A “pioneering” strategy has been launched in an effort to “crystallise and champion” the key role the Midlands can play in realising low carbon hydrogen ambitions and growth.
Launched on 14 December, the Midlands Engine Hydrogen Technologies Strategy sets out the “exceptional scope” for hydrogen technologies in the Midlands, such as advanced materials supply and the engineering of products for conversion of hydrogen into electrical or mechanical power and heat, and hydrogen supply, distribution and storage equipment, including electrolysers and chemical processes for hydrogen production; compressors, pipework, valves and control systems for gas handling; and materials and vessels for storage.
However, to maximise these strengths, action is needed, particularly when it comes to developing, demonstrating and commercialising hydrogen technologies; leveraging opportunities to plan for the strategic development of hydrogen assets at key sites across the region; and identifying and leveraging opportunities for innovation and industrialisation support to help the market for hydrogen technologies to develop and scale faster.
It maps out a vision of a Midlands Engine Hydrogen Technologies Valley, which is an ecosystem linking hydrogen production with end users, based on industrialising hydrogen technologies at scale. It said that partners are moving “rapidly” to act on opportunities, with key outcomes already being accelerated including Midlands Engine partners leading the H2GVMids consortium, which is preparing the ground for a green hydrogen fuelled 44-tonne truck demonstration programme in the region.
Overall, the strategy sets out 10 main actions that, according to independent analysis, have the potential to deliver 167,000 new or safeguarded jobs; £10bn GVA to the Midlands and UK economy; and a 29% reduction in CO2 against current levels in the next 10 years.
These actions include working with government to advance the aims and actions in the UK Hydrogen Strategy; establishing a Midlands Engine Hydrogen Network; completing and publishing in-depth, interactive mapping of the region’s hydrogen technologies capabilities to support promotion of a Midlands strategic investment portfolio; and enabling analysis and underpinning research to map then foster regional supply chains for technologies and services, to facilitate opportunities in the growth areas of hydrogen production, storage and supply assets as a driver of high-value, high-skilled jobs and economic growth.
Further actions involve actively drawing together and sharing learnings from industrial decarbonisation, heat and power exemplar projects; working actively to advance the application and subsequent scale up of hydrogen technologies to decarbonise power and heat supply in energy-intensive industrial clusters, commercial and domestic buildings; working with partners to bring forward proposals and share knowledge gathered through research and feasibility studies to accelerate exemplar projects for hydrogen and fuel cell mobility technologies; and taking forward research to identify and highlight supply chain, job creation and economic growth opportunities that leverage the Midlands’ vast hydrogen technologies and advanced engineering capabilities. It is also planning to monitor, evaluate and report on the impact of the strategy.