Hydrogen, the new green fuel
Hydrogen is versatile, plentiful, and an increasingly key piece of the net-zero equation. From energy storage to stabilise renewable energy supplies through home heating to powering the future transport systems, hydrogen is a perfect non-polluting fuel since it burns to give only water- no CO2. However, no two ‘colours’ of hydrogen are alike, with green, blue, grey, and black hydrogen arising from different sources and producing other effects on the environment. The RSE’s panel of experts will take your questions on hydrogen in all its forms and aim to provide a more realistic view of hydrogen and how we might produce and use it.
Please note transcripts are automatically generated, so may feature errors.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 0:00
Good afternoon. My name is Melfort Campbell, it’s my pleasure to be chairing the event this afternoon. Welcome to the RSEs holistic view of hydrogen is how I was looking to put it, the green fuel. And hopefully we’ll get lots of questions and have them answered. The Royal Society of Edinburgh it is Scotland’s National Academy, it’s there for the advancement of knowledge and enabling learning, and particular mission is ‘making knowledge useful’, and obviously, for the benefit of society. So thank you for joining us today. And the format is really to stimulate questions we want to hear from you. So please use the q&a system on these to fire up your questions and get them in there as early as you can. If you do want to come in, please raise your hand and I will try and get to you. Today we’ve got four short presentations. Hannah and the team will make sure that I do bring you in if if, if I don’t see you please make sure you have your hand up. And it’s marked as such as being up on the participants. So hydrogen, it’s so obviously a perfect source of energy. If it was easy, we’d be doing it already is certainly what has occurred to me. And in my role, I currently co chair the Scottish Government energy transition steering group. And so I am learning all the time on what hydrogen means to us what it could mean to us. And particularly why are we not using hydrogen more widely already? It’s not easy to produce, though plentiful, it can be dangerous. And history tells us that there’s storage, transport, distribution, but the key is production. How should we produce it? And how we how can we then best use it. So without any more to do, I’d like to get on and go to our first speaker. I will be short on introductions because the bios are all in papers and flyers. And so our first speaker today, thank you very much, Veronica Noone, of Scottish Enterprise, giving us a view of where we’ve got to with hydrogen in Scotland, Veronica.
Veronica Noone 2:51
Thank you Melfort . And good afternoon, everybody. I’m going to briefly talk about how hydrogen and how it’s made, and then going to talk at very high level about why hydrogen is important in Scotland, and why it’s such an important economic development opportunity, with Scottish Enterprise taking it very seriously. I’m also going to try and provide a brief overview of what’s happening to support the sector on the ground, and hopefully illustrate that with one or two projects, but it is going to be quite high level. So what is hydrogen? And here you have a bit of background information first elements in the periodic table. What I would say is that hydrogen exists in abundance in the sun, but it’s hardly present at all in our atmosphere. So it has to be made from the molecule that contains it, such as water and organic compounds. How do you produce it? Well, there’s various different ways and there’s all different kinds of colours. I’m only going to talk about blue and green hydrogen because they’re the ones that the Scottish government is supporting. Steam methane reforming is the way we make blue hydrogen. It’s a method of producing hydrogen from natural gas, which is mostly methane and is currently the cheapest source of industrial hydrogen. And green hydrogen is made from through electrolysis consisting of using electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Scotland has the potential to produce industrial scale quantities, firstly, blue and via steam methane, reforming and then green from our offshore and onshore wind and other renewables. So why hydrogen? Well, I think you’re all aware that Scotland has really stretching climate change targets. We need to act rapidly and at scale in an unprecedented way across our innovation across our investment, across regulation to make this happen. The Scottish Government is also committed to not leaving anybody behind. So is applying a just transition approach to this. And we see it as a really big economic opportunity. We think that hydrogen can help. And the reason for this is just I’m going to show very briefly on my next slide is that it has so many different ways of being used. It has high energy content by mass, it’s very flexible, and can be applied to heat in domestic commercial industrial cases and transport and power. And it’s also zero emissions at the point of delivery. It’s familiar, because it can be used in a very similar way to the way gas can be used as well within the heating system. And there are system wide benefits that don’t always get picked up in cost comparisons. So why Scotland? Well, past projects, I’ll talk about those in a minute. Natural resources we have in abundance, our wind, wave and tidal. Infrastructure legacy the oil and gas industry, pipes and storage space.
