The UK's hydrogen strategy is a welcome addition to developing the hydrogen economy, but significant policy gaps remain, Siemens Energy Head of Market Development Matthew Knight said Oct. 6 at the Dcarbonise Virtual Sustainability Summit.
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Knight said the renewable transport fuel obligation provided a good base for small-scale hydrogen uptake in the mobility sector, though the scope for scaling much above 1-MW projects was limited.
And the hydrogen business model that the UK government is consulting on is set to support larger-scale developments from 2023 onwards, particularly focused on fossil fuel-derived hydrogen with carbon capture and storage.
However, policy gaps remained around heavy transport and industrial uptake in the short term, and for medium-scale applications in the medium term.
"There's the urgent need to build something in the next couple of years to get the supply chain started," Knight said. "And potentially if the business model isn't suitable for smaller projects, we might have an ongoing need for something there."
Knight identified missing steps for revenue support at the 10-50 MW scale between now and 2023 for heavy transport such as buses and trucks, as well as for industrial applications.
He also said support was lacking for applications of this size after that date, when the hydrogen business model should address larger-scale applications of 100 MW and above.
The current lead time for a 20-MW electrolyzer order through to delivery and operation was around 18 months, though lead times for compressors could be up to two years, Knight said.
However, he added that these "can and will get faster," as the sector scales up, and the industry was likely to get to the point where off-the-shelf electrolyzers were available in the not-too-distant future.
The hydrogen economy of today is a "shadow of what the hydrogen industry will be in two years' time," he said.