Hydrogen UK: Coordinated strategy needed for growth

Trade association Hydrogen UK has called on the government to ensure a coordinated, national hydrogen transport strategy to support the path to net-zero.

The Hydrogen Transport Benchmarking report, which has been put together by the association and its members, makes three recommendations to ensure the successful implementation of hydrogen into the UK transport sector.

It calls for a Hydrogen in Transport strategy across all modes of transport; a minimum viable network of 200 hydrogen refuelling stations by 2030; and the rollout of more hydrogen ecosystems like the Tees Valley project.

The association claims hydrogen can play a critical role in decarbonisation of transport as it is expected to be a dominant technology choice for several transport modes, including HGVs, aviation and maritime. It could also play a role alongside the electrification of trains, buses and commercial vehicles.

The report also presents a high-level overview of the UK’s current global position, benchmarking its hydrogen transport deployment and hydrogen related transport policies against other international economies. It is intended to act as a springboard for further analysis and spark debate with key government and industry stakeholders.

Throughout 2023, the Hydrogen UK Transport Working Group will be exploring various topics, including shape policy in areas where hydrogen is an emerging and promising transport solution and identifying synergies in using hydrogen between different transport sectors, such as maritime and freight vehicles. 

Announcing the report’s publication, Hydrogen UK’s CEO Clare Jackson said: “We know that hydrogen has a critical role to play in the decarbonisation of transport and this report highlights the importance of implementing a national hydrogen transport strategy. The UK Government and hydrogen industry must respond to ensure that we capitalise on the opportunities presented by this critical resource, which will help to drive the decarbonisation of our transport sector.” 

Allan Rushforth, Chief Commercial Officer at First Hydrogen, said:  “The UK urgently needs to develop a national Hydrogen Transport strategy if it wants to deliver the opportunities of job creation and economic growth that the sector offers. Successful deployment requires coordination between transport networks and energy production, together with a combination of H2 refuelling on trunk roads and at zero emission fleet depots. Without this, hydrogen ecosystems such as Tees Valley and urban Ultra Low Emission Zones will not deliver the potential boost to regional and national growth, or indeed net zero target achievement, that can be achieved with greater engagement from Government.” 

Andy Walker, Technology Market Insights Director at Johnson Matthey, said: “This Hydrogen Transport Benchmarking Report provides an excellent overview of the progress made worldwide in using hydrogen as a transport fuel and highlights the need for the UK to do more in this critical area if we are going to be serious players in what will be a very large global market as clean hydrogen plays an increasingly major role in the decarbonisation of transport going forward.” 

Harsh Pershad, Head of Hydrogen at Tevva, said: “Hydrogen can play multiple roles in helping to decarbonise the economy. Worldwide around a fifth of CO2 emissions comes from trucks, and McKinsey and the Hydrogen Council believe the most competitive use of hydrogen lies in decarbonising trucks. Hydrogen UK’s up-to-date statistics compare the numbers of hydrogen stations and vehicles of different types in different countries in 2022. Today the UK has pockets of Megawatt (MW)-scale hydrogen activities, that are evolving alongside ambitious proposals for Gigawatt (GW)-scale low carbon hydrogen clusters by 2030. Learning from initiatives in Europe, Asia and North America, as well as the UK’s own experiences, co-ordination is vital to minimise costs and maximise the benefits of hydrogen infrastructure. The opportunity is now for UK central, regional and local Government bodies and industry to plan and invest jointly to grow hydrogen transport systems holistically.” 

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