from steel manufacturing to transport to agriculture and construction. While there are solutions ready to go, the sector as a whole is very early in its development with huge potential yet to be realised.

By bringing the public and private sectors to together, we can ensure the UK is at the centre of this crucial piece in the decarbonisation puzzle.

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England may have earned a rare victory over Germany at football last year, but it doesn’t seem to have crushed the spirits of our most industrious neighbours.

Germany is going big in clean hydrogen, and there is a risk it could leave the rest of the continent behind as it has done in so many other industries over the past 50 years.

Every day appears to bring reports of a new clean hydrogen initiative from the German government. The past two weeks alone have seen the announcement of €290 million investment in the Innovation and Technology Center for Hydrogen (ITZ H2); an initiative to secure imports of clean hydrogen from Australia; and a €135 billion pact with Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands to cooperate on offshore wind and hydrogen production.

Of course, Germany has some unique issues to navigate. Of all Western European nations, it is the most dependent on Russian natural gas, giving it a huge impetus to find alternatives as the EU prepares to wean itself off Putin’s hydrocarbons as quickly as possible.

Of all Western European nations, Germany is the most dependent on Russian natural gas.

Yet, if the UK wants to become a global centre of clean hydrogen, it could do worse than take a leaf or two out of Germany’s playbook.

The ITZ H2 intends to support companies in the transport sector, offering testing and certification services that are not yet available on the market. It also plans to help set international standards for hydrogen-powered transport.

The UK’s private sector has been leading the country’s hydrogen economy and it was a consortium of JCB and Ryze Hydrogen that last year entered discussions with Australia’s Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) to take 10% of the company’s clean hydrogen production for transport and distribution in the UK.

Germany sent its Minister for Education and Research Bettina Stark-Watzinger to Australia last week as it seeks to create a renewable energy-based supply chain between the two countries amid efforts to accelerate production of clean hydrogen. Germany wants Australia’s hydrogen, while Australia wants access to electrolysers.

Last year, the two countries said they planned to spend $90 million funding hydrogen demonstration projects, while the Germany’s EON in March signed an MOU with FFI to explore shipping hydrogen to Europe.

The deal between Germany, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands seeks to speed up the permitting process and is targeting 65 GW of offshore wind by 2030 and 150 GW by 2050. While also looking to increase cooperation in the production of clean hydrogen, the four countries did not put a figure on how much of that they expect to be dedicated to hydrogen production.

A deal between Germany, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands seeks to speed up the permitting process and is targeting 65 GW of offshore wind by 2030 and 150 GW by 2050.

In February, Germany, Austria and Denmark signed a deal with Phillips 66 and H2 Energy to supply them with 250 new hydrogen refuelling stations by 2026. Germany already had 101 of the continent’s 228 hydrogen stations.

The UK is not sitting on its hands. Earlier in May, it announced 28 winners of £60 million in funding for innovation in the production and storage of hydrogen. The money was part of the country’s £240 million Net Zero Hydrogen Fund. In April, the UK became the first country in the world to implement a subsidy scheme for clean hydrogen with the announcement of £100 million for the Hydrogen Business Model.

The more countries invest in clean hydrogen infrastructure, the better it is for everyone as we create a global hydrogen economy. The greater the UK’s hydrogen investment today, the bigger role it will play in the hydrogen economy of tomorrow, and the greater the rewards for everyone.

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Innovation in the UK’s hydrogen industry is alive and well.

Last week saw the UK government award £60 million to 28 hydrogen projects across the country as part of a competition aimed at fostering innovation in the production and storage of hydrogen.

The Department for Business, Energy and Environmental Strategy awarded about £6 million to 23 projects to conduct feasibility studies on innovative hydrogen supply solutions and a further £38 million to 5 projects to support physical demonstration of emerging supply technology. The remaining £16 million will be awarded to a selection of the 23 feasibility studies to take them through to the demonstration phase.

Among the winners were some well-known names, such as Vattenfall and ITM Power, and some lesser-known players, including solid hydrogen cleantech company H2GO Power and resource recovery specialist Tetronics.

The UK government is awarding £60 million to 28 hydrogen projects across the country as part of a competition aimed at fostering innovation in the production and storage of hydrogen.

The biggest bucks went to Vattenfall and ITM Power, each of which received grants of £9.3 million. ITM will spend its funds bringing its fourth-generation electrolyser to market and building a new factory in Sheffield.

Electrolysers are used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen with renewable electricity, creating so-called green hydrogen with zero emissions released during production. Hydrogen produces only water when it is burned, making the green variety the cleanest fuel on the planet.

ITM’s new 5 MW electrolyser will be capable of producing 2.5 times more green hydrogen than its predecessor and will be cheaper and more compact, making it a world leader.

Its factory in Sheffield will host new, advanced manufacturing techniques and equipment, allowing for the semi-automated mass-production of electrolyser stacks and increase its overall manufacturing capacity to 1 GW a year by 2023.

Vattenfall Hydrogen Turbine 1 (HT1) project will be the world’s first full-scale demonstration of hydrogen produced offshore with electrolysers that are integrated into wind turbines. The hydrogen it produces will be sent ashore in Aberdeen via a pipeline with operation set begin in early 2025.

