Hydrogen

Warwick District Council’s plans for hydrogen

Warwick District Council would like to play a leading role in both bringing hydrogen production to the district and promoting hydrogen use within the district.

As set out in the Climate Change Action Programme, the ambition for a Hydrogen Hub in the District warranted the commissioning of an initial feasibility study and strategic outline case.

The feasibility study has since been completed and sets out that the development of a Hydrogen Hub producing green hydrogen is indeed feasible and could offer significant benefits to the district, not only in terms of decarbonisation (a key priority within the Climate Change Action Programme), but also commercial benefits.

At its meeting on 6 July 2022, the Cabinet agreed that a specialist commercial partnership adviser should be appointed to support the Council in identifying a development partner to take forward the proposed hydrogen hub.

Since then, progress has been made to appoint an adviser and work is now getting underway to define the options for identifying a partner and to research the technical requirements and issues involved in developing a hydrogen hub.

As agreed in July, a further report will be brought to Cabinet in due course once preferred development partners are identified and the technical and financial issues have been addressed.

  • Cabinet report - includes greater detail on the hydrogen hub proposal

What is hydrogen?

Hydrogen is a versatile gas which can be used in a variety of applications. It is being widely promoted as one of the key fuels to support the energy transition and the journey to net zero.

Hydrogen can also be considered a form of energy storage. Whilst being the most plentiful element in the known universe, on Earth it is nearly always found in chemical compounds with other elements, in particular in water but also in fats, sugars, petrochemicals, acids, alkalis and many minerals.

How can hydrogen be used?

Transportation

To fuel vehicles such as:

  • Long distance heavy haulage (HGVs)
  • Refuse collection vehicles (RCVs)
  • Buses & Coaches
  • Forklifts
  • Trains
  • Shipping/aviation
  • Emergency services vehicles
  • Light goods vehicles
  • Private vehicles

Power and heat generation

  • Combined heat and power
  • Emergency generation
  • Natural gas replacement in homes / boilers

Energy storage

  • Inter-seasonal storage as pressurised gas
  • Within chemical hydrogen carriers such as ammonia

Chemical feedstock

  • Fertilisers
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Plastic Manufacturing

Industry

  • Iron and steel smelting
  • Process heat – cement, metal smelting and forging, glass and ceramics production

Whilst hydrogen has a range of potential uses, it has the potential for immediate use with the transport sector. Hydrogen demand for heavy transport such as buses, Refuse Collection Vehicles (RCVs), Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and other public service vehicles is growing.

There are different types of hydrogen, depending on the method of production (blue, grey, green and more). Warwick District Council currently has ambitions involving green hydrogen. Hydrogen can only be considered ‘green’ or zero carbon if all of the power utilised to drive the electrolysis process is renewable.

So, any development of a green hydrogen facility needs to be considered in the context of the available or deliverable renewable generation. This would likely need to be supplied through a mix of grid delivered power purchase agreements (often known as sleeved contracts, which link remote renewables to demand) and locally generated electricity delivered through the grid or directly connected renewable generation.