HOW CAN HYDROGEN ADDRESS ELECTRICITY’S CHALLENGES?
As the U.K. moves towards net zero, an obvious solution is to use more of what we’re already very familiar with: electricity. Renewables are now a significant part of the energy mix, allowing us to decarbonise electricity in the U.K. relatively easily.
But electrifying everything would create an enormous additional load on the already burdened electricity network. As distribution network operators (DNOs) transition into distribution system operators (DSOs), they need to welcome a collaborative approach with the gas networks to cope with the upswing and avoid blackouts.
A whole-system approach is necessary if we are to mitigate costs of updating capacity of the electricity network. It will be possible to balance demands on the network if we integrate low-carbon gas such as hydrogen into the mix.
Hydrogen is an alternative to natural gas that, when burnt, does not emit carbon emissions. There are two main methods of producing it:
- Electrolysis (electricity splitting water into (H2) and (O2).
- Reformation of methane, which has associated carbon emissions captured using carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS).
Potential use cases for hydrogen in applications that will reduce loads on the electricity network are numerous and will add momentum in gaining a net zero future.