ERM Dolphyn received £8.l6 million to advance its offshore floating wind-to-hydrogen technology. Environmental Resource Management plans to begin offshore demonstration trials during 2023 that will produce electrolytic hydrogen from seawater and to have developed a commercial scale demonstrator by 2025 which aims to produce hydrogen at a commercial price.

ITM’s factory in Sheffield will host new, advanced manufacturing techniques and equipment, allowing for the semi-automated mass-production of electrolyser stacks and increase its overall manufacturing capacity to 1 GW a year by 2023.

H2GO Power was awarded £4.3 million to develop its solid hydrogen storage technology, which it claims can achieve densities of 50-100 grams per litre, more than liquid or gaseous hydrogen storage. Safer than super-cooled liquid hydrogen and therefore potentially relieving users of a significant regulatory burden and costs, H2GO’s solution will be integrated into a shipping container for this pilot project.

The final project awarded a grant under Stream 2 is led by a consortium of professional services provider Gemserv, low carbon energy solutions company EQUANS, mobile hydrogen producer H2Site, Tyseley Energy Park, University of Birmingham and fertiliser company Yara. They will spend their £6.7 million award on the development of what they say will be the world’s largest and most efficient ammonia to hydrogen integrated membrane reactor capable of delivering 200kg/day of transport-grade hydrogen.

Winners of the smaller Stream 1, Phase 1 grants of about £300,000 each included H2Upgrade led by University of Cambridge, which is developing a new technology that produced hydrogen from thermochemical water splitting and utilisation of waste streams, such as gases, solvents and biostreams that it predicts will slash the cost of production by about 75%.

Tetronics will spend its grant on testing Tectronics Hydrogen Plasmolysis (THP), a novel process combining elements of electrolysis and thermolysis, which aims to deliver a new, more efficient and lower cost hydrogen production technology.

A further 21 early-stage projects will also receive similar-sized awards for technologies including microwave-driven pyrolysis, small modular nuclear reactors, printed circuit board electrolysers, and metal organic framework hydrogen storage.

By becoming leaders in the technology that produces, transports and stores hydrogen, the UK can further enhance its energy security and produce high quality, sustainable jobs while improving our balance of trade and stimulating the economy.

Not all the Stream 1 projects will make it through to Phase 2, but the breadth of technologies being developed by companies and universities in the UK is outstanding and bodes well for the sector’s future in this country.

One of clean hydrogen’s key promises is that it can improve energy security by providing a way of producing fuel domestically without relying on imports of fossil fuels from nations that don’t share our values or, like Russia, have become a danger to the world.

By becoming leaders in the technology that produces, transports and stores hydrogen, the UK can further enhance its energy security and produce high quality, sustainable jobs while improving our balance of trade and stimulating the economy.

Most of all, it can accelerate the world’s net zero goals and greatly improve our chances of avoiding the catastrophic warming of the planet that threatens all our livelihoods.

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Anglo American considered options including synthetic fuels and biofuels before it became “crystal clear” hydrogen was the right solution for converting its fleet of diesel-powered monster trucks to a clean alternative, according to CEO Duncan Wanblad.

Four years ago, unable to buy the vehicles it envisioned off the shelf, Anglo, the world’s sixth largest mining company, set about designing and building its own.

Last week, it unveiled the fruits of its labour in the form of a 220-ton truck powered by hydrogen fuel cells that can carry 290 tons of ore without producing planet-warming emissions.

Anglo even produces the hydrogen to power the truck itself. Through its NuGen program, it partnered with companies including French utility Engie, engineer First Mode Holdings, fuel cell manufacturer Ballard Power Systems and hydrogen storage specialist NPROXX.

The prototype being shown off last week at Mogalakwena in South Africa, the world’s biggest open-cast platinum mine, is the result of $70 million of research and development. As Anglo scales production, it expects costs to come down.

Anglo plans to convert the mine’s 40 diesel-powered trucks by 2026 and its entire global fleet of mega-trucks by 2030.

Anglo plans to convert the mine’s 40 diesel-powered trucks by 2026 and its entire global fleet of mega-trucks by 2030.

Standard diesel mine trucks cost between $6 million and $7 million. The Komatsu 930E that Anglo used for this project was converted with a 1.2 megawatt battery pack and eight 100-kilowatt hydrogen fuel cells.

Diesel trucks are responsible for 80% of the CO2 emissions at Anglo’s mines, so its ambition in this area will take it a long way towards its goal of reaching carbon neutrality by 2040. Converting its entire fleet will take the equivalent of half a million diesel cars off the road.

While being a first-mover in this space has not been cheap for Anglo, its competitors are facing the same challenges and will soon be needing to play catch-up. They could even end up becoming customers of Anglo if it spins off the unit producing the hydrogen trucks into a separate company.

In the meantime, Anglo has plenty of work on its hands building out the infrastructure to fuel its own fleet. It will need 140 MW of solar at Mogalakwena alone to power the electrolysers that will split water and produce the clean hydrogen it needs.

