Hydrogen Wouldn’t be Economical for Island

A report into renewable energy solutions for the island has ruled out hydrogen being used as a replacement fuel as it would be too expensive.

The Germserv report was authorised by the gov to look at a wide range of options and pitfalls of potential solutions for the island’s energy needs.

In its analysis, Gemserv modelled various methods of producing, importing, storing, and distributing hydrogen as a heating fuel and came to the conclusion that it would be an ‘expensive decarbonisation solution for the Isle of Man’.

Decarbonise

The report says that Hydrogen is a fuel ‘with the potential to decarbonise a broad range of sectors’ and that the Climate Change Committee estimate that in 2050 there could be between 161 and 238 TWh of low carbon hydrogen used in the UK.

However, while it is being heralded as a decarbonising solution, Gemserv added that it ‘will not always be the most cost-effective option and proving both technical and financial feasibility, as well as the safety case, will be the priority for countries targeting hydrogen as a decarbonisation solution’.

While it is similar to the gas we use now, it does have key difference, notably that it has extremely low density, so it leaks more easily, equally this does mean it dissipates easier in open air. It also has a much larger flammable range which could cause issues with domestic safety.

So What Does it Mean for Us?

One inevitable problem for the island, which we will find in a variety of areas, not only in energy supply, is economies of scale. We’re a small island with a population of about 85,500. To produce our own hydrogen would not only involve a high construction cost, but the hydrogen gas itself would also likely be more expensive.

Gemserv said that ‘hydrogen is likely to be an expensive option for heating on the Isle of Man’. It added: ‘The cheapest hydrogen option is found to be pipeline hydrogen from the UK due to avoiding the need for both on island storage and CCS. However, this createsseveral risks including the interconnector being unsuitable for hydrogen and the UK not producing sufficient volumes for export in the medium term. This analysis estimates costs of this form of hydrogen to be over 12p/kWh, this would need to be halved for this to be a cost-effective heat decarbonisation option for any properties on the Isle of Man.’

However, the report does also say that if there is a breakthrough in technology to make this all cheaper, then the island should revisit it.

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