Reject fossil hydrogen
Reject any role for fossil hydrogen in the energy system.
Scottish Government policy has become more focused on green hydrogen (from renewables) but the fossil fuel industry is still promoting blue hydrogen – that generated from fossil fuels. Blue hydrogen requires carbon capture and storage to be available, which will not be until the 2030s, if at all.
A 2022 report for FoE Scotland found:
- 98% of global hydrogen production is from fossil fuels
- because making hydrogen uses plenty of energy:
- electric heat pumps are 168-342% more efficient than hydrogen boilers
- hydrogen boilers may be 53–68% more expensive than electric heat pumps
- electric vehicles are more than twice as energy efficient as hydrogen fuel cell vehicles
A trial of (green) hydrogen for home heating and cooking in Fife is running a year late and participants had to be offered £1000 free cash before enough would sign up.124 Similar proposed trials in England are already controversial with residents.125
A review of recent studies concluded that hydrogen for heating homes was a non-starter on technical, cost and environmental grounds126 and the UK Energy Minister recently said he thought hydrogen was ‘unlikely to be the way forward’ for heating homes.127
The draft Scottish Energy Strategy128 acknowledges that hydrogen is unlikely to be used for home heating in Scotland. For other uses the Strategy focuses on green hydrogen production but leaves open the possibility of Blue hydrogen being created for use in industry or transport.
The failure of CCS to develop and the urgent need for a phase out of fossil fuels means that the Scottish Government must not support the development of hydrogen derived from fossil fuels.
The Scottish Government must prioritise electrification over hydrogen, particularly in heating and transport, and support the use of green hydrogen only in sectors where direct electrification is not possible. More generally, energy strategy needs to be in the context of circular economy principles and be led by demand reduction measures.
For further information:
- Hydrogen in Scotland’s climate journey, FoE Scotland, 2022, https://foe.scot/report-exposes-highcost- low-efficiency-of-hydrogen/
- Draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition Plan – Consultation Response, Unison Scotland, May 2023, https://unison-scotland.org/draft-energy-strategy-and-just-transition-plan-consultationresponse/
For instance, ‘Strong’ support from residents ‘critical’ to fate of controversial hydrogen village trial, Cheshire Live, March 2023, https:// www.cheshire-live.co.uk/news/chester-cheshire-news/strong-support-residents-critical-fate-26380292
Is heating homes with hydrogen all but a pipe dream? An evidence review, Jan Rosenow, 2022, http://www.janrosenow.com/ uploads/4/7/1/2/4712328/is_heating_homes_with_hydrogen_all_but_a_pipe_dream_final.pdf
Hydrogen heating in homes ‘unlikely to be the way forward’: UK energy minister, Hydrogen Insight, January 2023, https://www. hydrogeninsight.com/policy/hydrogen-heating-in-homes-unlikely-to-be-the-way-forward-uk-energy-minister/2-1-1467365
Draft Energy Strategy and Just Transition, Plan, Scottish Government, January 2023, https://www.gov.scot/publications/draft-energystrategy- transition-plan/documents/