Having designed and built its own mega-truck over the past four years, that shouldn’t be too much of a challenge for Anglo American.

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There is no argument: Europe, including the UK, needs to end dependence on Russian fossil fuels as rapidly as possible. In the short-term, that means more LNG (liquefied natural gas), but that only kicks the can down the road in terms of decarbonisation.

While burning natural gas is a better option than coal, fugitive emissions from production may be undoing much of the benefit. A 2020 study by the Environmental Defense Fund found that 3.7% of natural gas produced in the Permian Basin leaked into the atmosphere.

To wean ourselves off Russian gas and decarbonise industries from steelmaking to manufacturing and transport, clean hydrogen is going to be required in vast quantities and that means huge amounts of renewable energy to produce it.

While Europe has substantial renewable energy resources to draw upon, particularly the UK with its abundance of offshore wind, it won’t be nearly enough to provide the clean hydrogen needed to replace all of Europe’s natural gas.

A recent analysis suggests it would require an area one third the size of Germany covered in solar PV panels to produce enough clean hydrogen to replace the continent’s entire fossil fuel imports.

While Europe has substantial renewable energy resources to draw upon, particularly the UK with its abundance of offshore wind, it won’t be nearly enough to provide the clean hydrogen needed to replace all of Europe’s natural gas.

Fortunately, we will not be relying solely on solar PV for the production of renewable hydrogen. As mentioned, the UK has considerable offshore wind resources, some of which is already being leveraged for clean hydrogen production, with many more projects on the horizon.

There are also plans afoot to import clean hydrogen into Europe.

On March 22, the European Commission put hydrogen imports at the centre of its plans for security of supply and affordable energy prices as it seeks to phase out Russian fossil fuels, including a suggestion states invest in hydrogen-compatible LNG import capacity and hydrogen infrastructure.

The EU aims to produce up to 1 million metric tonnes of renewable hydrogen per year by 2024, and 10 million mt per year by 2030 under its Hydrogen Strategy. It has since increased its target to include imports of 20 million mt per year by 2030 to replace 25-50 bcm per year of imported Russian gas.

Imports will cover about half of Europe’s hydrogen needs by 2050, according to a report last year from the World Energy Council.

Plans to build hydrogen import infrastructure are already underway. Just last week, Volpak of the Netherlands and German-Dutch gas system operator Gasunie announced plans to develop terminal infrastructure in northwest Europe, including the Netherlands and Germany, to import clean hydrogen.

Deals to obtain supplies of clean hydrogen are also being lined up. Germany’s biggest utility, EON, said in April it is looking to import of up to 5 million tonnes per year of green renewable hydrogen from Australia to Europe by 2030 (corresponding to approximately one-third of the calorific energy Germany imports from Russia).

Germany’s biggest utility, EON, said in April it is looking to import of up to 5 million tonnes per year of green renewable hydrogen from Australia to Europe by 2030 (corresponding to approximately one-third of the calorific energy Germany imports from Russia).

It will purchase the fuel from Australian green energy company Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), which is planning to exploit the country’s abundance of sun and space to produce 15 million tonnes of clean hydrogen a year by 2030 and 50 million tonnes by 2050.

FFI also signed an agreement last year with Ryze Hydrogen and JCB to acquire 10% of its clean hydrogen output over the coming decades.

A wide array of countries with the resources to produce cheap clean hydrogen are also in the frame for future import deals.

In March, German companies Uniper and Hydrogenious signed a deal with the UAE energy major ADNOC and JERA Americas to build a supply chain for the import of low-carbon hydrogen using Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers (LOHC) technology. German energy firms RWE, Steag and GEWEC also plan to ship low-carbon ammonia (a potentially cheaper way of transporting hydrogen) to Germany.

On May 2, Germany signed an agreement with India to explore the development of clean hydrogen imports.

Other countries looking to produce clean hydrogen for export include Namibia, which announced a $9.4 billion production project last year, Brazil and the United States.

There are also sources closer to home. In March, Germany and Norway announced plans to fast-track a feasibility study on the transport of green hydrogen using a pipeline from the Nordic nation. Further ahead is a potential 350 km pipeline from Esbjerg in Denmark to Hamburg in Germany, transporting clean hydrogen to northwest Europe.

Less advanced, but also possible, are clean hydrogen exports from Scotland, which is expecting to produce a surplus of the fuel from its vast offshore wind resources.

Building a global hydrogen economy is going to involve creating new trade relationships between countries with all the work that involves. But the end result will be a low-carbon world with greater energy security that will no longer fund the activities of aggressive actors such as Russia. The future is bright.

If you want to learn more about HYCAP click here.

One of the biggest advantages of green hydrogen over fossil fuels is that it can be produced anywhere with renewable energy and an electrolyser. However, some regions have superior solar and wind resources, meaning they can produce more of the clean fuel and at a lower cost.

That means a considerable trade in clean hydrogen is likely to develop in the coming years. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimates more than 30% of hydrogen could be traded across borders by 2050, a higher share than natural gas today.