Veronica Noone 6:14
And our innovation, we have centres of excellence across the country. Supply chain, just as I said, there, we have the infrastructure legacy from oil and gas, we also have a strong engineering tradition, and we have plentiful supply chain opportunities that could be transferred from the oil and gas sector into this one. And through our analysis, we’ve looked at export. And we think this can be a major economic development opportunity for Scotland, and create between 70 and 300,000 jobs by 2045, depending on the degree of intervention and the degree that we go down the hydrogen route, so from incremental change to perhaps going as far as exporting on a vast scale, and we have a project pipeline. And there are a lot of projects around Scotland historically this is these are the projects that really how could Scotland on the map on the hydrogen map internationally. And I think without these projects, which are many of them very first of a kind demonstrators. Without these would not be able to demonstrate and commercialise energy production and supply at scale. Scotland will not unlock its potential without these projects, nor will it attract supply chain transition and investment. So it’s really important to be continued to develop these projects and scale them up over the next few years. Bit of policy background very quickly, Scottish Government produced its hydrogen policy a year ago, and this was followed up by the Hydrogen Action Plan. The big thing here is the level of ambition five gigawatts to be installed by the ambition to be installed by 2030 and 25 gigawatts by 2045. That’s enormous. The Hydrogen Action Plan has 37 actions in it, I’m not going to go into all of those. One of the key areas that’s of interest to us as an organisation in SE is the regional hydrogen energy hubs that have been described. Region city island industrial clusters that host the entire value chain. These are where we see that in really strong economic opportunities as well. And there are several of these around the country at different stages of development happening all over the country. And here’s a few examples and I don’t want to and I can’t go into detail here because I’m limited by the amount of time but I just want to give you a flavour of the types of projects so we’ve got Whitelee windfarm, which has UK is largest electrolyzer 20 megawatts it’s in planning at Whitelee windfarm. It’s driven by Scottish Power along with ITM and BOC, and they plan to create or generate up to eight tonnes of green hydrogen per day from 2023. This project is looking for local demand transport or industry Flotta in Orkney at the cutting edge green hydrogen demonstration project which integrates offshore wind and electrolysis on a floating platform. And there are plans to land the hydrogen at Aberdeen energy transition zone. Probably one of the most well known humps is the Aberdeen hydrogen hub, which has two refuelling stations, 50 plus vehicles, and the UK is largest fuel cells. BP is currently in negotiation with the council around the hydrogen particular production facility. So there’s a range of other projects there that I’ll come back to if anybody’s interested in those. I haven’t mentioned ACORN here. I haven’t mentioned ScotWind, which is a great opportunity for offshore green hydrogen in the future. I know that Rebecca is going to talk about the ACORN project. And that James later will talk about Scotland. Thank you.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 10:10
Veronica, thank you. Really good to see so much going on. Apparently from the oil and gas capital on now talking from European hydrogen capital here in Aberdeen. Next we’ve got Stuart Haszeldine speaking to us here at of the University of Edinburgh. Stuart, I won’t go any further hand over to you.
Stuart Haszeldine FRSE 10:32
Okay, thanks, Melfort. So yes, I’m Stuart Haszeldine from University of Edinburgh.
