Fuel cells

DEFINITION: A device that converts chemical energy into electricity through a chemical reaction. Fuel cells can produce electricity for as long as fuel and oxygen are supplied, and produce very small amount of nitrogen dioxide or other emissions. The technology can be used to power commercial, industrial and residential buildings, in addition to fuel cell vehicles.

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Pictured: An earlier prototype of the Piper M-class plane. Image: Zero Avia

World's first commercial-grade hydrogen plane takes flight in UK, as government urged to grow 'green' hydrogen sector

The first flight of a hydrogen-powered, commercial-grade aircraft has been successfully completed in Bedford, while UK ministers face fresh calls to help scale up the domestic market for hydrogen produced using renewables.

Pictured: The third ZEROe concept. Image: Airbus

Airbus unveils plans to debut zero-emission hydrogen planes by 2035

Aerospace manufacturing giant Airbus has revealed three futuristic concept designs for zero-emission aircraft with hydrogen as the primary power source, claiming that they could operate commercial flights by 2035.

The whitepaper notes that the UK’s future energy system will have to be supported by technologies still in their infancy - carbon capture and storage (CCS), energy storage and hydrogen production

UK slipping behind on build rate required for net-zero target

The UK is achieving less than half of the required build rate to deliver energy systems that will reach net-zero emissions by 2050, according to a new whitepaper from engineering consultancy Atkins.

According to Wood Mackenzie, less than 1% of all global hydrogen production each year is fully powered by renewables

BEIS eyes CfD model to help scale-up UK's green hydrogen economy

Large-scale hydrogen projects with renewables could soon be included in the UK's Contracts for Difference (CfD) auctions, after a new government report identified the mechanism as a favoured option for scaling up 'green' hydrogen technologies.

If successful, the pilot could pave the way for larger projects

National Grid kick-starts UK's first trials of grid-injected biomethane from cow manure

Biogas produced from straw and cow manure has been directly injected into the gas grid in Cambridgeshire, in what the National Grid is calling a UK first.

Currently, around 95% of global hydrogen production comes from fossil fuel feedstocks

Hydrogen deployment could deliver 75,000 jobs and £18bn boon for UK economy

Utilising hydrogen production could generate £18bn for the UK economy and support more than 75,000 jobs over the next 15 years, according to a taskforce backed by the likes of Shell and BP.

Currently, around 95% of global hydrogen production comes from fossil fuel feedstocks

Government urged to ramp up hydrogen spending through national strategy

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) had called on the Government to implement a Hydrogen Strategy to assist in decarbonising carbon-intensive sectors, in the same week that the National Grid announced plans to build a new hydrogen testing facility.

Many cities and towns have set pre-2050 net-zero targets

Cadent and Electricity North West plot roadmap to net-zero Manchester by 2038

After the Greater Manchester Combined Authority pledged to reach net-zero by 2038 last year, the city-region's gas and electricity network operators have developed a delivery roadmap for its energy sector.

Heat accounts for one-third of the UK's annual greenhouse gas emissions

CBI: UK won't reach net-zero without 2025 ban on non-hydrogen-ready boilers

The CBI has warned that the UK is unlikely to meet its 2050 net-zero target without sweeping policy changes on heat, including the creation of a National Delivery Body and a requirement for all boilers to be hydrogen-ready by 2025.

The Treasury has costed the UK's Covid-19 recovery package at £160bn. Since lockdown began, around £4bn has been earmarked for the green economy specifically

Boris Johnson outlines £750m green spending for heavy industry and aviation

Boris Johnson has unveiled a £350m funding pot for technologies like carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen alongside a £400m sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) pledge, to be spent as part of the UK's Covid-19 recovery effort.

The European Commission unveiled its hydrogen strategy last month, charting a path to 100% 'green' gas

Gas grid operators unveil plan for 'backbone' of Europe's hydrogen infrastructure

A group of eleven European gas infrastructure companies from nine EU member states have presented plans to create a dedicated hydrogen pipeline network of almost 23,000 km by 2040, to be used in parallel to the natural gas grid.

