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5 hydrogen myths debunked

Interested in green hydrogen? We’ve broken down the reality behind 5 hydrogen myths and the challenges of the energy transition

The energy transition is well underway, and hydrogen is a key part of the discussion – but it’s still utilised on a very small scale. Whilst hydrogen is a clean and renewable source of energy when burned alone, producing it can generate emissions. On top of this, the safety, infrastructure and cost requirements of using hydrogen pose unique challenges.

But as the global mission to reach net zero progresses, green hydrogen is sparking fresh interest. From its potential use in hydrogen CHP to the challenges of large-scale hydrogen storage, there’s a lot of discussion about the future of our fuels. In this blog, we debunk five common myths on hydrogen energy and its role in the future of decarbonisation in the UK.


Myth #1: All hydrogen is renewable

Answer: There are many different methods of producing hydrogen, and all have different consequences for their emissions status. These are known as different ‘colours’ of hydrogen.

For example, ‘grey’ hydrogen is created using steam and methane. This process produces CO2, which means that grey hydrogen cannot be considered low-carbon.

Alternatively, ‘green’ hydrogen is created through electrolysis of water – a process which has no direct emissions. If this is powered by renewable energy, it can be considered a wholly zero-emission production method.

Green hydrogen is considered the gold standard of hydrogen from an emissions perspective. If your business chooses to utilise hydrogen, this is the option we recommend wherever possible. Choosing green hydrogen can help you to reduce your overall emissions, progressing your pathway to net zero.

Staying informed on the right choice for your business will be key to your success with hydrogen renewable energy. To learn more about green hydrogen and other ‘colours’ of hydrogen – like ‘blue’ and ‘turquoise’ hydrogen – watch our video below.

Myth #2: Hydrogen-ready CHP isn’t yet ready for widespread use

Answer: Hydrogen-ready CHP isn’t a concept of the future – it’s here today. These hydrogen CHP units are designed to be used with multiple fuels, utilising dual gas trains for maximum flexibility. Once your business is ready to transition, our experts can help you to swap your supply to green hydrogen or other types of hydrogen – so you won’t need to replace your CHP unit.

Our CHP units can already make the most of this technology, in partnership with manufacturers like 2G and MTU. You could choose natural gas supply today, and switch to hydrogen tomorrow – enabling you to take advantage of the UK’s changing energy landscape.

Myth #3: Electrification is the only solution for heat decarbonisation

Answer: One myth is that electrification is the only solution for heat decarbonisation. Although electrification is likely to form a significant part of the solution, green hydrogen and other types of hydrogen could also play a key role.

According to the UK Hydrogen Strategy, hydrogen could make up 20-35% of the UK’s energy consumption by 2050. For sectors like shipping or steel production, which can’t easily be electrified, this could be key. Hydrogen could offer an alternative source of energy to solve this challenge, helping the UK to progress to a decarbonised future.


Myth #4: Large-scale hydrogen storage isn’t yet possible

Answer: Large-scale hydrogen storage is a key part of the UK Government’s net zero commitments. As stated by Guy Newey from the Energy Systems Catapult, and in line with the UK hydrogen strategy, hydrogen usage is expected to grow significantly over the next thirty years. It’s crucial therefore that storage is developed to meet this usage.

Progress is already being made on this. The Rough reservoir, in Humberside, has been storing gas safely for over thirty years – and could be central to large-scale hydrogen storage. The reservoir has the potential to provide almost half of the UK’s hydrogen storage requirements. Plans are already underway to transform the reservoir for this purpose, accelerating the UK’s path to a low carbon future.


Myth #5: Hydrogen renewable energy competes with electricity

Answer: Hydrogen can complement the use of electricity. Renewable electricity is still expected to make up most energy consumption by 2050, but the UK will still need an affordable long-term alternative for cold weather and the winter peak.

Green hydrogen could help here. With hydrogen, large-scale energy storage is possible. This can mitigate periods of low renewable generation and provide a stable energy supply. The National Grid has highlighted that the use of hydrogen, when transported in pipelines, could enable “flexible benefits” in demand response similar to those of natural gas usage. In addition, hydrogen could complement electricity in spaces where gaseous fuel will still be needed.


Get ready for a future powered by hydrogen

We've debunked five common green hydrogen myths. Is your business ready for a hydrogen-powered future?

At Centrica, we’re proud to be involved in several hydrogen projects. From planning to repurpose our Rough reservoir, to working with HiiROC to pioneer hydrogen injection at Brigg, we’re supporting the development of the UK’s hydrogen infrastructure. And, when you’re ready to transition to energy assets like hydrogen CHP, our team will be happy to help.

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