Host Ed Crooks brings you the second of two special episodes recorded live from Wood Mackenzie’s Hydrogen Conference in London.
In the rapidly changing energy landscape, hydrogen has become a hot topic. For some, it represents a beacon of potential for meeting global net-zero ambitions. For others, it is a costly and ineffective blind alley. As the clean energy transition advances, hydrogen has seen a surge in interest and investment around the world. This episode delves into different facets of the hydrogen revolution, examining its transformative potential from various perspectives.
The episode starts off with Will Lochhead, Deputy Director and Head of Hydrogen Production and Storage Business Models at the UK government’s Department For Energy Security and Net Zero. The UK government has firmly set its sight on reducing uncertainties and mitigating risks associated with the hydrogen economy, to open up new opportunities for potential market participants. The British government has set an ambition of reaching up to 10 gigawatts of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030. Will Lochhead discusses a key tool for achieving that goal: the Low Carbon Hydrogen Agreement, the contract designed to underpin hydrogen production business models.
One promising use for low-carbon hydrogen, that could play an important role in the energy transition, is for making low-carbon ammonia. Today, ammonia is predominantly used in the production of fertilizers. In the future, we might see a more wider use of low-carbon ammonia, expanding into power generation and industrial processes.
A leading producer of ammonia, OCI Global, is pioneering sustainable ammonia production, viewing it as a viable solution in the decarbonisation journey. With projects around the world, OCI sees the potential for low-carbon ammonia as a versatile product: a fuel for sectors including power and shipping, and potentially as a vector for transporting hydrogen around the world. Akshay Bhardwaj, head of commercial business development for global ammonia at OCI Global, joins us to discuss the potential transformation of the industry.
Low-carbon ammonia could also play a role in cutting emissions from agriculture. Laura Cross, Director of Market Intelligence at the International Fertiliser Association, shares insights on the key issues in the industry, including the cost implications. The industry faces some significant challenge in building a substantial market for low-carbon fertilisers.
Lastly we hear from David Burns, Vice President of Clean Energy at Linde, on how hydrogen and carbon capture fit together. He argues that as we strive for a net-zero future, long-term decisions must strike a balance between today's capabilities and future technology developments. “Blue” hydrogen, while not entirely emissions-free, is cost-effective, easily scalable, and plays a key role in most current large-scale low-carbon projects.
By contrast, “green” hydrogen, while producing minimal emissions, faces significant challenges in terms of cost, scalability, and technological readiness. Betting only on green hydrogen and ignoring the potential of blue could mean missing out on substantial opportunities to cut emissions in the shorter term. So what’s the answer?
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The first episode from the Hydrogen Conference can be found here. Follow the conversation on X – we’re @theenergygang. And subscribe to the show so you don’t miss an episode.