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UK seeks industry feedback for low-carbon hydrogen standard

Highlights

Industry seeking certification scheme

Life-cycle questions around GHG emissions

The UK's Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is still answering key questions as it develops a low carbon hydrogen standard and how it would fund net-zero projects moving forward, the BEIS said Oct. 7 in a Q&A with industry stakeholders.

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The UK, which released its hydrogen strategy Aug. 17, supports both renewable 'green' production by electrolysis of water as well as fossil fuel-derived 'blue' production with carbon capture and storage.

"We really want to ensure that the standard reflects the UK's unique assets and allows multiple production approaches rather than just focusing on one," Tasnim Choudhury, senior policy adviser at BEIS, said.

The government launched a public consultation in early September, which included a call for industry to provide input for developing a standard for low-carbon hydrogen.

Industry stakeholders provided input at the 90-minute, virtual Q&A session, which included both written and verbal questions. BEIS has set Oct. 25 as the end of its consultation period.

"The primary objective of the standard is to ensure production is low carbon, and consistent with net-zero targets," Choudhury said.

Industry seeking certification scheme

"What would be much more valuable for the industry and customer would be some kind of relative performance standard – this is category A hydrogen, and this is category C hydrogen, said Matthew Knight, head of market development at Siemens Energy. "In the end, that would allow end customers to choose."

Choudhury said the purpose of developing the standards was largely around funding -- that would determine if projects funded by the government were "low carbon enough."

"We will take that on board to developing certification in the future," she said.

Consulting firm E4tech drew from five international case studies to provide context for development of a UK standard.

Carbon intensity will be a key aspect of the certification scheme, although determining where the "chain of custody" for GHG begins and ends remain unanswered questions.

"The standard could stop at the point of production, but that would risk missing downstream gas emissions," Richard Taylor, managing consultant for E4tech said.

The approach would be based on minimum purity and pressure and would be the safer and cheaper approach, Taylor said.

Alternatively, the UK could employ a "mass-balance approach" with no pressure or purity requirements, but would require more information throughout the supply chain, Taylor said. "That would have the benefit of covering all GHG emissions down the supply chain."

Questions included how to calculate greenhouse gas emissions along with setting standards for acceptable levels of GHGs produced in the hydrogen production process.

The standards could be developed into a certification scheme to underpin development of low carbon hydrogen production and support future international trade -- over time, that could be developed into a certification scheme, she said.

S&P Global Platts assessed the hydrogen production costs at a theoretical facility using Auto Thermal Reforming with CCS at GBP5.94/kg ($8.10/kg) on Oct. 6, and assessed hydrogen produced via PEM Electrolysis at GBP18.15/kg. Both prices were just off 2021 highs set Tuesday due to higher feedstock prices.