While some of that will be via pipelines, a lot of it will be seaborne. Exporting nations are likely to include Chile, Brazil, Morocco and Namibia, all currently net energy importers.

However, the technologies to enable that trade are still being developed with a number of options jostling for position, including liquefied hydrogen, methanol, compressed hydrogen and liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHCs).

According to recent analysis by energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie, liquid hydrogen is the cheapest way to ship the fuel. Due to a lack of announced projects using LOHC technology, Wood Mackenzie only looked at liquid hydrogen, ammonia and methanol.

Exporting nations are likely to include Chile, Brazil, Morocco and Namibia (pictured), all currently net energy importers.

As well as being the cheapest shipping method, liquid hydrogen also produces the purest fuel once it is reconverted to gas, which is needed for fuel cells and some other applications, Wood Mackenzie Senior Research Analyst Flor de la Cruz said at the company’s hydrogen conference. However, the cost of the vessels is more than three times higher than ammonia. A high boil-off rate means more losses during transport than some other technologies.

The most common existing technology for shipping hydrogen today is conversion to ammonia, which Wood Mackenzie identifies as the second-cheapest option. Advantages include existing infrastructure and relatively low capex costs compared with liquid hydrogen. However, reconversion costs are high and there are challenges to overcome before it can produce hydrogen pure enough for proton-exchange-membrane (PEM) fuel cells.

Methanol also benefits from existing infrastructure and shipping costs are similar to those of ammonia, but reconversion requires carbon capture and storage, pushing up overall costs.

LOHC involves the use of organic compounds that can absorb and release hydrogen. In 2020, Japan built up the world’s first international hydrogen supply chain between Brunei and Kawasaki City utilizing toluene-based LOHC technology. Hyundai Motor has invested in the development of stationary and on-board LOHC-systems. Dutch firm Vopak and technology company Hydrogenious are considering using LOHCs to transport hydrogen from Germany to Rotterdam.

While liquid hydrogen may be the frontrunner in terms of shipping technology, there remains much development to be done. There is only one liquefied hydrogen carrier in the world at present – the Suiso Frontier – and it has only completed one round trip between Japan and Australia.

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The word “breakthrough” is heavily overused, but the frequency with which it appears in articles about hydrogen technology is more than hyperbole.

Great minds are working on all aspects of the hydrogen supply chain and the pace of innovation at the moment is staggering. Just this week, developments have included cheaper fuel cell materials, record clean hydrogen efficiency and progress on the replacement of rare metals in electrolyser catalysts.

A new fuel cell design from Imperial College that uses iron instead of costly platinum was unveiled by the London university. With about 60% of the cost of a fuel cell coming from platinum, the breakthrough could have a profound impact on the cost of hydrogen fuel cell-powered vehicles, energy storage and other applications.

German steelmaker Salzgitter produced green hydrogen with record efficiency of 84% using solid oxide electrolysis compared with the typical 60% achieved by alkaline electrolysis or proton-exchange-membrane electrolysis. The electrolyser was built by German manufacturer Sunfire and uses waste heat from the steelmaking process.

A new fuel cell design from Imperial College London (pictured) that uses iron instead of costly platinum was unveiled by the London university.

In the United States, research out of UCLA has shown progress in replacing and reducing the use of precious metals, such as iridium and platinum, in electrolysers. NewHydrogen, which sponsored the research, says its catalyst raw material is less expensive than platinum and performs better.

Of course, not every technological breakthrough will make it to commercialisation, which is why we are reticent to hail every announcement as the beginning of a revolution. However, if only a fraction of these ideas make it, innovation in hydrogen technology will be rapid and costs will plummet.

This is important because only clean hydrogen can solve some of the world’s biggest decarbonisation challenges, whether heavy industry, chemical production or transport. The energy transition needs to be economically feasible for those at the front line, so the faster costs come down, the quicker they can make the transition.

Clean hydrogen can solve some of the world’s biggest decarbonisation challenges, whether heavy industry, chemical production or transport.

Accurate technology-based predictions are always incredibly hard to make. Analysts, including those at the International Energy Agency (IEA), routinely underestimated the pace at which renewable energy costs would decline and capacity would grow over the past 20 years.

However, analysis from Rethink Energy earlier this year that predicted the cost of electrolysers used to produce green hydrogen will plummet 85% by the end of the decade no longer looks like an outlier. Wood Mackenzie said in December that some countries would be able to produce green hydrogen for $1/kg by 2030, while US electrolyser maker Ohmium has said it will be able to achieve that price in India by 2025.

With the swarm of great engineering minds working on hydrogen technology today, the hydrogen economy of tomorrow is in safe hands.

To learn more about HYCAP click here.

The UK government has awarded contracts to undertake technical research and evidence gathering to assess skills and standards for the use of hydrogen in heating.

The publication of the awards gives insight into the technical issues the government believes to be of greatest importance before it makes a decision on whether to allow 100% hydrogen to be used in UK heating systems.

About 20% of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions are created by domestic heating, hot water, and cooking. Burning hydrogen in boilers creates only heat and water, and no carbon emissions. Blends of up to 20% require no changes to domestic appliances, while boilers that can run on either natural gas or hydrogen have already been built by manufacturers including Worcester Bosch and Baxi.