The hydrogen strategy forms part of the Bloc's Green Deal, a policy package intended to deliver net-zero by 2050 

EU hydrogen strategy: Bloc charts path towards 100% renewable hydrogen

The European Commission unveiled plans to promote hydrogen based entirely on renewable electricity like wind and solar, but said low-carbon hydrogen derived from fossil fuels will also be supported in order to scale up production in the short term.

The IEA recently warned that the Covid-19 crisis could slow progress on low-carbon technology and widen progress gaps between sub-sectors

IEA: Most technologies needed to achieve net-zero aren't yet mature

Some 75% of the emissions reductions necessary to meet net-zero are dependent on technologies which have not yet reached commercial maturity, new analysis from the International Energy Agency (IEA) has found.

Equinor is aiming to deliver a final investment decision on the plant in 2023, with production set to commence in 2026

Equinor to deliver world's largest at-scale hydrogen from carbon capture plant in Hull

Equinor has unveiled plans to develop the world's largest plant capable of converting natural gas to hydrogen in combination with carbon capture and storage (CCUS), as part of the zero-carbon industrial hub located in the Humber region.

45-Minute Masterclass: Accelerating the smart grid transition for your business

With distributed energy assets fast becoming a mainstream part of the UK power network, this live online masterclass will equip businesses with the insights and inspiration they need to decentralise, decarbonise and democratise their energy through smart grid technologies and systems.

Hydrogen is widely regarded as a key part of the UK’s transition to net-zero by 2050. But  95% of the hydrogen produced globally in 2018 was produced using fossil-fuel powered methods, meaning it is not yet an intrinsically green solution

Hydrogen 'could provide half of the UK's net-zero energy demand'

Around 500TWh of hydrogen-generated power could be consumed annually in the UK by 2050 - equivalent to 50% of national demand - provided that ambitious supports from policy and large businesses are put in place, new analysis has found.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez presented the €3.75bn package on Monday afternoon

Spain underpins car sector bailout with green goals

The Spanish government unveiled on Monday (15 June) a €3.75bn aid package for the domestic auto industry, which includes a scrappage scheme with green strings, a bigger focus on electric charging points and funding for hydrogen power.

Northern Gas Network are working with Cenex, Wales and West Utilities and EIC to explore hydrogen fleets

Major UK utilities exploring hydrogen fleets

Two of the UK's largest gas distribution networks (GDNs) - Northern Gas Networks and Wales & West Utilities - are exploring the feasibility of using hydrogen to decarbonise a proportion of their road transport fleets, in the same month that Yorkshire Water converted one of its vehicles to hydrogen.

Pictured: An artist's impression of the proposed Norwegian facility. Image: Norsk e-fuel

What role will hydrogen play in green Covid-19 recovery plans?

Plans for major hydrogen facilities in Norway and the Isle of Wight have been unveiled this week, as business giants, banks and green campaigners call on world leaders to include hydrogen investment in their Covid-19 recovery plans.

An array of new businesses announcements are taking place on World Environment Day

NatWest's carbon calculator and Wilko's plastic pledge: The World Environment Day success stories

To mark World Environment Day (5 June) edie's Sustainability Success Stories arrive early, outlining fresh new commitments to sustainability across renewables, resources, the built environment and more.

Ofgem is due to make a decision on gas network investment in July.

UK's gas networks call for £900m investment into zero-carbon infrastructure

Britain's five gas networks companies have today outlined plans to spend more than £900m on zero-carbon energy infrastructure and hydrogen deployment across the UK, subject to Government approval on funding.

Hosted across the Worthing and Shoreham-by-Sea areas, the VPP system will incorporate solar panels, batteries and electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure 

West Sussex's £31m 'smart' local energy system to progress during lockdown

A Virtual Power Plant (VPP) project in West Sussex which is aiming to streamline how low-carbon energy is generated, stored, traded and consumed is still running "at full speed" despite the economic disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The partners hope the project can be replicated internationally

Copenhagen Airport spearheads green hydrogen project for transport fuel

Renewable energy company Ørsted and Copenhagen Airport are amongst the consortium of businesses aiming to develop a hydrogen and sustainable transport fuel facility in the heart of the Danish capital.

