The government has explained its rationale for a call for evidence into enabling, or requiring, hydrogen-ready industrial boiler equipment.
At a webinar, held ahead of the deadline for responses on 14 March, it detailed how come 2030, industry is set to be the largest source of hydrogen demand. A range of 10-21TWh is anticipated, depending on whether hydrogen supply is limited to industrial clusters or not. This demand is set to prove vital for early development of the hydrogen economy.
The focus on industrial boilers specifically is because they could driven around 40-50% of this expected hydrogen demand from industry, with demand growing further if hydrogen becomes available nationwide. Under a cluster scenario, a switch to hydrogen for these boilers could abate 1.3MtCO2 per year, rising to 7.3MtCO2 in a national scenario. This would equate to 10% of industrial emissions in 2019.
Boilers are also more standardised than other technologies. This makes them easier to target interventions, while considering hydrogen boiler technology is relatively advanced, it means they could be deployed at scale soon.
In terms of why “hydrogen-ready” is important, it set out how although hydrogen-ready equipment will likely involve higher upfront costs than conventional equipment, it will reduce costs for a conversion to hydrogen, increase the speed of converting to hydrogen, pull forward demand and increase cumulative carbon savings. There is a risk sites pay higher upfront costs and then do not fuel switch to hydrogen, however, it conceded.
It also highlighted some of the potential interventions the government could take, such as informing the market about the future cost and availability of hydrogen and comparable information for other ways to decarbonise; funding some, or all, of the premium for hydrogen-ready equipment, de-risking investment in higher upfront costs; defining what constitutes a hydrogen-ready boiler and encouraging voluntary deployment; and requiring new industrial boiler equipment to be hydrogen-ready, subject to potential exemptions.
Responses to the call for evidence are invited until 23:45 on 14 March and can be sent either through the government website or by e-mailing email@example.com.