Evaluations of 100% hydrogen for domestic heating and cooking have been overwhelmingly positive thus far, yet the government has set a date of 2026 to decide on the role of hydrogen in heating.

About 20% of the UK’s carbon dioxide emissions are created by domestic heating, hot water, and cooking. Burning hydrogen in boilers creates only heat and water, and no carbon emissions.

The UK’s first homes fuelled entirely by 100% hydrogen were opened to the public in July last year, featuring prototype hydrogen fires, cookers and hobs. A larger trial H100 Fife will test 100% hydrogen in about 300 homes using hydrogen produced by a dedicated electrolysis plant powered by a nearby offshore wind turbine. An even-larger trial – a hydrogen village including up to 2,000 homes and other buildings – is targeted for 2025.

The contract awards are divided into five lots. The first – Hydrogen Purging, Tightness and Material Compatibility – is being led by Stroud-based Steer Energy Solution. It will carry out research into purging of piped gas systems to identify where additional data is required to permit safe procedures for domestic and non-domestic environments.

It will also look at the compatibility of existing pipework and fittings on the consumer side of the emergency control valve in the context of gas tightness (i.e., ensuring there are no leaks).

A hydrogen village including up to 2,000 homes and other buildings – is targeted for 2025.

Lot 2 – Hydrogen Material and Component Suitability – is being led by Cambridge-based engineering consultant TWI Ltd, which will carry out a study and, if necessary, perform its own research into which materials are suitable for use with hydrogen on the consumer side of the emergency control valve, both domestic and non-domestic.

 Lot 3 – Hydrogen Installation Ventilation and Flues – is being led by Cheltenham-based Kiwa Ltd, which is seeking to fill gaps in the evidence base around specific ventilation and flueing projects. Scenarios being investigated include inter-floor piping, and flueing requirements of appliances such as hydrogen gas fires.

Lot 4 – Hydrogen Pipe Sizing and Pressure Drop Criteria – is being led by Dorking-based Frazer-Nash Consultancy, and is concerned with questions around the appropriate standard sizes of pipework that can deliver hydrogen in adequate quantities to provide energy for hydrogen-burning appliances.

Lot 5 – Hydrogen Meter Ventilation Study and Excess Valve Installation and Set-Point – is being led by Loughborough-based GL Industrial Services Ltd. It will carry out research into internal and external meter housing, ventilation requirements and the potential for humidity or water build-up.

To learn more about HYCAP click here.

At the turn of the century, Malcolm Gladwell published The Tipping Point, in which he defined the phenomenon as “the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point.”

In the bestselling debut, he described “how little things can make a big difference,” as he sought to explain how small events led to mysterious but sweeping social changes.

Hydrogen is experiencing its tipping point, but the origins this time are neither small nor mysterious. Right now, the world desperately needs alternatives to hydrocarbons, whether Russian natural gas, jet fuel, bunker fuel, coking coal or diesel, and hydrogen is the only serious contender.

If the scale of the challenge wasn’t clear, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s latest report published last week spelled out in no uncertain terms how quickly we need to cut emissions if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Short-term goals include ensuring that emissions peak by 2025 and fall by 43% by the end of the decade. The world needs to have achieved net zero emissions by 2050.

It’s a monumental task and we are currently well behind the curve.

The world needs to have achieved net zero emissions by 2050. It’s a monumental task and we are currently well behind the curve. Hydrogen is a crucial part of decarbonisation.

A parallel, but equally pressing, issue is the need to wean ourselves off Russian fossil fuels. Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has highlighted Europe’s dependence on Russian hydrocarbons, but particularly natural gas. There is not enough liquefied natural gas (LNG) from our allies such as the United States, Qatar and Australia to replace what would be lost if Russian supplies were cut off. In the meantime, we continue to fund the Russian war effort to the tune of about $50 billion a year.

Either of these pressures alone would be enough to accelerate hydrogen’s role in industries from steelmaking to public transport. Together, they represent an irresistible force that is pushing clean hydrogen to the forefront of policy makers’ minds around the world.

Fortunately, hydrogen is ready to answer the call. Technology, such as electrolysis that allows the production of “green” hydrogen from water and renewable energy, has for been maturing for years and is ready to deliver at scale. Carbon capture and storage is being deployed at industrial clusters around the country over the coming decade and will help produce low carbon “blue” hydrogen for use in chemical production, transport and food manufacturing.

The cost of green hydrogen, already cheaper than traditionally produced “grey” hydrogen in many places thanks to the soaring price of natural gas over the past 12 months, is set to fall dramatically in the coming years. Wood Mackenzie said in December that some countries would be able to produce green hydrogen for $1/kg by 2030, while US electrolyser maker Ohmium has said it will be able to achieve that price in India by 2025. That compares with $6.71/kg for grey hydrogen made from natural gas in March this year.

Right now, the world desperately needs alternatives to hydrocarbons, whether Russian natural gas, jet fuel, bunker fuel, cooking coal or diesel, and hydrogen is the only serious contender.

