Sometimes inspiration just drops into your lap-top

27th Jul 2020

 

Writing a weekly blog isn’t a hardship, especially with so much going on in the energy world. But it is made so much easier when inspiration simply drops into your lap, well your in-box. This week the Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng answered a Parliamentary Question about UK hydrogen production.

Contained in it was a little nugget about the potential the UK has for carbon capture and storage. He stated that the UK’s depleted oil and gas fields can store 78 billion tonnes of carbon. Let me put that into context. The UK’s total carbon emissions for 2018, based on Kyoto principles, stood at 451 million tonnes. So on that basis, the UK can store over 170 years’ worth of carbon, even if it didn’t decarbonise. But given the plans to achieve Net Zero, carbon capture has the capacity to store several hundred years’ worth of likely emissions.

This then opens the conversation to carbon capture and the logical inconsistency shown by some low carbon advocates. As a general rule, they hate so-called “blue hydrogen” which uses methane and carbon capture but they are happy to support gas-back up for intermittent renewables with carbon capture. If carbon is the enemy, to ignore carbon capture is a ridiculous position to adopt. Yes, there might be a debate about cost, efficiency of capture, best use of resources etc. but you simply can’t ignore its potential.

So both green and blue hydrogen should be production options. This greatly increases the supply possibilities even before the global market is considered. So we should be planning for a wholesale conversion to hydrogen from methane, across all sectors, and in new ones too. So industrial process heat, yes; heavy transport, absolutely but commercial and domestic space heating too. Hydrogen supply shouldn’t be a constraint, so why place artificial limits on the end use of the zero carbon gas? Setting direction now, assuring industry of the direction the UK is going in will allow UK businesses to not only plan for the future but to exploit international market opportunities too. Let’s capture the moment.

Best wishes

Mike Foster, CEO