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Get started, planning your hydrogen project with Powersystems

Building a  renewable hydrogen innovation and production hub is a large-scale project that requires teams of specialists to handle the many aspects of the project from concept and planning to implementation.

Speak with one of our high voltage electrical engineering Hydrogen Energy Specialists today.

Who to carry out your hydrogen balance of plant contract?

The civil and electrical works are referred to as the Balance of Plant (BOP).  The civil and electrical works are designed and installed by a high voltage specialist contractor like Powersystems.

Experience in the design and installation of high voltage electrical infrastructure has placed Powersystems in a position ideally suited to carryout Hydrogen balance of plant contracts.

As project managers, engineers, construction professionals and much more, we provide practical insight, helping you overcome the complexities that come with hydrogen project development, from planning to stakeholder management and commissioning. 

Powersystems has connected 6 GW of renewable energy technology

Hydrogen infrastructure and what you need to consider

Without an efficient and safe infrastructure system, it will not be possible to increase the use of hydrogen energy and hydrogen-based fuels. It is clear that significant investment in enabling infrastructure is needed on the path to net zero emissions, particularly when it comes to hydrogen storage and the development of systems capable of moving it safely and efficiently between ports and industrial zones.

Powersystems engineers are highly experienced in the design, specification, installation and commissioning of electrical infrastructure for substations, switchgear, transformers, cable infrastructure, earthing systems and SCADA cabling, enabling the complete hydrogen hub installation to be carried out.

Why your hydrogen energy project is important

The transition to a green economy will require a mix of technologies and hydrogen will play a vital role. Government analysis suggests that 20-35% of the UK’s energy consumption by 2050 could be hydrogen-based, this new energy source could be critical to meet our targets of net zero emissions by 2050 and cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 – a view shared by the UK’s independent Climate Change Committee. 

~ In the UK, a low-carbon hydrogen economy could deliver emissions savings equivalent to the carbon captured by 700 million trees by 2032 and is a key pillar of capitalising on cleaner energy sources as the UK moves away from fossil fuels. ~

The Hydrogen Strategy sends a strong signal globally that we are committed to building a thriving low carbon hydrogen economy that could deliver hundreds of thousands of high-quality green jobs, helps millions of homes transition to green energy, support our key industrial heartlands to move away from fossil fuels and bring in significant investment.

The government’s approach is based on the UK’s previous success with offshore wind, where early government action coupled with strong private sector backing has earned the UK a world leading status.

Green hydrogen a renewable energy technology

Hydrogen is the lightest element of the periodic table and the most common substance in the world.  It can be used as feedstock, fuel or energy carrier and does not emit CO2 when burnt, that is why you often hear about its high potential for decarbonising the economy.

Now, as nations come forward with net-zero strategies to align with their international climate targets, hydrogen has once again risen up the agenda for the UK and Australia through to Germany and Japan.

Potentially hydrogen could soon power trucks, planes and ships. It could heat homes, balance electricity grids and help heavy industry to make everything from steel to cement.

But doing all these things with hydrogen would require staggering quantities of the fuel, which is only as clean as the methods used to produce it. Moreover, for every potentially transformative application of hydrogen, there are unique challenges that must be overcome.

In order to meet the 2050 decarbonisation policies and targets, the UK requires deployment of new technologies in traditional roles. One of these is the innovative technology around the uses of Green Hydrogen.

What is hydrogen?

Hydrogen is an explosive and clean-burning gas. Since the weight of hydrogen is less than air, it rises in the atmosphere and is therefore rarely found in its pure form, H2. In a flame of pure hydrogen gas, burning in air, the hydrogen (H2) reacts with oxygen (O2) to form water (H2O) and releases energy. The energy released enables hydrogen to act as a fuel. This energy can be used with relatively high efficiency.

Hydrogen can be made by splitting water with electricity (electrolysis) or by splitting fossil fuels or biomass with heat or steam, using “reforming” or “pyrolysis”. Any CO2 can be captured and stored.

Hydrogen can be stored, liquified and transported via pipelines, trucks or ships. And it can be used to make fertiliser, fuel vehicles, heat homes, generate electricity or drive heavy industry.

Hydrogen is usually considered an energy carrier, like electricity, as it must be produced from a primary energy source.

In a hydrogen economy, hydrogen would be used in place of fossil fuels, which currently provide four-fifths of the world’s energy supply and emit the bulk of global greenhouse gas emissions. Britain’s hydrogen network plan sets out the work that all five of Britain’s gas grid companies will deliver in the years ahead to replace natural gas with hydrogen and biomethane, to help cut our carbon emissions. It’s a major blueprint that will guide the transition of some £24bn of Britain’s energy infrastructure from natural gas to hydrogen.

This could also aid climate goals because hydrogen only emits water when burned and can be made without releasing CO2.

The hydrogen rainbow of colours

Blue hydrogen is when natural gas is split into hydrogen and CO2 either by Steam Methane Reforming (SMR) or Auto Thermal Reforming (ATR), but the CO2 is captured and then stored. As the greenhouse gasses are captured, this mitigates the environmental impacts on the planet. Simply put, hydrogen is considered blue when the emissions generated from the steam process are captured and stored underground via industrial carbon capture and storage (CSS).

