Economic Impact Assessment demonstrates excellent opportunity to realise value by decarbonising UK transport

Future of energy

As the A Team’s Hannibal Smith used to say, “I love it when a plan comes together” and that’s just what appears to be happening with hydrogen thanks to the Hydrogen Taskforce’s new Economic Impact Assessment (EIA). It’s heartening to see the focus on Value Added and the number of new jobs created by a hydrogen future, estimated to be in the order of £18bn Gross Value Added (GVA) and around 75,000 jobs by 2035. These are the kind of figures that should make everyone sit up and take notice.  

I also wanted to shine a light on the transport aspect of this hydrogen value chain which includes over £1.7bn in GVA as well as creating more than 9,000 jobs for the end user stage of that chain. Around 11.3TWh of hydrogen would be required to support end use sectors including heat, power, industry and transport by 2035. As we move towards a decarbonised energy system, it’s essential that zero-emission vehicles and infrastructure are deployed at scale. This insightful study suggests that 700,000 hydrogen vehicles will be on the road by the mid-2030s supported by more than 1,000 hydrogen refuelling stations. This is the level of ambition required to make the transition to net zero a reality. 

But there’s perhaps an even bigger win for us here...
      
Our HyMotion report, launched last year at the excellent “Delivering the Hydrogen Economy North West” seminar in Runcorn, demonstrated hydrogen transport to be a major source of added value, piggybacking on the idea of creating a network for hydrogen across the North West for use by industry. I realised that once you have network-delivered hydrogen in your region, you can potentially add refuelling stations to provide hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles that are large enough to power our heavy goods and other large vehicles like buses, trains, and ferries. So you create additional value by making the decarbonisation of logistics fleets and heavy transport a reality – and this is crucial – because delivery by network makes hydrogen extremely competitive at the pump.
 
Right now we’re putting the finishing touches to a research report which demonstrates that hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles can be delivered by pipeline networks without any major “show-stoppers”. The next stage of the research – for which we hope to receive further funding support – will seek to demonstrate the concept at a commercial scale focusing on the purification requirements to make hydrogen cost effective at the pump. This is a real possibility and one about which I am very excited. And it underpins the Hydrogen Taskforce EIA projections.  

So … hydrogen is not only good for the environment, but it also has great economic growth potential, delivering sustainable increases in Gross Value Added and jobs just at the time they are needed most. 

David Jones 
Sustainable Transport Strategy Manager, Cadent
 

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