Stuart Haszeldine FRSE 10:41
I’ll be talking specifically about blue hydrogen. So it’s this is really amplifying part of what Veronica introduced with a whole landscape of different types of hydrogen and different types of uses. I’m just going to focus in on the blue hydrogen. And then Rebecca will later talk about carbon capture. And Jamie will talk about green hydrogen, so we’ll cover recovering some of that ground. So what’s wrong with where we are at the moment is the question I’m first asking, and what’s wrong with where we are, is that we’re all busy using methane gas, in our houses, and in our heating. And we’re also around the UK making a lot of electricity out of methane, and the problem with methane gas is not that it’s a great fuel, it is a great fuel, but methane contains carbon. So when we burn methane in air, which is oxygen, we produce water, and produce carbon dioxide. And it’s that carbon dioxide, which Scotland and the UK, and many countries worldwide are now committed to reducing that carbon dioxide down to net zero emissions, and in Scotland’s case by 2045. So that means we have to get rid of this emission of carbon dioxide. So we have to stop burning the methane. So this graph here shows you the amount of carbon dioxide emitted around the world from 1980 through to the present day. And that’s in 1000s of millions of tonnes. These are really enormous quantities. But the point is, you can see that going up and up and up. And that increase is caused by you and me and everybody else around the world using coal, using oil using methane gas, all of which contain fossil carbon. And what we have to do is go down and decrease and decrease our carbon emissions by 2045, to net zero by 2050, and also continue to have those emissions negligibly low. And so the point about switching from me saying to hydrogen in the bottom right hand corner here is that by switching to a fuel with no carbon that removes those carbon dioxide emissions. For only convention, there are many different types of hydrogen, they’re given colours, just to make them easy to understand. But the colours tell you only part of the story, they tell you where the methane has come from. So we can have methane which is sorry, where the hydrogen has come from. So you can make hydrogen from methane or from coal that’s commonly practised around the world. But that’s really terrible for the environment, because all the carbon in the methane or the coal is emitted into the atmosphere and dumped into the atmosphere. So worldwide in greenhouse effect, we’re no better off. What we’re talking about as the first step for Scotland is making blue hydrogen, which is still taking methane in our case, natural North Sea gas or imported Norwegian gas, and turning that methane into hydrogen splitting that into carbon and hydrogen. But in this case, storing the carbon dioxide deep below ground. And beneath the North Sea. Rebecca will talk about that in the next presentation. You can also make pink so called pink hydrogen by nuclear powers providing the heat. But we’re not talking about that today. And of course, we can make green hydrogen the ultimate goal to make hydrogen by having so much electricity, almost zero carbon electricity that we can pass an electric current through water. And we can split water into carbon into hydrogen and oxygen. And that is the hydrogen we will be using in the long term. That’s what you heard about from a product from all those wind farms. But the first step in this the easiest and quickest available step is to consider making blue hydrogen. And that’s because we use an awful lot of methane in our energy use. And this graph on the left shows you that actually, although you think you may be using an awful lot of electricity, nowadays, the amount of electricity you use throughout the year from April, using a lot of electricity in the summer using less in the winter using a bit more. That amount of electricity is dwarfed by the amount of methane gas which we all use in the UK. So you can see here the green graph is the gas supplied through pipes and that green gas signifying the methane is about six times the amount of energy we use in the summer energy we use, or six times the summer amount of heating we use. And so this is where we are. Now we’re using lots and lots of methane to heat our houses. And you can see then, that that goes up and down very quickly every day. And that goes up and down by four or five or six times the total amount of electricity produced. So we have to replace that gas with something which can do that. Replacing methane gas with hydrogen can do that, because we already have the pipes to transport the hydrogen instead of the methane. Here’s a picture of the street in Edinburgh near the Royal Mile. And you can see that these yellow polythene pipes are the pipes which are replacing old methane carrying pipes that are replacing those to stop any leaks make this a really efficient way of transporting gas. But those methane pipes are also ideally suited for transporting hydrogen. So we already have a gas grid, which roughly half a million kilometres long. If you add all this up, the big pipes transported the big motorways, transporting hydrogen from town to town, and the smaller roads transporting hydrogen from suburb to suburb, and the tiniest smaller gas pipes giving us hydrogen or giving us methane in each house. And we can convert those to hydrogen transport really quite easily and save ourselves literally billions of pounds by using that gas grid. The other thing about hydrogen is it’s really very good for storing. And so if we go to blue hydrogen, you can see here different ways on the lower left different ways of storing methane gas or storing hydrogen, you can store it in a tank, you can make caverns underground, we can store it in mines, we can dig big holes inside of geological rock salt. By far, the biggest and cheapest way of storing hydrogen or methane is to use depleted gas fields in porous rocks deep underground. And here’s a map on the right of the work we’ve done showing you where depleted gas fields are where the gas has been taken out of the North Sea. And where we can put hydrogen back into the ground to put hydrogen in there in the summer, or in in one year, and take hydrogen out in the winter, or in another year. And that averages that out. And that means we can have a constant, very secure supply of hydrogen throughout the and from year to year.
