Energy crisis: UK thrown ‘fundamental’ lifeline with first ‘hydrogen village’ by 2025

Video shows electrolysis of water into oxygen and hydrogen

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As energy bills continue to skyrocket along with soaring global gas prices, the UK is scrambling to find alternative energy sources to power homes and the economy.
Hydrogen, which has been pinpointed as one of these alternatives, is produced by using electricity from renewable power to split water into hydrogen and oxygen molecules. Up to 2,000 properties in Cheshire could heat their homes using this process in the country’s first “hydrogen village”.

Ellesmere Port in Cheshire is one of two shortlisted locations hoping to see the first hydrogen project of this scale welcomed to its town.

If it is picked, every property in the selected area within Whitby will have new hydrogen-ready boilers installed for free.

This would mean these households would be able to stop using natural gas for heating and cooking, shielding them from surging energy costs.

Another area in the north-east of England has also been shortlisted.

Around 2,000 homes and business in Redcar would use hydrogen produced in Teesside to help the town generating its own hydrogen locally from renewable sources.

The proposal was put forward by gas distribution network Cadent and British Gas.

Approval for the projects is set to be given in 2023 and should come online in 2025 as part of a two-year trial.
Science Minister George Freeman tweeted: “Hydrogen is a fundamental part of our clean energy revolution and a key future fuel. “

And he said in Westminster Hall during a debate on the potential for the hydrogen villages: “We do want to make sure that these trials lay the foundation for wider nationwide roll-out.

“The aim isn’t to have one or two world-class trials, that aim is to prove what it is need have to do to roll-out hydrogen at industrial scale across this country as part of our net zero targets.”

He added: “This is an exciting time not just for the UK hydrogen economy but for those communities that are in the vanguard and we are very keen to make sure that that public support continues to grow.”

The plan to create a hydrogen village was first floated in Boris Johnson’s £12billion “Ten Point Plan for net-zero transition”.

While hydrogen could eventually replace natural gas in many uses, the process as it exists now is not efficient and is expensive, making it difficult to scale to mass production.

But the Government has earmarked huge funds to help hydrogen projects up and down the country achieve their aims.

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Last week, it announced a £60million competition to support innovation in the supply of hydrogen, helping to make the new super-fuel more viable.

The HySupply 2 competition looks to position Britain as global leader in this emerging industry, boosting long-term growth and helping produce more clean, affordable, homegrown energy.

The Government has already awarded funding to 28 projects across the UK, including Scotland, Wales and the north of England, which they believe will accelerate an industry expected to create around 12,000 jobs.

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