Standardising hydrogen’s often confusing palette of colours and sources is the government’s aim in its proposed new certification scheme, announced today.
Verifying the sustainability of the gas’ manufacturing method, and thus boosting investors’ confidence to expand Britain’s hydrogen economy, are motives for Whitehall’s desired new classification framework.
Supported by a six-month extension of Jane Toogood’s spell as Britain’s first Hydrogen Champion, minsters hope a certification standard will help cement the UK’s place in the global race to ramp up hydrogen technology, and incentivise production, investment and use.
Producers currently have no recognised yardstick to prove the credentials of their low carbon hydrogen. A reliable rule to demonstrate emissions during its creation is needed, ministers believe, so Britain can strip planet-cooking carbon from our hydrogen sector, thereby avoiding turf wars, including between its green variety, electrolysed with renewable power, and the cheaper, more polluting blue hue, steam-cleaned from oil and gas.
That battle over gauging hydrogen’s relative pollution levels cost ex-premier Johnson a highly placed hydrogen advisor two years ago. Chris Jackson, boss of Protium Green Solutions quit his leadership of a key Whitehall committee, only hours before Johnson launched his Hydrogen Strategy. Jackson slammed the policy’s inclusion of blue hydrogen as an ‘expensive distraction’.
Aiming to introduce the certification scheme by 2025, Whitehall will now begin consultations with industry.
At stake is emissions avoided as hydrogen moves into new roles, including as feedstock products such as fertilisers, making low carbon steel, and replacing methane-based ‘natural gas’ in high temperature glass- or ceramics-making.
Ahead of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science this week, the UK government has extended the appointment of the country’s first-ever Hydrogen Champion, Jane Toogood, for a further six months.
Toogood’s role as Hydrogen Champion is key to bringing industry and government together to accelerate the development of the UK hydrogen economy. To date, she has met stakeholders across industry to assess opportunities and identify barriers to achieving this.
“Consumers and businesses care about investing sustainably, “said energy junior minister Graham Stuart.
“Thanks to this new scheme, investors and producers will be able to confidently identify and invest in trusted, high-quality British sources of low carbon hydrogen, both home and abroad.
The gas’ champion Jane Toogood observed: “Hydrogen is an essential piece of the puzzle to decarbonise UK industry, and improve our long-term energy security”.
“It’s great to see progress being made towards setting up a UK certification scheme – this is key to growing a low carbon hydrogen economy.
“Over the next six months, my priority will be to ensure that industry and government work together to generate investment in the hydrogen economy, kickstart hydrogen production and develop a UK hydrogen supply chain.