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Highlighting the role of hydrogen in decarbonising the UK this party conference season

Credit: Adobe


4 min read Partner content

The UK has a target to be net zero by 2050. That means reducing harmful CO2 emissions by 100%. Those emissions come from burning fossil fuels like coal, diesel and fossil gas – to power our industries, run our cars and lorries and heat our homes and businesses. We have to find new ways – greener ways – to do these things.

Cadent - Your gas network

Cadent brings gas to 11 million homes and businesses throughout the North West, West Midlands, East Midlands, South Yorkshire, East of England and North London. We're committed to keeping you safe and warm.

Over one third of CO2 emissions come from heating our homes and offices so decarbonising heat is a major issue for the UK to address. We are working on ways to achieve this and believe that the best way to keep customers warm whilst enjoying the flexibility of gas with minimum disruption, is to use the existing network to deliver greener gases like biomethane and hydrogen. They work just as well as fossil gas but without the CO2 emissions, in fact hydrogen produces zero emissions.

We fully support renewable electricity from wind and solar to meet lots of the country’s energy needs but it is now well understood that if we are to reach 100% carbon reduction, hydrogen will be essential to heat our homes, fuel heavy transport and power industries.

A guide to hydrogen energy

For those who remember school science lessons, you’ll know hydrogen as the first element on the periodic table. Hydrogen itself is never found on its own, rather as part of more complex molecules, like water.

The great thing about hydrogen is that when it’s burned, it only produces water so there are no carbon gases released when hydrogen is used. And it can be used for heat, power and even fuel for large vehicles like HGVs. Hydrogen holds a lot of energy so it’s great for transporting large amounts of energy to where it’s needed.

But hydrogen isn’t found naturally on its own, it has to be made either through electrolysis or through reforming methane. Both methods can be used in a way that keeps carbon emissions to a minimum.

With much of the UK looking to switch to greener, sustainable energy in the future, we’ve put together some important information to answer your hydrogen questions and explain how we’re playing our part to achieve the UK government's ambition of net zero by 2050.

The many uses of hydrogen: what is hydrogen used for?

When it comes to energy, hydrogen is one of the cleanest forms you can find; when it's burned or used in a fuel cell for a vehicle, the only by-product is water. This means that increased use of hydrogen as a fuel will mean cutting down on carbon emissions produced from conventionally used fossil fuels such as gas and coal. In fact, using a hydrogen fuel cell in an electric vehicle is two to three times more efficient than using a combustion engine.

Why hydrogen energy for the UK?

In 2019, the UK emitted 351.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from the use of fossil fuels, accounting for 81% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions.

It's widely accepted now that this needs to stop and soon. The way we heat our homes, run our vehicles and power our industries have all contributed to climate change. We're looking for solutions that balance environmental targets with customer needs.

In order to supply the increasing energy demands of the UK, we will need a combination of approaches. Renewable electricity from wind and solar can do a lot. But to reach 100% net zero we will certainly need hydrogen as well, alongside better insulated homes and smarter use of energy. We aim to see electricity and green gas working together in partnership.

Cadent at Labour Party Conference 2022

In order to develop this discussion, Cadent will be sponsoring events at this year’s Labour party conference discussing this topic with key stakeholders:

Bright Blue fringe event: 'Green gas? Making the hydrogen economy a reality'
12pm, Monday 26th September
Meeting Room 9, Jury’s Inn Liverpool, No. 31 Keel Wharf, Liverpool L3 4FN (Inside the secure zone)

New Statesman fringe event: ‘Future heat for everybody: What is the role of hydrogen in decarbonising our energy system?’
10am, Tuesday 27th September
ACC Liverpool, Hall 2, Room 1

We’d be delighted for you to join us.

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