The UK government has seen the writing on the wall and last week doubled its low carbon hydrogen production target to 10 GW, of which at least 5 GW will be green hydrogen. It is not acting alone. The European Union recently doubled its goal for green hydrogen capacity to 80 GW by 2030. The Biden administration in the US has mandated that all the infrastructure needed to increase natural gas shipments to Europe must be capable of conversion to hydrogen.

Amidst a slew of hydrogen policy announcements from the UK government last week was a new £375 million clean tech fund that included £240 million to support hydrogen production through the Net Zero Hydrogen Fund, £100 million for the Hydrogen Business Model, a subsidy for green hydrogen production, and £26 million for the Industrial Hydrogen Accelerator.

Those funds and support mechanisms are the strongest signal yet to the private sector that the UK is a favourable destination for hydrogen investment. Home to some of the world’s best offshore wind energy resources and with a growing ecosystem of companies at all stages in the hydrogen value chain, from electrolyser components to hydrogen buses, the UK is poised to be a leading player in the emerging global hydrogen economy.

While we didn’t see everything we wanted from last week’s hydrogen announcements, we are heartened by the government’s clear commitment to putting hydrogen at the heart of the UK’s energy transition and net zero future. The tipping point is here.

To learn more about HYCAP click here.

The time for talking is well and truly over. If it wasn’t clear already, the IPCC’s latest report published Monday says unequivocally the world needs “rapid, deep and immediate” cuts in carbon dioxide emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

To keep global temperatures from rising no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century emissions need to peak by 2025 and shrink by 43% by 2030.

The most effective way of doing that is to ditch fossil fuels as fast as possible and invest in renewable energy, the IPCC report says. That means no more coal-fired power stations and a rapid reduction in use of oil and natural gas.

To keep global temperatures from rising no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century emissions need to peak by 2025 and shrink by 43% by 2030.

While electricity generated from wind and solar are capable of directly powering our homes and business, there are many parts of the economy that cannot be electrified. Heavy industry, such as steel and chemicals manufacturing currently need coal, oil and gas to generate the heat needed in their furnaces and as feedstock for their products.

The only practical and economic way to decarbonise those sectors is with hydrogen, which can be produced by splitting water with renewable energy, producing no greenhouse gas emissions in the process.

Transport, responsible for more than a quarter of the UK’s greenhouse emissions, also needs hydrogen.

Projects that will utilise hydrogen in this way are in progress, but not enough and not yet on a big enough scale.

Transport, responsible for more than a quarter of the UK’s greenhouse emissions, also needs hydrogen. While much of the focus has been on battery-powered electric passenger vehicles, other technologies are needed to decarbonise larger vehicles, maritime transport and aviation and hydrogen fuel cells and hydrogen combustion engines are at the top of the list of viable alternatives.

With shortages of battery electric vehicles, the questionable environmental impact of battery production and the risks associated with increasing our reliance on China for battery materials, hydrogen may be the fuel of choice for smaller passenger vehicles as well.

The most effective way of lowering emissions is to ditch fossil fuels as fast as possible and invest in renewable energy, the IPCC report says. That means no more coal-fired power stations and a rapid reduction in use of oil and natural gas.

Hydrogen investment is also needed if we are to increase the amount of wind and solar in our energy mix. Without hydrogen as a long-term storage solution for renewable energy, we will have to either continue to rely on natural gas to meet peak demand, or waste renewable power during periods of low demand.

Hydrogen can also help us heat our homes and commercial buildings using the infrastructure we already have in place for natural gas.

Without hydrogen as a long-term storage solution for renewable energy, we will have to either continue to rely on natural gas to meet peak demand, or waste renewable power during periods of low demand.

To make all this happen, we need domestic hydrogen production and a lot of it. Currently, industry is waiting eagerly for details of the mechanism that is going to make clean hydrogen production economical in the UK.

We cannot wait any longer. The UK needs to invest in hydrogen now if it is to meet its net zero targets and help avert the climate catastrophe the IPCC has been warning us about for so long.

To learn more about HYCAP click here.

When a solution for decarbonising our economy as powerful as Hydrogen comes along, it can be tempting to believe it will just happen, propelled by its inherent irresistible logic.

But even the best ideas can falter if not given the support they need to thrive. While there is no doubt that hydrogen will transform vast swathes of industry, which industries, the shape of the transformation and the speed of change are all open questions.

If the UK wants to be a leader in the new hydrogen economy and take this rare opportunity to ensure its energy security, it needs to lay the foundations now.

We have identified the five key elements of a future hydrogen economy that the government and business need to invest in today:

1.Infrastructure – if we are to enable all the things we want to do with hydrogen, from decarbonising heavy industry to fuelling clean buses and planes and heating homes, we need to be able to move it around and store it.

Fortunately, the UK is ahead of the game in this department in that 70% of its 7,600 km natural gas pipeline network has been converted from iron to hydrogen-ready plastic. A deal last week to sell a majority stake in that network to Macquarie also bodes well for its future after the Australian bank pledged to invest in its transition to a carrier of clean hydrogen.

