Why there is a need for a national hydrogen strategy and what we’re doing in Greater Manchester

future of energy

We're supporting the UK Hydrogen Strategy now campaign, and as such have asked Amer Gaffar, Director of  Future Fuel Cells centre at Manchester Metropolitan University to talk about the need for ensuring Hydrogen is part of the future energy mix.

There is a fundamental need for a national hydrogen strategy to really develop the UK strengths around a recovery mechanism post COVID that is economic, green and clean.  We all really need to take advantage of the natural environment of the UK with the potential that hydrogen can bring through many areas of generation. There is a global trend of new mobility and generation of power, which we are all ready to embrace in to a new greener industrial revolution. 

The current climate and the fact that we have shown that we are thinking about a cleaner future, which provides for the continuous development of alternative fuels and low-emission technologies shows that we are indeed ready to build back better.

I definitely feel confident renewables will be the driving force for fuel and power of the new future. Our goal is to build on this momentum shown during this pandemic on the ‘green revolution’ and recognize that our reliance on fossil fuels and coal is one that can stop as we have cleaner alternatives which we have to develop further if we are to meet targets for decarbonisation such as our own target of 2038 in Greater Manchester.

The positive part of this decline in a legacy industrial economy is that globally the position on decarbonising and adopting cleaner ways of generating power is one that seems to be common and will enable the creation of a much needed  hydrogen economy as it will drastically reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality, and create new, green jobs across the country.

Locally in Greater Manchester we have developed our own Hydrogen Strategy which we are looking to get formally adopted later this year, this has clear synergy with the national ambition as we have developed this to be completely complementary to other forms of renewable energy.

This has been developed through key collaborators across the region and led by ourselves at Manchester Metropolitan University and Greater Manchester Combined Authority. The strategy is no different in its recommendations to those that would be required nationally. There is an obvious demand for hydrogen production and that is what key stakeholders like Cadent and Electricity North West are helping to identify so that both public and private sector organisations who are now looking to develop their activity around hydrogen can take the necessary steps forward to develop their ideas around cleaner  zero-carbon transport as well as zero-carbon heating.

As an academic institution, we are glad that the plans for a national hydrogen strategy have a key focus on skills. This will help to develop the businesses we already work with in our own centre who are developing a range of hydrogen-based solutions as well as lead to a substantial increase in UK manufacturing and importantly help to develop the skills of the future generation in a zero carbon economy.



Cadent is the UK’s largest gas distribution network with a 200-year legacy.  We are in a unique position to build on strong foundations whilst encouraging the curiosity to think differently and the courage to embrace change.  Day to day we continue to operate, maintain and innovate the UK’s largest gas network, transporting gas safely and protecting people in an emergency.   Our skilled engineers and specialists remain committed to the communities we serve, working day and night to ensure gas reaches 11 million homes from Cumbria to North London and the Welsh Borders to East Anglia, to keep your energy flowing. 

Future of Gas: Here at Cadent we support the Government’s plans to reach Net Zero by 2050. That means we’re backing the introduction of hydrogen as a low carbon alternative to natural gas for the future. We know people love the controllability of gas and, with our network already in place, it makes sense to switch to the lower carbon alternative offered by hydrogen, which we believe can keep homes and businesses warm for generations to come.

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