According to a new report by the E3G group, hydrogen is more likely to be used in industrial processes and is increasingly unlikely to be used to heat homes, due to its high costs and inefficiency. Using hydrogen for heating could double heating bills. However, the UK government has proposed an additional charge on consumers' bills, despite growing concerns about the record bills faced by domestic consumers. Experts have criticised the move as, they said, hydrogen looks increasingly unlikely to play a role in the UK's net zero heating mix.
According to a new report by the E3G think tank, hydrogen is more likely to be used in industrial processes, and the company said domestic consumers should not have to pay for a technology with no direct benefits.
Hydrogen has been proposed as an alternative energy source for a wide range of activities that currently rely on fossil fuels. But the vast majority of hydrogen produced today is made from fossil gas, which means it contributes to climate change. The government wants producers to increase production of both "blue hydrogen" (which would include new carbon capture technology to mitigate harmful emissions) and "green hydrogen" (which is made by using electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, and produces no emissions).
The report concluded that while green hydrogen is a potentially promising option for decarbonising certain industrial processes, such as high-temperature manufacturing and chemical production, the weight of independent evidence shows that hydrogen will be too expensive and inefficient to produce on the scale needed to heat homes. Using hydrogen for heating would likely double heating bills.
They therefore considered that the government's proposal to subsidise commercial hydrogen production for domestic consumers "does not make much sense". E3G has therefore urged ministers to reconsider the levy and MPs to vote against the proposals when the Energy Bill reaches the Commons from the House of Lords later this month.
Juliet Philips, Senior Policy Adviser at A3G, said: “It is a total rip-off for households to be charged a hydrogen levy when the case for hydrogen for heating has fallen apart. Worryingly, the key beneficiaries of this levy would be the fossil fuel industry. The levy must be scrapped”.
James Dyson, Senior Researcher at E3G, said: “When energy bills are at an all-time high, there is no room to impose a regressive levy on consumers to fund commercial hydrogen production”. “If the government wants to help create a hydrogen economy, it must find a fairer way to pay for it”, he concluded.
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