Hydrogen's key role in driving down Scotland's CO2 emissions

November 17th 2017

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon spoke at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, COP23, in Germany this week outlining Scotland’s commitment to driving down CO2 emissions.

Energy transition will be central to this pledge and hydrogen/fuel cells could have a significant role in driving forward this commitment.

The Scottish Government’s draft energy strategy raises the versatility and flexibility of hydrogen gas and fuel cells, and their potential to provide a range of services to the energy system, supporting the integration of low carbon solutions across the heat, power and transport sectors.

A number of hydrogen projects carried out in Aberdeen, Fife and on Orkney have demonstrated that hydrogen has real potential in Scotland, particularly in transportation where heavy demand for fuel is required, e.g. buses, lorries, ferries and trains. In addition, hydrogen has real potential for other areas such as power to gas, energy storage and grid balancing, thereby providing energy security.

Hydrogen technology is one of the Scottish Cities Alliance’s key workstreams, working in collaboration with the Scottish Government and European partners to maximise opportunities. Across Scotland there is a developing pipeline of innovative project opportunities – from demonstration to projects of scale.

H2 Aberdeen led the way with their hydrogen fuel cell bus projects – HyTransit and HyV.locity (a European led programme with the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking – FCH-JU).

Aberdeen and Dundee are also partners in the FCH2-JU initiative to commercialise hydrogen refuelling infrastructure and fuel cell buses across Europe – Project JIVE/JIVE 2 (Joint Initiative for Hydrogen Vehicles Across Europe). These projects are the most ambitious to-date with over 300 buses being deployed in 23 European cities with the ambition to reach commercialisation by 2020. They are both partners, along with Perth in the European Cities and Regions research project (another initiative led by the FCH-JU). The results from this research programme will create a number of project initiatives across European cities and regions to accelerate the expansion of hydrogen technologies.

Supply chain development is another key area for Scotland and work is underway to identify opportunities for existing companies to diversify their expertise into this sector – particularly within the oil and gas sector, with its vast experience of producing, storing and transporting gases. At COP23 the Hydrogen Council coalition launched its first globally quantified vision of the role of hydrogen showing that hydrogen has the potential to develop US $2.5tn of business, creating more than 30 million jobs by 2050.

The study entitled Hydrogen, Scaling up outlines a comprehensive and quantified roadmap to scale deployment and its enabling impact on the energy transition. Deployed at scale, hydrogen could account for almost one-fifth of total final energy consumed by 2050 The Hydrogen Council sees the potential for hydrogen to power about 10 to 15 million cars and 500,000 trucks by 2030, with many uses in other sectors as well, such as industry processes and feedstocks, building heating and power, power generation and storage.

Hydrogen technologies have the potential to create opportunities for sustainable economic growth.

Speaking at the conference in Bonn First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“There is no doubt that devolved, regional and local governments are emerging as a powerful force for good in the fight against climate change.

“We recognise the economic and social opportunities of a just transition to create new jobs; to protect our natural environment; and to tackle pollution and save lives.

“But, above all else, we understand this - tackling climate change is an overwhelming moral obligation that we owe to this and future generations.

“The message of cities, regions and devolved governments around the world to UN member states is this - our ambitions must live up to the scale of the challenge, and our actions must live up to our ambitions.”

Link to ‘Scaling up Hydrogen’ report: http://hydrogencouncil.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Hydrogen-scaling-up-Hydrogen-Council.pdf

Link to Hydrogen Council announcement: http://hydrogencouncil.com/hydrogen-scaling-up-new-roadmap-launches-at-cop-23/

For more information on the Scottish Cities Alliance’s work on Hydrogen please contact Fiona Goodenough Hydrogen Project Manager Fiona.goodenough@scottishcities.org.uk

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