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Hydrogen Energy Development

Decarbonising Northern Ireland’s Economy and the role of Power to X in hydrogen energy

Project Description

Given the focus on climate change and carbon emissions, finding clean, secure and affordable alternatives to fossil fuels has become increasingly important.

There are both challenges and opportunities in developing renewable energy alternatives to reduce our carbon intensity and contribute to the UK’s target and legislation for net zero carbon by 2050.

Northern Ireland has to move on several decarbonising fronts simultaneously: power (electricity grid), transport (land, sea and air), heat (homes and businesses) and land use (farming practices and land stewardship).

In conditions were the use of fossil fuels are to be restricted and replaced by zero carbon / renewable primary energy sources the benefits of the Power to X model start to become evident.  In this model ‘X’ can be gas (usually hydrogen produced by the electrolysis of water) or heat or other energy storage such as compressed air. Hydrogen is one of the most abundant elements in the universe, is clean burning (so releases no carbon emissions) and can be made by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen in an electrolyser.

Work is on-going with NI Water to develop Power to X schemes using their grid connectively at their treatment works and in them being a ready off-taker for oxygen in their critical treatment processes. Electrolysis of water results in 8 times more (by mass) oxygen being produced than hydrogen.  The first scheme that NI Water is developing is centred on Belfast and could pave the way for Northern Ireland’s hydrogen economy.

Project Status

Technical studies and strategic business case preparation are underway.

SIB Involvement

SIB is providing advice on technology options, co-ordination of synergies across sectors, supply chain issues and funding opportunities. SIB is also helping broker discussions within public sector bodies and private sector stakeholders.

For further information contact:

John Green

E: john.green@sibni.org

Belfast City Scene