Bill Gates details importance of using hydrogen

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Britain is reportedly risking the chance of freeing itself from the clutches of Vladimir Putin and his control over the gas market by not rolling out hydrogen quickly enough, Express.co.uk has been told. The UK’s 10-Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, first unveiled by former Prime Minister Boris Johnson, had an ambitious target to ramp up the UK’s hydrogen capacity, a low-carbon alternative to gas which in its cleanest form is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using renewable electricity. Mike Foster, CEO of the trade body Energy and Utilities Alliance, has now spoken over his frustration of the plan’s pace and urges the government to “get a move on.”

Some experts say an alternative could prove vital at scuppering the UK’s staggering reliance on gas, which comes at a time when Putin’s grip on the global gas market has seen bills skyrocket across Europe due to supply squeezes and the war in Ukraine.

Mr Foster says that hydrogen could be blended into the gas grid, allowing the energy source to heat homes without households having to make a single switch. This, he says, could eventually help to power five millions homes with clean energy that is locally sourced, not expensively imported from abroard like we are currently seeing.

But the energy boss has unleashed fury at the Government and accused it of being too sloiw to do anything about this. He exclusively told Express.co.uk: “The Government published a ten point energy plan containing a really positive vision of how the UK was going to move towards achieving net zero. All the Government has to do is deliver on those ten points.

“But it seems incapable at the moment of keeping to the timetable that it outlines. For example, they said that from 2023, we would be able to start blending hydrogen into the gas network.

 

“All of the testing has been successfully completed and a blend of 20 percent hydrogen could go into the gas network tomorrow if the Government gives the green light, which is what this needs.

“Moving to a 20 percent hydrogen mix is the equivalent of getting five million homes off gas. This is a huge amount of carbon saved as a result – 10 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

“That could be done tomorrow, and the Government promised that this would be delivered by 2023. We are around eight weeks away from 2023 and yet we still haven’t seen a sight of that policy – which would be a world first and a chance for the UK to lead the world.”

While Mr Foster is urging the Government to get a move on, there is some progress already being made. 

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For instance, as Mr Foster noted, the UK is set to trial using existing gas infrastructure with hydrogen to see whether it is possible to transform this infrastructure into renewable energy projects, instead of constructing entirely new networks of plants and pipelines.

London-listed Centrica has a plan to inject hydrogen into a gas-fired, grid-connected power station to blend the energy source into existing infrastructure.

The trial will last 12 months in a gas-peaking facility in Lincolnshire, with the 49-megawatt facility having been “designed to meet demand during peak times or when generation from renewables is low, typically operating for less than three hours a day. Mixing hydrogen in with natural gas reduces the overall carbon intensity.”

While this is something Mr Foster has been pressing for, he said that while the intention is there, he is frustrated with the actual delivery of certain projects.

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He said: “The Government just seems incapable of meeting deadlines. That can only be because buearcracy in Whitehall is holding things up. Ministers make it quite clear what the timetables are.

“Red tape is stopping us exporting British technology, it is stopping us investing in British-made projects that are going to be essential for the low-carbon future, and it stops us being held hostage by Putin.

“We have great British businesses ready to power forward with a hydrogen future; we have great British trade unions fully backing them; a united British industrial sector poised to be world leaders and a British bureaucracy determined to stop it.”

Express.co.uk has contacted the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy for comment. 

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