The government is seeking views on setting a low-carbon standard for blue hydrogen.
The strategy covers both blue hydrogen, which extracts hydrogen from methane before capturing and storing carbon emissions, and green hydrogen, produced from water using renewable energy with only oxygen as the waste product.
The government said today the low-carbon standard aimed to ensure that blue hydrogen production captured enough greenhouse gas emissions to qualify as low-carbon.
Ministers are promoting hydrogen as a replacement for hydrocarbons in energy-intensive industries, heavy transport and home heating.
Nearly all the hydrogen produced in the UK so far is based on fossil fuels. Onshore gas companies, such as IGas and UKOG, are looking to convert methane produced at their sites to blue hydrogen.
So far, the government has not given details of the future balance of green and blue hydrogen.
Last week, a US study concluded that blue hydrogen could be 20% worse for the climate than burning natural gas or coal for heat. They said the focus should be on green hydrogen.
Current proposals for the standard would exclude what are known as “embodied emissions”, such as construction and decommissioning emissions, the government said. It also wanted comments on whether waste fossil feedstocks would be accounted for under the standard.
Today’s strategy said hydrogen could cover 20-35% of UK energy consumption by 2050.
It also estimated that the hydrogen economy could be worth £900m and create more than 9,000 high-quality jobs by the end of the decade. This could rise to £13bn and 100,000 jobs by 2050, the strategy said.
The government also launched a public consultation on the preferred hydrogen business model. And ministers are consulting on a £240m Net Zero Hydrogen Fund, which aims to support commercial hydrogen production plants across the UK.
- The low carbon hydrogen standard consultation closes on 25 October 2021
Ruth Hayhurst will be reporting for DrillOrDrop from the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow in November