Accelerating hydrogen use in the UK, new report

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A new report reveals how the North-West could build on world leading plans for local low carbon hydrogen production and use by also pioneering low carbon energy imports through ramping up Britain’s use of ammonia.
The report, hydrogen economy by the North West Hydrogen Alliance (NWHA), outlines how using ammonia as a hydrogen carrier can further boost its rollout in the UK as a low carbon fuel. Doing so could also diversify the energy being imported into the UK.
Hydrogen forms a key part of the UK’s net-zero plans, recently featuring heavily in the Government’s Energy Security Strategy and the North West’s Cluster Plan, a roadmap to decarbonising the region’s industrial cluster.
Low carbon hydrogen will be transported via pipelines for distribution to industry and other sectors of the economy to replace fossil fuels or refrigerated to very low temperatures to store and transport it in liquid form for international shipping. Using ammonia – a compound made of hydrogen and nitrogen – means it can be easier to liquify and transport over long distances. It can also provide additional hydrogen storage capacity.
Professor Joe Howe, chair of the NWHA and executive director, Thornton Research Institute at the University of Chester, said: “The Government has doubled its 2030 hydrogen production target and it’s a major part of the UK’s green future. Ammonia could be an important component of the hydrogen economy, providing a cost-effective way to store and transport the low-carbon fuel around the UK and beyond. The North West is ideally placed to capitalise on this market. We have mature supply chains used to producing and handling ammonia in large quantities, coupled with a high demand for hydrogen from industry looking to decarbonise. Ammonia could also be key to decarbonising our energy imports through destinations like the Port of Liverpool.”
The North West’s industrial leaders say the region is in a prime spot to develop this low carbon market. Not only does the region have a high demand for hydrogen, due to levels of energy-intensive industries, but it already has a long history of large scale ammonia production, with the UK’s largest ammonia manufacturer, CF Fertilisers located near Ellesmere Port in Cheshire.

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