With targeted support from government the UK has a genuine opportunity to develop a leading-edge in hydrogen technology, but which area of the hydrogen economy should we prioritise?
Faced with the twin challenges of rebuilding pandemic-ravaged economies whilst meeting increasingly ambitious zero emissions targets, governments around the world are prioritising investment and development of low carbon technologies to an unprecedented degree.
And one area that’s been receiving an increasing amount of attention in recent months and weeks is hydrogen.
Abundant, energy dense and clean at point of use, hydrogen has long been viewed by many as having a key role to play in our future energy mix.
Now, with activity across a wide variety of application areas ramping up, and both industry and government talking increasingly loudly about its potential, the vision of a hydrogen economy where the gas is at the heart of our energy mix (whether it’s supplying our domestic heating, powering transport, fuelling our industrial processes or acting as an energy store for renewables) has never been closer to becoming a reality.
What’s more, as explored in a new report by The Engineer, whilst most hydrogen is currently produced using fossil fuel, there’s now growing activity in the development of truly green production methods for hydrogen – arguably the critical piece in the jigsaw if it’s to play a serious role in weaning us off fossil fuel use.
Excitingly, hydrogen has been identified by many as a major area of opportunity for the UK. Thanks to an existing skills base (particularly in oil and gas and offshore renewables) and a key role in some of the biggest hydrogen projects, there is a growing sense that the UK has a genuine chance to develop a competitive edge in the field.
Many in the sector argue that delivering on this opportunity will require the government to get behind the technology and help create a market that will accelerate the development of key technologies and drive the economies of scale that will really help put UK H2 on the map.