100% RUK Hydrogen position statement, version 1


We say Yes to hydrogen for:

  • Energy storage for ‘excess output’ from windfarms and other big renewables in remote locations (BIG YES)
  • Shipping fuel

We say No to hydrogen for:

  • Domestic heating (energy density issue, distribution issues, need for replacement boilers, cost to householders)
  • Anything to do with fossil fuels, CCS or nuclear (for obvious reasons)

We say Maybe hydrogen for:

  • Non-shipping transport – probably mostly freight haulage
  • Industrial uses (steel, cement etc.)

Pioneers of the Energiewende envisaged hydrogen as an integral component of the energy transition from the 1970s onwards. Interest in hydrogen increased exponentially over the last few years to such an extend that there is now a veritable buzz in the technical and indeed general media. On the one hand this is a welcome development, on the other hand it isn’t always easy to separate facts and desirable hydrogen pathways from wishful thinking and misguided avenues promoted by vested interests.

As an organisation without a particular axe to grind, 100% Renewable UK aims to help separate the hydrogen wheat from the chaff. Although hydrogen already features prominently on our website (see articles here), we don’t have all the answers but want to encourage constructive debate. We support the development of genuinely green hydrogen (from renewable sources) but will expose greenwash relating to other types of hydrogen. A draft for the intentionally simple hydrogen position statement shown above was provided by 100% Renewable UK associate Keith Baker. The statement is intended as a basis for further discussion, either via the blog comment facility or our e-group.

Quotes from Wikipedia:

The term hydrogen economy was coined by John Bockris during a talk he gave in 1970 at General Motors Technical Center. The concept was proposed earlier by geneticist J.B.S. Haldane.

The hydrogen economy is the use of hydrogen as a fuel for heat, hydrogen vehicles, seasonal energy storage, and long distance transport of energy. In order to phase out fossil fuels and limit global warming, hydrogen can also be created from water, and its combustion only releases water vapour to the atmosphere.

Hydrogen is a powerful fuel, and a frequent component in rocket fuel, but there exists numerous technical challenges preventing the creation of a large-scale hydrogen economy. These include the difficulty of developing long-term storage, pipelines and engine equipment, a relative lack of off-the-shelf engine technology that can currently run safely on hydrogen, safety concerns due to the high reactivity of hydrogen fuel with environmental oxygen in the air, the expense of producing it by electrolysis and a lack of efficient photochemical water splitting technology. The hydrogen economy is nevertheless slowly developing as a small part of the low-carbon economy.

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3 thoughts on “100% RUK Hydrogen position statement, version 1”

  1. Domestic heating (energy density issue, distribution issues, need for replacement boilers, cost to householders)
    What are the scientific issues surrounding the above?
    Hydrogen has a Wobbe Index of 46 compared to NG 47-51 mJ/m3 Where is the energy density issue?
    Distribution issues? What are these? if pipework is tight with NG it is tight with H2.
    Yes boilers do need to be replaced but a new boiler for £750 ex works and £2000 installed is much less than an ASHP at £8000 to £10,000 or GSHP >£12,000
    Hydrogen ready boilers should be little more than an existing installation

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