UK Government opens green hydrogen fund applications, appoints its first ‘Hydrogen Champion’

The UK Government has opened its first major funding rounds for green hydrogen production, as it eyes at least 5GW of installed capacity by 2030. It has also appointed its first ‘Hydrogen Champion’ – Johnson Matthey’s sector chief Jane Toogood.

UK Government opens green hydrogen fund applications, appoints its first ‘Hydrogen Champion’

Toogood (pictured) has co-chaired the Government's Hydrogen Advisory Council since it was formed in 2020

Energy Minister Greg Hands and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng are due to give speeches today (20 July) confirming the announcements, at the Government-hosted Hydrogen Investment Summit.

On funding, Hands will officially confirm the opening of the  Net Zero Hydrogen Fund, and the Hydrogen Business Model. The Fund, first confirmed earlier this year, will provide up to £240m of grant funding from Government coffers to projects developing and building low-carbon hydrogen production projects. The first tranche of funding will go to green hydrogen production, which involves splitting water in electrolysers powered by renewable energy, while later rounds may go towards other production methods like blue (natural gas with carbon capture) or pink (electrolysers powered by nuclear electricity).

The Hydrogen Business Model, meanwhile, was first announced at the publication of the Hydrogen Strategy in August 2021. It is a contractual business model designed to help low-carbon hydrogen production projects access ongoing revenue support, in the form of finance from the private and public sectors. This is aimed at de-risking the investment process in this technology, which is in its commercial infancy in the UK.

Projects will be able to apply for both initiatives. The first allocation rounds will be made in early 2023.

Both the Fund and the Hydrogen Business Model are designed to support the UK Government’s ambition of hosting 10GW of green and blue hydrogen by 2030. The original 2030 target set in 2021 was 5GW, but this was increased in light of the energy price crisis and increased ambitions for domestic offshore wind and oil and gas. As an interim commitment, the Government is aiming for the UK to host 1GW of green hydrogen capacity in operation or construction by the end of 2025.

Kwarteng said the new funding “represents an important step forward in realising the UK hydrogen sector’s enormous potential”.

As well as providing the update on the funding, Hands and Kwarteng confirmed that the Government has appointed its first ‘Hydrogen Champion’, Jane Toogood. Toogood is currently the sector chief executive for  catalyst technologies at Johnson Matthey, a conglomerate producing chemicals, catalytic converters and hydrogen fuel cells, among other materials and products. She is also the non-executive director at plastics manufacturer Victrex.

Additionally, Toogood serves as co-chair of the Hydrogen Advisory Council, along with Kwarteng. The Council was formed in 2020 and has met five times since its inception. Its aim is to bring together representatives from policymaking, industry and academia to identify and promote the actions needed to scale low-carbon hydrogen supply and demand in the UK. This is not to be confused with trade body Hydrogen UK, which has separately stated its support of Toogood’s appointment.

Other green economy issues for which the UK Government has appointed a ‘Champion’ include offshore wind (Tim Pick) and food waste (Ben Elliot).

Commenting on her appointment, Toogood said: “Hydrogen deployment as a clean energy source is one of the key solutions to help the UK reach its net-zero targets and I strongly believe there is an opportunity to accelerate this, working collaboratively across industry and government to land projects and infrastructure on a timeline that serves stakeholder and customers’ needs.

“At Johnson Matthey, we see that demand for hydrogen ecosystems globally is being taken up across industry, transportation and the power sector at a rapid pace, especially with the increased focus on energy security. As the UK’s Hydrogen Champion, working with industry and Government, I hope to ensure we make progress in building a thriving hydrogen economy ensuring private sector investment and policy decisions are aligned to support timely decisions and outcomes.“

edie’s Masters Series on hydrogen 

Centrica Business Solutions and edie recently worked together to produce a ‘Masters’ series on hydrogen production and usage that will be invaluable to any firm exploring its plans for a hydrogen future. The content now available on the edie website as part of that series is:

Follow the hyperlinks to access all of these resources.

Comments (1)

  1. Richard Phillips says:

    How is renewable electricity more desirable than nuclear energy, for water electrolysis???
    If the hydrogen is destined as a fuel, why involve electrolysis? Using the current directly would be more efficient, at least 20%.
    Sometimes HMGs view of scientific subjects has me qui[e puzzled, but PPE is different from FRIC!!!!!
    Richard Phillips

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