Brown hydrogen is produced from fossil fuels and currently accounts for around 95 per cent of global production. The oldest way of producing hydrogen is by transforming coal into gas. This Gasification process converts fossil-based materials into carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen. Gasification is achieved at incredible high temperatures without combustion, with a controlled amount of oxygen and/or steam. The carbon monoxide then reacts with water to form carbon dioxide and more hydrogen via a water-gas shift reaction. Generated vial coal gasification syngas and hydrogen can be separated from the other elements using adsorbers. It is the result of a highly polluting process since both CO2 and carbon monoxide cannot be reused and are released in the atmosphere.

Hydrogen obtained from electrolysis through nuclear energy is coloured pink.

Hydrogen can also be produced from Biomass via gasification. Depending on the type of biomass but also on the use of carbon capture and storage technologies net carbon emissions can be lower using these technologies

Green hydrogen is produced using electricity generated from renewables such as solar energy, biomass, electricity (e.g., in the form of solar PV or via wind turbines), instead of fossil fuels. And currently accounts for 1% of overall hydrogen production. 

Green hydrogen has the potential to provide clean power for manufacturing, transportation, and more — and its only by-product is water. With green hydrogen, zero carbon emissions are produced. It is in essence the gold standard of hydrogen in the clean energy sector.

Driving the growth of low carbon hydrogen

Working with industry the UK is aiming for 10 GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030. Hubs where renewable energy, CCUS and hydrogen congregate will put our industrial ‘SuperPlaces’ at the forefront of technological development.

This could see the UK benefit from around 8,000 jobs across our industrial heartlands and beyond. This will be supported by a range of measures, including a £240 million Net Zero Hydrogen Fund, and setting out, our hydrogen business models and a revenue mechanism for them to bring through private sector investment.

We will also build on our success in offshore wind and other renewables, to bring forward the zero-carbon hydrogen of the future. Together this will develop resilient supply chains, support jobs and position UK companies at the forefront of an exciting growing global market, as well help things like industrial processes, industrial heat, power, shipping and trucking to make the shift to net zero.

Low carbon hydrogen could deliver
  • support for up to 8,000 jobs by 2030, potentially unlocking up to 100,000 jobs by 2050 in a high hydrogen net zero scenario
  • over £4 billion of private investment in the period up to 2030
  • savings of 41 MtCO2e between 2023 and 2032, or 9% of 2018 UK emissions

Hydrogen policy impacts
  • aiming for 10 GW hydrogen production capacity by 2030 in partnership with industry
  • lower carbon heating and cooking with no change in experience for domestic consumers through hydrogen blends and reducing the emissions of the gas used by up to 7%

Fuel Cell
Hydrogen target milestones
  • 2021: Publish our Hydrogen Strategy and begin consultation on government’s preferred business models for hydrogen
  • 2022: Finalise hydrogen business models
  • 2023: Work with industry to complete testing necessary to allow up to 20% blending of hydrogen into the gas distribution grid for all homes on the gas grid
  • 2023: By 2023 we will support industry to begin hydrogen heating trials in a local neighbourhood
  • 2025: We hope to see 1GW of Hydrogen production capacity
  • 2025: Will support industry to begin a large village hydrogen heating trial, and set out plans for a possible pilot hydrogen town before the end of the decade

Leading sector for UK job creation

Green hydrogen has the potential to become a leading sector in the UK for job creation and exports.

The UK is currently a global leader in the manufacture and design of hydrogen electrolysis systems, with decades of expertise in hydrogen storage, transportation, and combustion technologies. These include the world’s first PEM electrolysis Gigafactory built by ITM Power, membrane free electrolysers developed by CPH2, and high resiliency electrolysers built for the UK & French nuclear fleets by TP Group.Other emerging technologies Include Solid Oxide Electrolysers currently under development by CERES Power and HiiROC’s plasma process technology.

Supporting these highly specialised businesses and other innovative technology companies require highly skilled workers. Creating thousands of well-paid manufacturing jobs across the UK will provide a competitive advantage towards an emerging global market demand.

Longer-term private sector vision

These new projects may seem small in comparison to the UK’s broader transport, industrial and heat sectors. But it is clear that there is strong private sector support for longer-term, overarching initiatives that deliver an ongoing transition beyond initial pilots.

The Taskforce is a coalition of the hydrogen industry’s largest organisations that operate in and innovate across this sector. Its aim is to secure the role of hydrogen in the future energy mix.

The Taskforce is committed to working with Government to secure tangible support to aid the creation of infrastructure and delivery frameworks, helping the government to deliver on its promises to level up the regions and its Net Zero by 2050 commitments.

The Taskforce aims to enable the UK to become a world leader in the international application and service of hydrogen, to deliver excellence throughout the supply chain and create a globally attractive export.

All in all, it would seem that all of the ingredients are ready for the UK to begin dramatically decarbonising and scaling up its hydrogen sector.