Hydrogen refuelling pump

UK pledges £375m to fund green hydrogen and clean energy technologies

Image credit: Audioundwerbung/Dreamstime

The UK government has announced a £375m support package to spur the development of innovative energy technologies as part of efforts to strengthen the nation’s energy security.

A wide-ranging energy strategy was announced yesterday (Thursday April 7) which made new commitments on boosting nuclear, wind, solar and hydrogen as part of efforts to lower the UK’s carbon emissions and shore up energy security.

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said the new financial package includes £240m to support the production of “clean” hydrogen. Hydrogen is a potentially zero-carbon fuel source, although if it is derived from fossil fuels it can actually be more carbon intensive than using gas.

This is because there are two approaches to producing hydrogen: blue hydrogen (produced by splitting natural gas into hydrogen and carbon dioxide) and green hydrogen (produced by splitting water via electrolysis into hydrogen and oxygen).

Green hydrogen requires a large energy input from a renewable source, but blue hydrogen cannot be described as a zero-emission fuel source.

The £240m Net Zero Hydrogen Fund will aim to advance the government’s ambition to have up to 2GW of green hydrogen production capacity by 2025 and up to 10GW installed by 2030.

A further £2.5m of funding will go towards the development of next-generation nuclear technology and £5m towards research into carbon capture.

Business and energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “This investment will unlock the enormous potential of hydrogen, advanced nuclear reactors and carbon capture to level up the UK energy landscape and deliver for businesses and households.

“High gas prices and Russia’s aggression in Ukraine have highlighted the urgent need to produce more of our energy here in the UK.”

Malcolm Offord, UK government for Scotland minister, said: “This UK government backing will accelerate innovation in some of the most promising technologies, including the development of hydrogen energy and next-generation nuclear reactors. Funding for vital carbon capture research, including three projects in Scotland, will help us meet out ambitions for decarbonisation.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been forced to defend the new energy strategy, announced yesterday, in the face of widespread criticism that it does nothing to immediately help people with soaring energy bills.

Johnson said that the strategy is a long-term plan focusing on energy supply, “undoing the mistakes of the past and taking the big decisions now” and that the government was already doing a “huge amount” to help people with the immediate cost-of-living crisis.

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