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Hydrogen adoption to accelerate after the UK Government publishes plan to decarbonise the transportation sector

Hydrogen adoption to accelerate after the UK Government publishes plan to decarbonise the transportation sector

The UK Government has published the world’s first “greenprint” that will look to decarbonise all modes of domestic transport in the UK – this could see further adoption of hydrogen in mobility.

Revealed today (July 14) by Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, the greenprint focuses on decarbonisation of the transportation sector to provide cleaner, quieter cities and communities for better quality of life.

This will also help to decarbonise industrial operations and logistics by providing a platform to begin the transition to clean mobility.

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The plan includes consulting on the world-leading pledge to end the sale of all new, polluting road vehicles by 2040 and net zero aviation emissions by 2050.

Both of these sectors are crucial to decarbonise however cannot be achieved by just electric solutions – for this hydrogen can be adopted to complement electric mobility and aviation to achieve net zero ambitions.

The greenprint also includes smart electric vehicle charging that could reduce energy bills, and a commitment to electrifying the entire fleet of government cars and vans by 2027.

The transportation decarbonisation plan also plans to improve public transport by providing cleaner mobility and, with hydrogen buses becoming more prevalent in cities around Europe and the UK, it is expected that this will be supported.

Shapps said, “Transport is not just how you get around. It is something that fundamentally shapes our towns, cities and countryside, our living standards and our health. It can shape all those things for good or for bad.

“Decarbonisation is not just some technocratic process. It’s about how we make sure that transport shapes quality of life and the economy in ways that are good.

“It’s not about stopping people doing things: it’s about doing the same things differently. We will still fly on holiday, but in more efficient aircraft, using sustainable fuel.

“We will still drive, but increasingly in zero emission cars.

“The Transport decarbonisation plan is just the start – we will need continued efforts and collaboration to deliver its ambitious commitments, which will ultimately create sustainable economic growth through healthier communities as we build back greener.”

Aviation will also play a key role in the decarbonisation plan with aviation seen as a having a vital role in tackling climate change.

For this, the government is launching the Jet Zero consultation that commits the sector to a net zero emissions target by 2050 and again could see the introduction of hydrogen to power zero-emission aircraft.

Emma Gilthorpe, COO of Heathrow and CEO of Jet Zero Council, said, “I welcome the leadership from government in committing to a target of net zero emissions from aviation by 2050 and recognising that the aviation industry is committed to delivering on this, too.

“We look forward to working with government to translate this ambition to action and deliver a future where people can continue to enjoy the benefits of air travel – without worrying about their impact on the environment.”

Speaking on the new decarbonisation plans, Adam Bond, CEO of AFC Energy, said, “AFC Energy strongly welcomes the Government’s plans to decarbonise domestic travel by 2050 but a far more detailed road map is needed on how the UK’s power grid infrastructure, particularly those local grids already under significant strain, will deliver the extra electricity required without any future reliance on fossil fuels as its primary power source.

“Without this detail, the UK runs the risk of not getting close to meeting its ambitious targets.”

Randolph Brazier, Director of Innovation at Energy Networks Association at Energy Networks Association, said, “As part of the Green Recovery the electricity networks are accelerating £300m ($415m) of expenditure in the next few years to speed up the roll out of projects like electric vehicle charging points.

“There’s also a much bigger role to play for hydrogen in enabling cleaner heavy transportation on our roads, rail, seas and skies in the future.

“Investment is what’s needed – but we can’t wait to make that investment ‘just in time’, we need to be making bold decisions and start laying the groundwork now.”

Celia Greaves, CEO of the UK Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, said,“The publication of the Government’s Transport decarbonisation plan is welcome, and we are pleased overall to see the Government’s high level of ambition when it comes to decarbonising the UK’s transport network.

“The UK Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association looks forward to the release of the Government’s Hydrogen Strategy and further details on actions and timescales to ensure that hydrogen can realise its potential in decarbonising transport.”

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