Research report: Environmental impacts of the large-scale deployment of hydrogen

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  • Published: August 2023
  • REF/ISBN: 9781787253841
  • Edition: 1st
  • Status: Current

The United Kingdom has shown global leadership on climate action, being the first major economy to set a commitment to achieve net zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050. To achieve this commitment, the whole UK economy should be on a net zero pathway. Hydrogen has been identified as a low-carbon solution that could play a significant role in the decarbonisation of the UK’s future energy system.

The literature review assesses the environmental impacts of the large-scale deployment of hydrogen and encompasses the hydrogen value chain including production, distribution, storage, and utilisation, through assessing several energy system functions based on published and freely available research to date. The aim of the literature review was to:

  1. Establish and review the research that has been carried out previously on the life cycle environmental impacts of large-scale hydrogen deployment;
  2. Review literature sources to assess the environmental impacts of each energy system function using ISO 14001’s environmental impact categorisation, and
  3. Evaluate current research to identify key gaps which will require further development in future.

The gaps identified by the literature review provided the basis for follow-on work planned within Phases 2-4 of the programme. The next phases include:

  • Phase 2: Conduct a theoretical life cycle assessment of the gaps followed by engagement with relevant stakeholders and academic institutions to define a detailed scope for in-situ testing and laboratory testing;
  • Phase 3: Conduct in-situ testing and laboratory testing, and
  • Phase 4: Delivery of an independent report on the environmental impacts of the large-scale deployment of hydrogen across the value chain for various lifecycle scenarios.

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