The Hydrogen Taskforce – Our mission to define the UK’s hydrogen present and future

Madano together with partners Ecuity have designed and successfully launched this month the Hydrogen Taskforce at a set-piece event in Parliament. The Hydrogen Taskforce and its member companies including Arup, Baxi, BOC-Linde, BNP Paribas and Arval, BP, Cadent, DBD, ITM Power, Northern Gas Networks, Shell and Storengy, aims to work with government to secure the role of hydrogen in the future energy mix.

Why is this important?

Hydrogen has the potential to support the vital decarbonisation of heat, energy, transport and industry and help achieve Net Zero. The application of hydrogen on a grand scale has been a long time coming, but this has often been uncoordinated. The Hydrogen Taskforce represents a coalition of organisations in the sector engaging with a unified voice.

Aligning industry and Government

The Taskforce’s objective is to align a wide range of stakeholders including Government, industry and an informed public, with the aim of driving investment in hydrogen to promote its large-scale deployment. The Taskforce gives industry an opportunity to demonstrate to the UK Government that it is united and ready to engage with Government to unlock developments in the sector. The cooperation between the Hydrogen Taskforce and Government is a clear opportunity for the UK to follow in the footsteps of Japan, South Korea, Germany and China in cross-governmental collaboration. The aim of this is to form a hydrogen roadmap on which to base clear commitments in the next spending review for projects in hydrogen production, storage and distribution projects.

The launch of the Taskforce this month was a clear manifestation of that shared vision of the role for hydrogen in the transition to Net Zero, with Minister of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP sharing his views on hydrogen in reducing carbon emissions. Jacob Young MP for Redcar also spoke, noting the opportunities and importance of hydrogen as an economic game changer in levelling up the regions. They were joined in Parliament by more than 90 Members of Parliament, Civil Servants and industry leaders.

A unique opportunity for the UK

The UK has clear commercial and experiential advantage in hydrogen compatible sectors including North Sea oil and gas, suitable areas for CCUS, and available capacity for large scale wind energy. We need to harness this advantage. The hydrogen clusters in the North East of the UK already offer an excellent opportunity to make the UK a world leader in the application of hydrogen technology. This can support not only the decarbonisation of the UK to achieve Net Zero by 2050, but also to export to a global hydrogen market, estimated by The Hydrogen Council to be worth $2.5 trillion by 2050.

There is a great challenge around how we decarbonise heat. However, there are touchpoints with communities and individuals where hydrogen can make a real impact. Domestic boilers can receive a gas blended with hydrogen. Building public acceptability for hydrogen will be very important in a similar way to the feed in tariffs that helped educate communities around the potential role of solar. With trials underway, the Taskforce is engaged in working with Government to amend regulations to enable the blending of hydrogen to make this a reality and paving the way for mandating hydrogen-ready boilers by 2025.

The future of mobility – can hydrogen challenge electric vehicles?

Our hunger for travel in the UK is not diminishing, as is evidenced by the rapid adoption, acceptance and utilisation of electric vehicles. However, it is important that alternative fuels are fully explored, and indeed where hydrogen can be deployed into our transport network. From hydrogen fuel cell cars such as Toyota’s Mirai to hydrogen trains and boats and even hydrogen for aviation, the Taskforce seeks to support investment into developing hydrogen as a fuel source for the future of mobility. To reflect this, we feel that asking Government to support with establishing 100 hydrogen refuelling stations (HRS) by 2025 will greatly support the roll-out of hydrogen transport and nudge investment decisions.

The Hydrogen Taskforce is committed to working with Government to secure tangible support to enable hydrogen solutions to scale in the UK, helping the government meet its net zero commitment and deliver on its promise to level up the regions.

Madano and economic analysis consultant Ecuity form the Secretariat for the Taskforce. If you would like further information or would like to consider joining the Taskforce, please contact me on [email protected] or a member of the Madano team on [email protected].

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