Scotland Opportunities for Blue Hydrogen with CO2 management

The Centre for Energy Policy at University of Strathclyde has just published a position paper  on The economic opportunity for a large scale CO2 management industry in Scotland by Karen Turner, Julia Race and Graeme Sweeney. This work, commissioned and funded by Scottish Enterprise, highlights the need to extend the ‘CCUS’ debate from its current focus in technology and cost reduction, to consider instead the value that may be unlocked, sustained and created across the economy.

This paper identifies some of Scotland’s opportunities to rapidly develop of a world leading large scale CO2 management industry. It shows the use of low carbon green and blue hydrogen production at scale to support the development of net-zero industry clusters in Scotland. Key findings which are relevant for the development of hydrogen and related low carbon energy infrastructure include:

-          Scotland offers the best UK location to start production of low or even zero carbon gas, and involves the production of hydrogen.

-          Scotland has significant potential to scale up Green Hydrogen produced from renewables, and Blue Hydrogen from SMR with CCS.

-          Scotland has the potential to repurpose our existing pipeline infrastructure to transport hydrogen.

-          The key long term driver of a CO2 management industry involving CCUS in Scotland and the wider UK is likely to be the need to decarbonise ‘hard to treat’ industrial and domestic heat with the continued use of our gas infrastructure.

-          Scottish industry needs access to cost effective low carbon hydrogen to decarbonise. This will avoid off-shoring our CO2 emissions, jobs and GDP.

-          The industrial opportunities must also fully exploit our offshore wind resources through clean full-scale production, transport, storage and use of low or even zero carbon gas in the form of hydrogen.

-          There is also significant potential use of low-carbon hydrogen as a co-feedstock and energy source with advanced bio-conversion pathways to products that deliver added value to the economy. These might involve bacterial, yeasts, or enzymatic conversions.

Initial estimates reported in the paper suggest that by 2030 anywhere between 7,000 and 45,000 UK jobs could ultimately be associated with Scotland securing 40% of the carbon storage element of a European CO2 management market. By 2050 this could rise to between 22,000 and 105,000 jobs, and more as the industry extends to low carbon fuel supply. This new capacity to enable and service zero carbon manufacturing and industry is also fully consistent with  ambitions to deliver Scotland’s Just Transition to a zero carbon economy.