Plans are now in place to install CCS technologies at the VPI combined heat and power (CHP) plant

Zero-carbon Humber cluster to rollout carbon capture and hydrogen production

Plans to create the world's first zero-carbon industrial cluster in the Humber region reached another milestone this week, as Phillips 66 and Uniper signed an agreement to deploy a carbon capture and storage (CCUS) and hydrogen production facility.

The UK could become a world leader for green hydrogen, as it could become cost competitive much faster, due to enabling policies and low-cost and highly abundant renewable

Report: Renewables to account for three-quarters of UK's power demand by 2050

The UK could source 76% of its power demand from renewables by 2050, according to a new report from RenewableUK which claims that the nation's net-zero target will spur rapid demand for green hydrogen while attracting more than £50bn to an already world-leading offshore wind sector.

The document outlines sweeping green policy changes across energy, buildings and transport

Europe's draft 'green recovery' plan leaked

The European Commission's promised green recovery plan will focus on building renovation, renewables and hydrogen as well as clean mobility and the circular economy, according to a leaked working document obtained by EURACTIV.

EU green recovery plan should “build on what you already know” such as energy efficiency and renewables 

Beware of jobs vs. climate clash in virus aftermath, EU warned

Governments in Europe and beyond should pay "utmost attention" to avoid a "jobs versus climate" confrontation in the recovery phase from the COVID-19 crisis, said Fatih Birol, the executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The hydrogen that is produced will need to be low-carbon, cost-effective and spur an economic recovery, the EAC notes.

MPs to probe role of hydrogen in net-zero transition

The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) is to seek advice on the role of low-carbon hydrogen production and utilisation in accordance with the UK's wider efforts to spur economic growth and reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The report states that the global transition would impact every economy, while severely changing business models and societal habits

McKinsey: Reaching 1.5C a ‘daunting’ and unparalleled transition for all sectors

The global transition to limiting global temperature increases to 1.5C by 2050 has been labelled as a "daunting task", that would require unprecedented levels of decarbonisation for key sectors, with the world currently on course to exceed its carbon budget by 2031.

Bamford estimates that the Government may need to provide around £500m Image: km30192002 / CC BY

Wrightbus unveils plans to produce 3,000 hydrogen buses for use across UK cities

The owner of Northern Ireland bus manufacturer Wrightbus has unveiled a vision to put 3,000 hydrogen-powered bus into operation across key UK cities in a bid to reduce air pollution and spur job growth.

Asia remains the largest market for fuel cells, accounting for 680 MW

Decade of ascendency: New hydrogen fuel cell capacity surpassed 1GW in 2019

More than 1GW of global hydrogen fuel capacity was added in 2019, marking the first time the sector has surpassed the gigawatt milestone, with experts claiming that this could be a decade of "ascendency" for the technology.

UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) announced late last week that the Humber project’s application for phase one funding via an Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund has been approved

First funding phase approved for Humber net-zero industrial cluster

Plans to develop the world's first zero-carbon industrial cluster in the Humber region have been boosted after leading energy companies joined an existing consortium of project partners in the same week that Government funding was secured for the project.

The ENA has convened the UK’s leading gas operators such as Cadent, Northern Gas Networks, and National Grid to work on a project aiming to deliver the world’s first zero-carbon gas grid

Net-zero: Is the UK's gas grid ready to go green?

In a week where plans were unveiled for a nationwide roll-out of farming greenhouses heated by wastewater, the UK's major gas operators have teamed up to launch a programme aimed at delivering the world's first zero-carbon gas grid.

The energy sector is currently the second-highest emitter in the UK, behind transport

Carbon pricing, flexibility and scaling-up hydrogen: UK energy sector unveils net-zero innovation plans

The body representing the UK's electricity and gas transmission and distribution sector has set out its plans for reaching net-zero by 2050, concluding that this ambition will only be achieved if a "whole-systems" approach to transformation is adopted.

