Hydrogen Sector Debate

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Hydrogen Sector

Lord Ravensdale Excerpts
Monday 30th November 2020

(2 months, 4 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber

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Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist Portrait Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist (Con)
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My noble friend speaks with great authority on this point. He is right that various modes of transport are already able to use hydrogen fuel cells to provide zero emissions at the tail-pipe. He will be aware of hydrogen pumps sited alongside petrol pumps at some service stations already. However, while hydrogen can also be combusted in internal combustion engines without greenhouse gas emissions, it does produce nitric oxide, so would not count as zero emission. My noble friend can be reassured that the Government’s intention is to phase out new petrol and diesel cars by 2030 and for all new cars and vans to be zero emission at the tail-pipe by 2035. Every effort is being made to support innovation and scale-up of low-carbon hydrogen across the value chain.

Lord Ravensdale Portrait Lord Ravensdale (CB)
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I draw the attention of noble Lords to my entry in the register. There remain significant technical risks with the use of hydrogen. For example, capture rates of carbon capture and storage technology used in the production of hydrogen could result in high residual carbon emissions. Therefore, does the Minister agree that mature, low-carbon heating technologies, for example heat networks and heat pumps, should be deployed at a rate commensurate with the 2050 target, in case hydrogen does not prove viable at scale?

Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist Portrait Baroness Bloomfield of Hinton Waldrist (Con)
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I do agree with the noble Lord. He is right that proving the safety case through rigorous testing and trials is critical to the success of any new technology or fuel source. That is why the 10-point plan sets out plans for a series of incremental trials, potentially leading up to a hydrogen village by the end of this decade. Alongside this, it also sets out plans to implement the future home standard in the shortest possible time, so that new buildings can have high levels of energy efficiency and low-carbon heating, including the aim for 600,000 heat pump installations per year by 2028. The truth is that we need all these technologies to be developed at scale.