UK Launches New Think Tank to Explore Nuclear-Powered Hydrogen Production

The UK Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (UK HFCA) has launched a new think tank to explore the potential of nuclear-powered hydrogen production (both electrical and thermal).

Heysham Nuclear power station, UK. Credit: Rwendland, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

The UK Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (UK HFCA) has launched a new think tank to explore the potential use of nuclear energy (both electrical and thermal) in producing zero-carbon hydrogen. Called the Nuclear Enabled Hydrogen Working Group (NEHWG), the think tank will include members from academia, experts from the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), and professionals from the law firm Burges Salmon and oil and gas services company, Petrofac.

Celia Greaves, chief executive of the UK HFCA, said: “Hydrogen is too important a part of the UK’s journey to net-zero for us to let up. The UK HFCA will continue to do all it can, leading coordination with relevant groups to ensure the government receives consistent, practical and expert advice.”

Allan Simpson, technical lead at the NNL and chair of the think tank, said: “We will look at evidence-based advice to widen the understanding of the role of nuclear hydrogen across the energy system, including in buildings, transport and industry, as well as specific ways to remove barriers, support net-zero objectives and accelerate use.”

Last year, the NNL worked with DNV to explore the potential of nuclear energy to support the conversion of UK gas networks to hydrogen.

UK HFCA said the Nuclear Derived Hydrogen to Gas Networks collaboration is set to provide deeper evidence to support key upcoming government policy decisions on the role of hydrogen in buildings and for heating and will be fed into the work of the working group going forward.

Simpson added: “Converting national and regional natural gas networks to hydrogen could be a powerful decarbonization solution, by distributing the hydrogen to millions of individual users across the country, where it can be converted to power and heat without releasing carbon dioxide. To successfully achieve this transition, large quantities of hydrogen would be needed, and the ability of nuclear to drive production at gigawatt scale could be of great value.”

Learn more about hydrogen distribution from our Experts at 2nd Hydrogen Transportation & Distribution 2022

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