Stuart Haszeldine FRSE 17:29
And then how will this be will look like in your house? Well, a lot of the older people like me can remember vaguely when the whole country used to run off towns gas, and we converted from towns gas, hydrogen, and carbon monoxide, we converted to North Sea gas. And that took about 10 years to change all the change all the systems in our boilers and on our cookers. And really what’s involved is doing that in reverse. So we can burn gas on the left upper left there with 0% Hydrogen, we can blend in hydrogen and methane gas and 70% hydrogen and down the bottom we can have 100% hydrogen and this has been coloured by adding a bit of salt into it to make the flames more visibly yellow. And we can do that gradually. Firstly by putting in as we are now no hydrogen into the gas grid, then 2% into the gas grid 20% 100% So we can build up gradually. And then in your house in my house, what that looks like is almost identical to what it looks now the combi boiler on the lower right here. Burning methane just now can look like the combi boiler which burns hydrogen in the future. This all exists. This is all been made already. There are manufacturers around Britain ready to sell that or even be part of the conversion journey with that. And part of the point here is converting a house to hydrogen involves maybe a new boiler and a new cooker, maybe 3000 pounds, converting a house to electric heating with a heat pump. And changing a lot of the radiators to make them larger, can be significantly more expensive. So hydrogen conversion could look like being quick and being quite low cost as well. And does this exist in the UK? Yes. Veronica talked about how there are plans around Scotland to generate hydrogen from wind. There are also very big plans in England to generate blue hydrogen from methane gas. Here’s one of those from BP British Petroleum to bring methane gas in from the offshore fields or from Norway, which is near to zero emissions transport system. Put that through a fabrication plant a big chemical works to split that methane into carbon dioxide, and which will be stored underground and hydrogen which gets sent through the pipe network which we can use in our cities and towns. And here on the right. I’ve just tabulated some information which the fast readers may have read but basically it says that there’s a lot of equivalent between hydrogen. And what we’re used to as methane, we use maybe need to use two or three times more volume of hydrogen to get the same energy. But it’s a gas with very, basically very similar properties which we can flow through our transport system, and will be similar, that will be more expensive, but will be similar in cost to what we’re paying for expensive gas right now, or what we were paying for electricity, maybe three or five months ago. So the cost is comparable. And remember, the conversion cost is also benefiting from using the existing pipe system. So that’s what I’ve got to say. And hand back to Melfort. To introduce the next speaker.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 20:47
Yeah, thank you. That’s a big, big subject complex. We haven’t given you much time. But if we can get into discussions, Next, we’ve got also from University of Edinburgh, we’ve got Rebecca Bell. And, Rebecca, if I can ask you to give us your presentation.
Rebecca Bell 21:07
Certainly, we’ve gone over. Thanks very much for that introduction. And thanks, everyone, for coming. So I’m going to give you a quick whistlestop tour of carbon capture and storage, and how it works. So firstly, I need to credit and thank my colleague, Philippa Parmiter, because I’ve borrowed a lot of her slides and made them my own. So yeah, thank you, to her, for doing a lot of the hard work to start with. And I suppose one of the first things to emphasise this, that carbon capture and storage, or CCS is already happening all over the world. We’ve even got carbon capture happening in Scotland at the moment, up at St Fergus and have had since about the 70s. So this is all proven technology. And so, CCS is a set of technologies. And their sole purpose is to prevent carbon dioxide or co2 reaching the atmosphere. So if you’ve done what you can to avoid emissions, you can then use CCS to use what’s remaining to capture what’s remaining and stop causing damage. So basically, it doesn’t stop the process producing co2, it just stops that co2 going anywhere harmful. And CCS has got three main stages. So stage one, capture the carbon dioxide, stage two transport it to where it needs to be. Stage three, store it permanently and securely. I’m going to deal with the stages in that order. So firstly, co2 capture. So as Stuart alluded to in his presentation, carbon dioxide is a waste product from the process of making hydrogen from from methane. It’s also a waste product from a lot of other industries. So either industries with a high need for fossil fuels to heat, such as glass, or industries that produce carbon dioxide as part of the process such as cement. And things like steel and cement, both of which have high carbon dioxide emissions are also crucial for most of the things we need in life and particularly for generating renewable power. So CCS not only helps decarbonize meeting from sorry, hydrogen from methane, it also helps decarbonize green hydrogen as well over the life cycle. And the other thing listed in green here is where