Less well-advanced are UK plans for hydrogen storage. Again, facilities currently used for natural gas, such as salt caverns, can be repurposed for the job. However, because hydrogen is less dense than natural gas, it requires more storage space, so investment in new capacity is going to be needed.

Maximum possible hydrogen storage capacity in the 19 EU countries plus Switzerland and the UK using existing gas storage sites could reach 264.7 TWh by 2050, according to GIE, well below the 466.4 TWh that will be needed, based on the ratio of gas storage capacity to estimated demand.

A hydrogen bus takes the same time to refuel as a diesel bus and covers the same distance.

2.Skills – many of the jobs needed to develop and run the hydrogen economy do not currently exist or are currently very niche but will be needed in large numbers in the not-too-distant future. Research from Cavendish Energy in the U.S. suggests these will be jobs that pay more than the average salary and will require a wide variety of different skills and education, from extensive on-the-job training to doctoral degrees.

While you will struggle to find job postings from roles including hydrogen vehicle electrician, fuel cell designer, emissions reduction project manager, and director of hydrogen energy development today, they are likely to be in great demand just a few years hence. Our colleges and universities need to start preparing the workforce for these jobs today if we are to produce the homegrown talent needed to power the hydrogen economy.

3.Policy support – the UK is blessed with vast renewable energy resources, mainly in the area of offshore wind, that could allow us to become a net exporter of hydrogen. Not only can that give us much-needed energy security, it is an essential element in the creation of a hydrogen ecosystem.

Hydrogen can be produced where it is consumed, giving users unparalleled control over their energy supply chain. Imports will play their part for sure, but a strong base of domestic hydrogen production is needed for a thriving hydrogen economy.

While the cost of producing hydrogen is falling rapidly, it remains high for many would-be consumers, so a mechanism to subsidise the cost of production is needed. Variations on the contracts for difference (CfD) model that has been so successful in driving down the cost of offshore wind are being considered by the UK government but industry has been waiting since 2020 for details of the proposed mechanism.

The UK is ahead of the game as 70% of its 7,600 km natural gas pipeline network has been converted from iron to hydrogen-ready plastic.

4.Innovation – the UK is bubbling with the ideas and talent needed to make it a leader in the hydrogen economy. Companies such as Wrightbus, which is building the world’s first hydrogen-powered buses, Ryze Hydrogen, the UK’s leading hydrogen transporter and distributor, and JCB, which is developing its own hydrogen combustion engine to power its plant machinery (and for which it has already started winning awards), are all pushing the envelope in their respective fields.

The UK is also becoming a global centre of hydrogen aviation, while companies such as Powerhouse Energy, which has developed a unique waste-to-hydrogen system, are exporting their technology around the world.

The UK’s technology start-up ecosystem is by far the largest in Europe with a value of $142.7 billion in 2021. If similar levels of innovation can be achieved in the energy space, the UK will be well-placed.

The UK’s technology start-up ecosystem is by far the largest in Europe with a value of $142.7 billion in 2021. If similar levels of innovation can be achieved in the energy space, the UK will be well-placed.

5.Capital – to maximise the UK’s potential as a hub of hydrogen innovation, technology, production, and consumption, it needs capital. Dedicated hydrogen funds, such as HYCAP, are among investors aspiring to lead the UK energy transition by investing in the emerging clean hydrogen economy.

Traditional sources of financing, including banks, as well as capital from energy majors and power companies, such as Northern Power Networks and Cadent, are also ploughing billions of pounds into the UK’s hydrogen economy. If the government gets the policy support piece right, it could unlock much more.

To learn more about HYCAP click here.

One year on from announcing a target of producing 15 million tonnes of green hydrogen a year by 2030, Fortescue Future Industries (FFI) says it’s on track.

In an interview for RenewEconomy’s Energy Insiders podcast, chief executive Julie Shuttleworth says it is ‘looking very achievable’.

“It is absolutely possible, but it still needs a massive effort. Of course, no one has done this at this scale before,” she adds.

The technology has been proved in principle. Late last year, the company announced that it had designed and built its own electrolyser in its Western Australia facility, producing industrial grade hydrogen.

“The team spent thousands of hours on this project, facing setbacks along the way, but they pushed forward and managed to produce hydrogen before their stretch target date,” commented chairman Dr Andrew Forrest.

Wind turbines in the morning mist in Western Australia.

“This is not the first time FFI’s team of experts have beaten their stretch targets. Earlier this year, FFI retrofitted a huge mining haul truck to run on hydrogen, producing only steam, in just 130 days.”

Solar panels going into the company’s Dawson Road facility will mean the electrolyser will be able to produce green hydrogen by the end of this year. And the company’s also working on a number of other power generation projects, including wind and solar plus battery.

The 15 million-tonne production target is startlingly ambitious, given that the current worldwide figure is less than a million tonnes.

But according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) 80 million tonnes will be required by 2030 for the world to be on track to net zero emissions by 2050.

And in its Global Hydrogen Review 2021, the IEA says low-carbon and zero-carbon hydrogen are about to see significant cost declines and widespread global growth.

FFI’s strategy is to move fast, through acquisitions, technology development and partnerships.