Hydrogen is widely regarded as a key part of the net-zero puzzle - but renewable generation technologies remain in their relative infancy on a global basis. 

BNEF: Green hydrogen could slash energy, transport and industry emissions by one-third

Large-scale, global deployment of renewable hydrogen across the energy, transport and industrial sectors could reduce their annual emissions by up to 34% by 2050 - at a "manageable cost".

Each week, edie rounds up some of the best sustainability stories across five key pillars

Green freebies for coronavirus heroes and California's clean energy boost: The sustainability success stories of the week

As part of our Mission Possible campaign, edie brings you this weekly round-up of five of the best sustainability success stories of the week from across the globe.

The North West cluster could deliver 33,000 jobs. Image:Manchester Metropolitan University

Upskilling roadmap set up to decarbonise North West industrial cluster

An energy and hydrogen cluster set to be developed in the North West has pledged to create a roadmap to combat existing skills gaps for the low-carbon transition, as part of wider government plans to fully decarbonise industrial clusters in the UK.

Forestry growth and rapid deployment of renewables could put the UK on course for its net-zero target

UK's net-zero target possible with 'unprecedented' low-carbon innovation

Reaching net-zero emissions in the UK by 2050 is possible but would require "unprecedented innovation across the economy" that could see electricity generation triple, hydrogen generation grow exponentially and land use to be radically overhauled across the country.

To date there have been three transition bond issuances

Cadent Gas launches UK's first 'transition bond' to spur decarbonisation

The UK's largest gas distribution network, Cadent, has agreed to the UK's first 'transition bond' which has been issued to enable heavy-carbon emitters to access funds to decarbonise.

CLG Europe is calling for clarity and direction on a plethora of low-carbon innovations

Corporate leaders want decarbonisation as central focus for Europe's Industrial Strategy

Business giants including Unilever, Interface, and Coca-Cola have called for the new European Industrial Strategy to focus heavily on decarbonisation in a way that sets out clear strategies for investment into low-carbon solutions and provides price incentives for new goods and services.

Major efforts are taking place to ensure that decarbonisation occurs in both transport and heat

E10 petrol, hydrogen and biomethane: Is the UK on the cusp of low-carbon heat and transport?

As the UK Government consults on a low-carbon fuel mix for petrol stations, two industry associations have called for refined government policy to enable the uptake of hydrogen and biomethane use to help decarbonise heat and transport.

An artist's impression of how the wind farm and hydrogen facility (right) could look in 2030. Image: Shell Nederland

Shell proposes 'Europe's largest' green hydrogen project

Energy major Shell has unveiled plans to develop what it claims will be Europe's largest 'green' hydrogen generation project, powered by wind energy, in The Netherlands.

The funds will explore and trial technologies that can switch industrial production from fossil fuels to renewables

Government focuses on hydrogen in £90m industrial decarbonisation funding

The UK Government has announced £90m in funding to help cut emissions from industrial processes and the built environment, including the backing of two low-carbon hydrogen production plants.

Johnson’s preference to fill the Treasury with his own advisors suggests that he seeks more control over the spending decisions.

Cabinet reshuffle: Is the promised 'green budget' in doubt?

Earlier this week Chancellor Sajid Javid was said to be reviewing a string of new subsidies to assist with the UK's net-zero transition. With Javid today (13 February) resigning from the position, doubts have been caused as to whether the UK Government can prioritise the green economy in the March Budget.

Power generation capacity may have to grow by 75% to account for additional demand

Sector coupling: Electrification of transport and buildings could slash emissions by 60%

Mass-Scale electrification of the transport, buildings and industrial sectors could enable Europe to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 60% over the next 30 years, according to a new report published today by research company BloombergNEF (BNEF).

The ACEA represents carmakers including Ferrari, Groupe Renault and Volkswagen 

Carmakers renew calls for low-carbon revolution as grim sales figures loom

Some of the EU's largest auto players have called once for a mass rollout of electric vehicle (EV) recharging points and refuelling stations for fuels like hydrogen, as the industry offered up more clues as to how it intends to lessen its climate impact.

