Report for BEIS predicts fugitive hydrogen emissions

A Frazer-Nash report for the government predicts how much hydrogen in a future energy system could leak into the atmosphere by 2050.

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The report, published on the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) website, identifies and quantifies the various mechanisms for fugitive hydrogen emissions, where hydrogen can be released into the atmosphere through accidental leaks (such as from connections, pipes, or storage), plus intentional venting and vent.

According to the report, there is mounting evidence that hydrogen is an indirect greenhouse gas that inhibits the breakdown of methane in the atmosphere. Understanding potential fugitive hydrogen emissions will aid BEIS policy development regarding future hydrogen energy systems.

In a statement, Frazer-Nash’s Stephen Livermore, who led the study, said: “As the report notes, hydrogen is likely to play an important role in decarbonising the UK’s future energy system. By understanding where and how much hydrogen can be emitted, the government can explore technologies to reduce these emissions and consider their potential implications related to the Net Zero 2050 decarbonization targets.

“We based our illustrative framework for volatile hydrogen emissions on National Grid’s Future Energy Scenario, ‘System Transformation’† This scenario outlines an ambitious deployment of hydrogen in a future energy system, which requires significant infrastructure for hydrogen transport and storage.

“Our analysis explored hydrogen production, both electrolytic and carbon capture use and storage (CCUS) enabled; transport and storage, via pipelines and trailering by road; and end users, including industry, fuel cells, hydrogen refueling stations, gas turbines and heating.”

The report makes recommendations for further activities that could inform hydrogen emission forecasts, including better quantifying emissions from the process industry and identifying technologies to reduce hydrogen emissions from electrolysers and fuel cells by recombining in water.

A BEIS spokesperson said: “The government is looking to explore all aspects of the implications of the hydrogen economy on the Net Zero 2050 target and this work provides valuable insights into where gas, which could affect the atmosphere, could be leaking out of production. , transport and use of hydrogen.”

Abhishek Maheswari
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