The UK Government has recently announced its Hydrogen Investor Roadmap (April 2022).

The roadmap updates the plans for Hydrogen production as laid out in The ten point plan for a green industrial revolution released in November 2020 & updates the Hydrogen Strategy from 2021.

The original ten-point plan included the following on hydrogen:

Hydrogen – £500m to generate 5GW of “low-carbon” hydrogen production capacity by 2030

The UK will aim to generate 5GW of “low-carbon” hydrogen production capacity by 2030. Up to £500m will be invested in a bid to create a Hydrogen Neighbourhood in 2023, a Hydrogen Village by 2025, and to create the first town running entirely on hydrogen.  (1)

However, in the new Hydrogen Investor Roadmap announced April 2022, the UK Government is seeking to expand the production of Hydrogen & in doing so becoming more energy independent going forward.

The new targets for Hydrogen production are ambitious with the UK government now planning on doubling up the original 5GW target to 10GW “subject to affordability and value for money” (2) with at least half from electrolytic hydrogen.

Under the new Government Hydrogen Investor Roadmap, the map of the UK shows how the production of electrolytic hydrogen is already under way & with four CCUS sites either already in production or about be built; the capacity for a balance of green & blue hydrogen is already underway across the UK.

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 have collaborated to develop Gigastack, a project which demonstrates the benefits & the potential of renewable hydrogen derived from offshore wind.

Since 2020, the project team have been developing a blueprint for deploying scalable electrolyser technology across the UK with a 100MW electrolyser front-end engineering design (FEED) study. (3)

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. (3)

Project Gigastack is an essential component to the UK Governments Hydrogen roadmap, with the focus being on how electrolyser technologies can help make hydrogen accessible across the entirety of the UK, something until now has been a stumbling block due to the volatility of Hydrogen & the inherent challenges proposed by storing & transporting it.

One area where the UK is already show great promise is how Hydrogen is transforming the transport sector. With a host of Hydrogen buses already having been in regular use in the UK, the Off-Highway & Heavy Duty sectors are also embracing the benefits of Hydrogen as a successful fuelling alternative.

The UK Government Hydrogen Investor Roadmap highlights how they are focussing their attention on the transport sector & in particular their commitment to ensuring the infrastructure is in place for refuelling stations & how Hydrogen can assist in decarbonising the heavy duty/on & off highway applications.


What the UK Government have already done

Launched UK’s first ‘Hydrogen Transport Hub’ in Tees Valley in 2021, delivering pilot trials on hydrogen propulsion technologies across all transport modes (2)

What the UK Government are doing now

£23m Hydrogen Transport Programme delivering new hydrogen refuelling stations, upgrading existing stations and deploying hundreds of new hydrogen vehicles (2)

What the UK Government have committed to

Continuing multi-million pound support for transport decarbonisation, including deployment, trials & demonstration of hydrogen buses, HGVs, shipping, aviation and multi-modal transport hubs (2)

The Dolphin N2 ThermoPower TM Recuperated split Cycle Engine is one such heavy duty option which is already being developed to be Hydrogen ready.

Nick Owen – Technical Director, Dolphin N2 approached the subject of the practicalities of Hydrogen as a heavy duty fuel solution at the Future Propulsion Conference 2022 (March 22)

During his seminar titled “The Recuperated Split Cycle Engine: A Practical Hydrogen Solution for Heavy Duty?” he explored how Dolphin N2 have had a multi-cylinder prototype of their recuperated split cycle engine running since December 2020. With the data already looking promising, with high thermal efficiency –55-60% BTE, low emissions – NOx at SULEV or below with standard SCR & fuel compatibility with Diesel, Methane & Hydrogen; Dolphin N2 are proving that established engine configurations can be modified to accept alternative fuel solutions..

“The benefits of a Hydrogen ICE are that a Hydrogen ICE works, is fast to adopt, uses the same supply chain as current manufacturers, has familiar servicing needs, NOx is entirely manageable via lean burn & in principle it suits a Recuperated Split Cycle. ‘Fast oxidation’ combustion is fuel agnostic – violent mixing with red-hot sonic & supercritical air will burn many things & if Hydrogen can maintain BOTH high efficiency & low NOx, the advantages are clear.” Nick Owen – Technical Director, Dolphin N2 (4)

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