The UK will be required to build 9-12GW of energy generation capacity annually to reach the net-zero target

Urgent boost to offshore wind and CCS required for UK's net-zero target, report finds

The UK will need to facilitate a four-fold increase in low-carbon energy, including expanding offshore wind capacity by up to 75GW, in order to reach its net-zero emissions commitment for 2050.

To finance a pan-European recharging infrastructure, T&E estimates €20bn will be needed over the next 11 years, or €1.8bn a year on average

Massive rise in EV charging points needed to reach EU climate goals, analysis finds

Europe needs a fifteen-fold increase in electric vehicle public charging points by 2030 to support the EU's goal of becoming "climate neutral" by mid-century, according to new research published Wednesday (8 January).

Tristar's vessel was originally built in 2008 and has been retrofitted for its new purpose as an LNG transporter. Image: Tristar

Shipping giants debut LNG and hydrogen vessels

Multinational fuel giant Tristar has added a liquefied natural gas (LNG) tanker to its international shipping fleet for the first time, in the same week that Kawasaki Heavy Industries debuted the world's first ship capable of transporting large volumes of liquid hydrogen.

Pictured: An engineer tests boilers running on the hydrogen gas blend. Image: Cadent

UK's first grid-injected hydrogen trials begin in Staffordshire

A pilot project injecting zero-carbon hydrogen into an existing gas network is now fully operational, the consortium of organisations behind the initiative have announced.

Shipping currently accounts for 2-3% of global annual emissions

Shipping fuel regulation to cut sulphur levels comes into force

Sulphur will be cut drastically from global shipping transport fuels in 2020, in a move that should reduce some forms of air pollution, and may help towards tackling the climate emergency - but which could also lead to a rise in the price of flights.

The EIB says it shares the Hydrogen Council's "common goal" to further investment in decarbonising industry, energy and transport

EIB unveils plans to boost hydrogen investment

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has partnered with a coalition of C-suite executives from the transport, heavy industry and energy sectors in a bid to accelerate financing for hydrogen solutions.

Pictured: The two vehicles used to make the delivery, outside AB InBev's St Louis brewery

AB InBev completes its first zero-emission beer delivery

Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) has announced the completion of its first zero-emission beer delivery, 18 months after placing an order for 800 hydrogen-electric semi-trucks.

Heat currently accounts for 15% of the UK's annual greenhouse gas emissions

ENA calls for mandatory hydrogen boilers as CBI outlines new sustainability vision

Replacing existing gas boilers with hydrogen-ready devices should be mandatory when they reach the end of their life, the Energy Networks Association (ENA) has urged in its general election manifesto.

Drax believes the project could capture 15% of the UK's current annual carbon emissions

Plans for zero-carbon industrial hub fleshed out in new roadmap

Drax, Equinor and National Grid have published a new roadmap fleshing out their plans to create the world's first zero-carbon industrial hub in the Humber region by 2040.

The newly created corporate will employ more than 30,000 people and have manufacturing operations in 10 nations. Image: Liberty House

Liberty House pledges carbon-neutral steel operations by 2030

Global metals and engineering group Liberty House has announced plans to roll all of its steel plants into a single company, largely in order to target carbon-neutral operations by 2030.

Kathryn has been at Taylors of Harrogate since 2013, where she's gradually added more sustainability related responsibilities to her role

Meet edie's 30 Under 30 class of 2019: Kathryn Patchett, Taylors of Harrogate

This new series profiles the members of edie's 30 Under 30 - a nomination-based community of 30 hugely talented young sustainability and energy professionals who have already achieved great things or are showing fantastic promise. Next up: Kathryn Patchett, product sustainability specialist at Taylors of Harrogate.

Total signs cleantech deal to produce hydrogen at refineries

French energy giant Total has signed a cooperation agreement with the Sunfire cleantech company to integrate capture waste heat and CO2 at a German refinery to create synthetic methanol and hydrogen to be used to reduce energy and transport emissions.