Hydrogen in a low-carbon economy

This report by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) assesses the potential role of hydrogen in the UK’s low-carbon economy.

It finds that hydrogen:

  • is a credible option to help decarbonise the UK energy system but its role depends on early Government commitment and improved support to develop the UK’s industrial capability
  • can make an important contribution to long-term decarbonisation if combined with greater energy efficiency, cheap low-carbon power generation, electrified transport and new ‘hybrid’ heat pump systems, which have been successfully trialled in the UK
  • could replace natural gas in parts of the energy system, where electrification is not feasible or is prohibitively expensive, for example in providing heat on colder winter days, industrial heat processes and back-up power generation
  • is not a ‘silver bullet’ solution; the report explores some commonly-held misconceptions, highlighting the need for careful planning

The report’s key recommendations are:

  • Government must commit to developing a low-carbon heat strategy within the next three years
  • Significant volumes of low-carbon hydrogen should be produced in a carbon capture and storage (CCS) ‘cluster’ by 2030 to help the industry grow
  • Government must support the early demonstration of the everyday uses of hydrogen in order to establish the practicality of switching from natural gas to hydrogen
  • There is low awareness amongst the general public of reasons to move away from natural gas heating to low-carbon alternatives
  • A strategy should be developed for low-carbon heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) which encourages a move away from fossil fuels and biofuels to zero-emission solutions by 2050

Infographic
The following infographic shows the key messages from this report.