you burn or otherwise produce carbon dioxide from a biogenic source, such as through fermentation, or sort of processing of sewage or wastewater, that tends not to get counted in the accountings. So that means if you can capture and store that CO2, then that’s not so much emissions reduction as an emissions removal so or what we call negative emissions. So basically, having CCS in place opens up a lot of possibilities beyond just the hydrogen thing. So this is a brief overview of the capture process. So what you’re doing is normally carbon dioxide will come out of a process mixed in with other gases. So what you have to do is separate that separate them out and the most common way to do it and the way that it’s done at St Fergus at the moment is using a chemical called amine so the gas the mix of gases passes through the chemical passes through the amine, the amine absorbs the carbon dioxide, you can then take them away and then reheat that and that will separate back out the amine from the carbon dioxide and then you’ve got your pure co2 pretty much that you can deal with. And there are other ways of doing it. We’re looking at membranes, passing the gas through membranes to separate it that way or using distillation. And that’s where a lot of the research is on is on kind of under either sort of trying novel ways to capture carbon dioxide or ways to make it more efficient, made to use less energy in the process or to prevent the amine degrading, so you’re not using quite as many chemicals. So it’s really about improving efficiency. And optimising the technology. Once you’ve captured your carbon dioxide, you need to transport it because the storage sites for co2 are offshore. And most of the emitters are onshore. And I think it’s about 25% of Scotland’s emissions come out of just Grangemouth and around the central belt. So you’ve got these sort of real concentrations, but they’re far from each other. So you can transport carbon dioxides, by most ways, really pipeline, ship, rail, road. So pipeline is probably the main way and the first way to do it. You can see from the picture on the right there that we’ve got
Rebecca Bell 25:59
this green, these these spots are all industrial emissions. This green pipe is a pipeline that used to carry natural gas, or oil, I forget which that runs up from the central belt up to St Fergus. So that’s ripe for repurposing for transporting the carbon dioxide. But also, as you can see here, envisaging not just pipelines, but you could also transport carbon dioxide across borders using ships as well. And the reason why you might want to do that is because of where the co2 storage is. So Scotland has got about 40-50, sorry the UK has got about 40 or 50% of the capacity to store co2 that we know about in Europe. So there’s a real opportunity there to use that capacity to store as a country co2 They’ve captured not just our own. We’ve got about 5.7 giga tonnes of storage at sort of absolute minimum estimates. And that’s about 150 years of Scotland’s emissions, so there’s plenty of opportunity to store co2. And the way that it works is the carbon dioxide is stored in porous permeable looks about a kilometre below the seabed. So way, way, way down. And in those rocks, it’s kind of sandstone. So there’s lots of tiny bits of sand and then spaces for the carbon dioxide to flow through. So the carbon dioxide moves through that rock. And then above it is a layer of impermeable rock, a cap rock or mud stone, which the carbon dioxide can’t pass through so that that rock holds it there in place. And as time goes on, the carbon dioxide starts to dissolve in the water that’s in the rock, and then it becomes dense. So it doesn’t even want to go to the surface anymore. And then as more time goes on, it will start to react with the rock itself and become one with the rock. So basically, the longer it’s down there, the the longer it’s staying there really, it’s a really secure storage. And we’ve got so much expertise in both in academia, but also in industry, because co2 storage is basically oil and gas extraction in reverse. Rather than taking the soil that’s been held there for millennia out you’re putting the gas back in. And all of this research and expertise means we know the places that are safe to store the carbon dioxide and the places that aren’t safe, so we know where to focus it. And this map here on the left shows the potential co2 storage sites in UK waters. And as I said, that’s an opportunity there not just to store our own emissions to store other people’s. And that is the end of my tour. So hopefully, that’ll give you a bit of an introduction. If you want to learn more. We’ve got a massive open online course on CCS or of course, just get in touch with me
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 28:54
Rebecca, thank you. Again, another whistle stop. Very well done. Thank you very much indeed. Our final presentation before we get into questions, I see that we’ve got plenty of questions coming in. Is Jamie Dempster. Who’s the operations manager and Maintenance Manager for Moray West offshore wind farm. Jamie
Jamie Dempster 29:17
