UK Government to lead on certification scheme for low-carbon hydrogen
The UK Government has unveiled plans to develop a globally recognised certification scheme for low-carbon hydrogen production and generation, as it builds toward plans to host at least by 2030.
The newly launched Department for Energy Security and Net Zero has today (9 February) unveiled plans to consult on the creation of a globally recognised standard for low-carbon hydrogen.
Currently, the is no certifiable way for producers of hydrogen to validate claims on whether it is low-carbon or not. The new standard, which will be launched by the UK Government, would use the methodology set out in the UK’s Low Carbon Hydrogen Standard as the basis of the certification.
The Standard sets out in detail the methodology for calculating the emissions associated with hydrogen production and the steps producers are expected to take to prove that the hydrogen they produce is compliant.
The government will launch a consultation seeking industry feedback. It aims to have the certification scheme in place by 2025.
Department for Energy Security and Net Zero Minister Graham Stuart said: “Consumers and businesses care about investing sustainably. Thanks to this new scheme, investors and producers will be able to confidently identify and invest in trusted, high-quality British sources of low-carbon hydrogen, both at home and abroad.
“I look forward to working with industry as we deliver hydrogen as a secure, low carbon replacement for fossil fuels that will help us move towards net-zero, secure jobs, and boost investment.”
The UK is aiming to host at least 10GW of ‘low-carbon’ hydrogen production capacity by 2030. At least half of this will need to be ‘green’ hydrogen capacity. Green hydrogen is produced by electrolysing water at facilities powered using 100% renewable electricity.
However, the remaining production looks set to be predominantly “blue” hydrogen, which is produced by natural gas and supported by carbon capture technologies. However, the sharp increase in gas prices combined with the infancy of the carbon capture market has led some green groups to question this approach.
The announcement from Government comes in the same week that the Environment Agency (EA) published new regulatory guidance on the production of blue hydrogen in the UK, recommending that developers aim for a 95% carbon capture rate or fully explain why they are not able to.
The guidance is aimed at any organisation which will be seeking an environmental permit for their blue hydrogen facility. Such facilities produce hydrogen using fossil-based gases, such as natural gas or refinery fuel gas. CO2 generated during this process is then captured and made ready for permanent geological storage.
It states that “as a minimum” developers should achieve an overall CO2 capture rate of 95%. They will need to provide thorough justification if they are proposing a plant – new or retrofitted – with a lower capture rate.
The guidance acknowledges that carbon capture facilities will likely “operate on a flexible basis to balance variations in demand from hydrogen users”. There may also be changes during, for example, maintenance periods or periods of extreme weather. It states that it expects information on the steps developers would take to minimise the environmental impact of any changes, including reduced carbon capture rates and increased emissions.
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