Business Energy Broker
Hydrogen ticks all the right boxes to meet net-zero goals and sustain a long-term renewable energy grid.
Long-term net-zero goals require a stable, reliable and renewable energy system. The future of the UK energy generation mix could have a large proportion of hydrogen as we make this clean transition and remove fossil fuel from our grid. However, we are currently unable to produce hydrogen to scale the UK energy demand.
Hydrogen is a widely accessible gas as it can be produced from sources such as other natural gasses and more importantly renewable power e.g. solar, wind and hydropower. Unfortunately, we have not developed the technology to extract the potential hydrogen can have on a large scale to power the grid and heat homes.
Natural gas already makes up a large proportion of the energy generation mix. The NationalgridESO says around 40% of UK electricity is generated from gas which highlights the importance and potential of gas. Although this is a cleaner source than fossil fuels such as coal, the byproduct of natural gas when burnt is CO2 which harms the environment.
We are looking towards hydrogen as the gas of the future as it is a cleaner alternative to natural gasses. When hydrogen is burnt it produced water vapour instead of CO2 emissions. This would further reduce our impact on climate change and allow us to accelerate net-zero efforts.
In addition to removing CO2 emissions and producing a friendly byproduct, hydrogen is a physical commodity. It can be effectively stored for long periods unlike electricity, which relies on batteries to store energy which disperse over time and become ineffective over long periods. This will be particularly useful to balance the grid and make effective use of generation.
For example, if renewable generation exceeds demand we can store hydrogen for when demand returns or generation drops. This allows us to manage and balance the grid so we are only using what we need.
NationalgridESO Strategy Manager, Robert Gibson said:
“Electricity can be converted to hydrogen if there’s network congestion and then either transported to be used elsewhere in the country or stored until needed at a later date you could even leverage existing natural gas infrastructure and pipe it straight to homes and businesses.”
The NationalgridESO will expand the explanation of the potential for hydrogen in their upcoming Future Energy Scenarios (FES) publication due in July.