The government has set legally binding targets to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions. The five-yearly carbon budgets should ultimately lead to an 80% reduction in carbon emissions by 2050, compared to 1990 levels. Perhaps more pressing than this is the amendment to the Climate Change Act which commits the UK to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. According to the Committee on Climate Change, however, we are not on track to meet the 4th or even the final carbon budgets, the targets set for 2023 to 2027, and 2027 to 2032 respectively.
We have come a long way in decarbonising electricity, but lowering the emissions of carbon-intensive industrial processes and heavy transport is more challenging. This is where renewable hydrogen can help.
Traditionally, producing hydrogen is associated with high carbon emissions, but by using electrolysis powered by renewable energy, the process is carbon-free.
In the same way the cost of generating wind power has dropped by more than 60% since 2012, renewable hydrogen could follow the same experience curve. With the right investment and continued research, it can become, low-cost and widely-available, and a realistic part of the green energy system.