• A POSTnote on hydrogen will cover the latest developments in low-carbon hydrogen production, as well as developments in applications across transport, industry and heat more generally.
  • Provisional start date: September 2020. To contribute expertise, literature or as an external reviewer, please contact Jack Miller. View our guidance for expert contributors.

Hydrogen gas could play a key role in meeting the UK’s net zero greenhouse gas emissions targets. As a light gas, it provides a ready store of energy that is easily transformed by combusting it or using it in a hydrogen fuel cell (generally to produce electricity in transport applications). Importantly, it provides substantial amounts of energy without emitting greenhouse gases or other pollutants. In transport, hydrogen can be used to power a fuel cell electric vehicle. While there are a very small number of hydrogen cars and light vans on the roads, the technology has the most potential in the larger vehicle markets, such as HGVs or buses. Some features of batteries (such as their weight, and necessary recharging time) may make hydrogen better suited for these larger applications than electric vehicles. In addition to transport, there is interest in using hydrogen in the domestic and industrial sectors, as a source of heat and (for the latter) a chemical feedstock.

The widespread use of hydrogen is dependent upon having the necessary infrastructure in place to produce, transport and use it. Its production, in particular, is not currently done in a way that is compatible with emissions reduction goals (it is primarily produced by breaking down natural gas, with CO2 waste emissions). There are substantial R&D efforts underway to reduce the costs of low-carbon hydrogen production, and policies to promote its use as an industrial or transport fuel.

A POSTnote in this area will cover the latest developments in low-carbon hydrogen production, as well as developments in applications across transport, industry and heat more generally.