When the UK Government announced it’s Hydrogen Investor Roadmap in April 2022, it highlighted new targets for Hydrogen production.
The roadmap shows how doubling up the original 5GW target to 10GW “subject to affordability and value for money” would be possible with at least half from electrolytic hydrogen.
With four CCUS sites either already in production or about be built; the capacity for a balance of green & blue hydrogen is proving a positive move for the UK Hydrogen Economy.
One of the Case Studies featured in the Hydrogen Investor Roadmap is the Orsted, ITM Power, Phillips 66 & Element Energy collaboration ‘Gigastack.
The four companies having collaborated to develop Gigastack which demonstrates the benefits & the potential of renewable hydrogen derived from offshore wind; have since 2020 been developing a blueprint for deploying scalable electrolyser technology across the UK with a 100MW electrolyser front-end engineering design (FEED) study. (1)
This has included the next generation of polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) electrolyser system at the 5MW scale; & expanding ITM Power’s electrolyser manufacturing capacity by moving to a new site & installing new semi-automated manufacturing equipment. (3)
During this process the Gigastack team has explored potential challenges such as: accessing a water supply in an industrial area; integrating into a high-voltage electrical substation a few miles away; integrating pipework into an operational refinery; & planning and permitting for a first-of-its-kind renewable hydrogen project. (1)
Electrolyser technologies can help make hydrogen accessible across the entirety of the UK & support the building of a sustainable Hydrogen fuel infrastructure, something until now has been a stumbling block due to some of the challenges proposed by storing & transporting it.
One area where the UK is already showing promise is how Hydrogen is transforming the transport sector & in particular in the heavy-duty & off-highway sector.
Hydrogen has become crucial as a sustainable alternative to fossil fuel & or electrification in industry, manufacturing, heating & transport sectors alike.
Many of the leading heavy duty & off-highway manufacturers such as JCB, Cummins, Iveco Group & CNH Industrial already have hydrogen fuelled vehicles in their fleets & with more investment in hydrogen only going to strengthen & support it’s use as a low carbon fuel; the hydrogen economy can only continue to grow.
Providing support to polluting industries to significantly slash their emissions, BEIS announced in 2021 a £105 million funding package through the UK Government Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, acting as a first step to build up Britain’s low carbon hydrogen economy. The investment is intended to help industries to develop low carbon alternatives for industrial fuels, including hydrogen, which will be key to meeting climate commitments. (2)
One area that significantly affects the off-highway & heavy duty sectors, was the announcement of a £40M Red Diesel Replacement Competition (August 2021)
BEIS awarded £6.7 million in grant funding across 17 projects for Phase 1, with up to £460,000 per project.
The projects cover technologies within the 3 innovation lots at technology readiness level (TRL) 4 and above:
Lot 1: Distribution, storage and energy delivery systems development
Lot 2: Development of equipment (components/sub-systems) and fleet management infrastructure (facilities for maintaining, hosting and servicing vehicles)
Lot 3: Fuel development (3)
Red diesel is reportedly responsible for the production of nearly 14 million tonnes of carbon each year & being a fuel used primarily for such off-highway purposes as bulldozers, excavators, tipper trucks & on-site generator sets – all essential in the construction business – alternative fuels which have a proven track record are needed to be sought.
Providing grant funding for the development & demonstration of low carbon alternatives to diesel for the construction, quarrying & mining sectors, the UK Government competition was designed with the aim of decarbonising industries reliant on red diesel & providing a platform for alternative research & development in this area. (2)
One of the successful projects ‘HYDRATE’ was awarded to Dolphin N2:
HYDRATE – Hydrogen Recuperated Advanced Thermal Engine
Lead Partner: Dolphin N2 Limited
Partners: University of Brighton; Costain Limited
Total grant: £448,611.78
The HYDRATE project will develop a Hydrogen version of the Recuperated Split Cycle Engine (RSCE), a highly innovative, fuel-agnostic thermal engine targeting heavy duty applications.
The RSCE offers very high efficiency (competitive with a PEM fuel cell), and very low emissions (SULEV with aftertreatment).
It also offers an easy route to transition to a net-zero economy, as it can use existing ICE manufacture and supply chains, and match existing ICE installation requirements, all with a moderate capital cost increase).
The UK Net Zero strategy is striving forwards with it’s goal to be Net Zero by 2050 & the use of Hydrogen could be between 20-35% of the UK final energy consumption by 2050.
When it comes to transportation, the Hydrogen Investor Roadmap predicts that transportation will have between 20-45 TWh of Hydrogen energy available by 2035. (TWh is a unit of energy equal to outputting one trillion watts for one hour. It is equal to 3.6×1015 Joules)
Written & cited by Katy-Jane Mason for & on behalf of Dolphin N2.