Solar panels like these pictured will be going into the FFI’s Dawson Road facility and will mean the electrolyser will be able to produce green hydrogen by the end of this year.

It’s signing deals for green hydrogen production facilities at a dizzying pace, in countries including Indonesia, Canada, PNG, Jordan, India and Brazil.

And it’s planning to produce electrolysers at scale by next year, when its new global green energy manufacturing (GEM) centre in Gladstone, Queensland, comes online.

Building up to 2GW of electrolysers per year, this is expected to be the largest electrolyser factory in the world, but will also manufacture other vital components, such as solar panels, wind towers, battery storage and cabling.

And the strategy is pulling in customers. FFI recently signed a deal with JCB and Ryze Hydrogen to take a significant percentage of its green hydrogen output, for example – making the partnership the UK’s largest supplier.

To learn more about HYCAP click here.

If clean hydrogen was used exclusively to decarbonise transport and heavy industry, it would be a success story worth shouting from the rooftops, but there are so many other uses for the fuel.

A host of products that currently rely on natural gas and other forms of energy for their manufacture have the potential to take part in the decarbonisation revolution that is sweeping other industries.

For instance, last week, Unilever said it had begun to trial 100% hydrogen in the manufacture of personal care and home care products at its Port Sunlight factory in the Northwest of England.

A host of products that currently rely on natural gas and other forms of energy for their manufacture have the potential to take part in the hydrogen decarbonisation revolution that is sweeping other industries.

Heralded as the first large-scale demonstration of 100% hydrogen firing in a consumer goods production environment anywhere in the world, Unilever plans to use hydrogen to make products including washing powder Persil and hair care brand TRESemmé.

The trial involves the use of hydrogen to fire a boiler that provides steam for the production process. The results will inform the use of the clean fuel in manufacturing processes across the UK as it seeks to reach its net zero targets.

The trial, led by Progressive Energy, is part of the HyNet Industrial Fuel Switching Programme being carried out by HyNet, the hydrogen cluster around the Port of Liverpool backed by the likes of Eni, Essar and Cadent. Trials such as the one being carried out by Unilever will ensure companies are ready to go once HyNet starts producing hydrogen in bulk by the mid-2020s.

Hydrogen, produced by Vertex Hydrogen, will be carried to customers via the UK’s first 100% hydrogen pipeline network, being developed by Cadent.

Other sectors carrying out trials through the HyNet program include glass, food and drink, paper, chemicals, automotive and metals. NSG-Pilkington in August 2021 became the first company globally to manufacture glass using hydrogen. Among HyNet’s offtake partners is Ryze Hydrogen, which will supply the hydrogen fuel to Wrightbus to power its fleet of hydrogen-powered vehicles.

Protium is building a 40 MW green hydrogen facility in Teesside, which could help Quorn displace some of Quorn’s natural gas demand, saving 13,200 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.

HyNet will initially produce blue hydrogen – made from hydrocarbons with the CO2 captured and stored or reused – with plans to produce green hydrogen – made by splitting water with renewable energy – at a later stage. By 2030, HyNet will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 10 million tonnes a year, the equivalent to removing 4 million cars from the road.

Hydrogen also has the potential to dramatically reduce emissions from the food and beverage industry, which is responsible for 35% of the UK’s total CO2 emissions.

In February, meat-free food manufacturer Quorn became the latest company in the sector to begin exploring opportunities and has teamed up with green hydrogen producer Protium and energy company Petrofac to test the feasibility of supplying green hydrogen via pipeline to its production facility in Billingham in the northeast of England.

Protium is building a 40 MW green hydrogen facility in Teesside, which could help Quorn displace some of Quorn’s natural gas demand, saving 13,200 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.

Clean hydrogen is being explored by an ever-increasing number of sectors to help companies achieve their net zero goals, heavy industry and transport in particular. As more businesses realise hydrogen is the solution they’ve been looking for, demand will soar.

Protium is also working with brewers, both large and small, to leverage hydrogen to decarbonise their businesses. On the larger side is Budweiser Brewing Group, the UK arm of Anheuser-Busch InBev, is exploring the use of green hydrogen at Magor brewery in South Wales, one of the largest in the UK. Hydrogen will fuel production as well as power its logistics, including heavy goods vehicles and forklift trucks.

A smaller, but still significant project sees Protium partnering with Canadian hydrogen investor Jericho Energy Ventures and Scotland’s Bruichladdich Distillery, which plans to use hydrogen combustion technology to heat the stills used to create its whiskey and artisanal gin, The Botanist.

Jericho Energy Ventures’ wholly owned subsidiary Hydrogen Technologies recently announced it has signed deals with two of North America’s largest food manufacturers to collaborate on the deployment of its zero-emission hydrogen boiler solution.

Clean hydrogen is being explored by an ever-increasing number of sectors to help companies achieve their net zero goals. As more businesses realise hydrogen is the solution they’ve been looking for, demand is likely to soar.

To meet that expected demand, we need to invest in hydrogen production today, with both capital and a regulatory structure that supports hydrogen investment. Our net zero future is relying on it.

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