Okay, yes, so I’m Jamie Dempster Operations and Maintenance Manager in Moray West offshore wind farm development. So some of you might question why an Operations Maintenance manager is making this presentation today? My background is after we were initially unsuccessful before a CFD, we looked at all kinds of options for redevelopment of the Moray West site. We did look at green hydrogen, but that’s not what we’re focusing on. Because we see not more as an opportunity for Scotland and the timelines that are around about the 2030 development scale. So I was heavily involved in following that up as part of ScotWind and leading on some of our technical analysis. there. So my part today is just to give you a little bit of an overview of the green hydrogen. Today, without repeating too much of what has been said already, you know, hydrogen is 75% of all mass and universe 90% of all atoms. And it’s very light. It’s not toxic. It’s it burns easily. It’s odourless, colourless. And if anyone’s watching it around the world in 80 days, Jules Verne kind of called it right, where he said he would be believed that water will one day be employed as a fuel that hydrogen oxygen will constitute it used singly or together, and it will furnish an inexhaustible source of heat and light of an intensity of which cool is not capable. So this was already predicted back in the 1800s. I wasn’t even around when everyone was using towns gas, but I’ve heard it went pretty well in those days as well. And in terms of what we’re looking at going forward in the context that’s kind of been set at a government level, the EU has put a huge onus on renewable hydrogen, its priority is is focusing on green hydrogen. And it does, although it still sees a transition role for blue, it’s looking at having 40 gigawatts of electrolyzers to be installed by 2030. It’s committed 180 billion euros to be invested in hydrogen production, with a further 120 billion to be invested in hydrogen transport and storage. And also sees the existing gas network as a crucial, crucial asset in doing this. And as it was mentioned earlier, by Stewart, we’ve already kind of got a network in the UK that is already ready for this as well as it’s being converted from steel to polymer. The UK also set a net zero target by 2050. And Scotland set its target to 2045. Just to be one step ahead. And Kwasi Kwarteng said that hydrogen offers the opportunity of a cleaner, greener fuel for heating our homes and getting us from A to B. And in the context of what that means for Scotland. The Scottish energy strategy was published in 2017. In March 2019, it was followed up by the Scottish Government’s electricity and gas network vision. In September 2019, a hydrogen assessment project was announced. And that’s also in the government committed to the 2045 net-zero goal. In December 2020, the hydrogen assessment project delivered a policy statement of five gigawatts of renewable and low carbon, hydrogen by 2030. In the context of some of the existing ground breaking projects we’ve already heard off discussed earlier, I’ll touch on a couple of those. But in January 2020, the Scotland new leasing round, effectively awarded 25 gigawatts of power production across various sites. And this obviously leads to the opportunities that that we see in terms of export markets, and obviously internal usage within the UK for being hydrogen. Why, why wind? And where will where will the hydrogen come from the wind? Well, I’m not sure how well you can see this. But the levelized cost of energy is basically what what it costs us to produce per megawatt hour, taking into account all the all the costs to build our wind farms, and then what revenue we can generate at the end of it to make that economic. And as you look at the map around the UK, without going into too much details, basically, the dark blue means is very good, because it was very low cost to produce. And the blue means low. And if you see around the UK, and in particular, Scotland, we’ve got very good resources to allow us to do this.
Jamie Dempster 33:58
And when we looked at it internally, as well, we’ve already heard a little bit about the blue hydrogen. But if we just focus on the splitting of water with renewable power, we see this as a significant opportunity. And this is what we’re currently assessing. And this provides, you know, fuel and energy storage provides fuel for industry as well. And there’s lots of challenges in terms of how we do this. But there’s also lots of opportunities as well. And I think without going in too much detail some of the key points here as it is a bit of a chicken and egg scenario where we are in terms of creating consumer demand. And obviously what’s available on the market. That is a number of steps along the value chain as well in terms of how we do this distance to market as kind of highlighted in these graphs. If we’re looking at a market in Europe, and we’re producing it in the UK, how do we transport it and that kind of goes to the top bullet point on this list. And then there’s ultimately the competition. And we’ll probably highlight that when we start seeing the Scotland map later. Yeah, so if we look at what was kind of recently announced, in Scotland, as part of the Scotland announcement, 25 gigawatts overall, our company Ocean Winds were successful in this site here, which is adjacent to our Moray east and Moray west offshore wind developments. And we are we’re, we’re committed to looking at the development opportunity of producing hydrogen from that field, as well. At the moment, you know, there’s still a lot of technical analysis to go into exactly the optimal solution for that. Because, you know, there is obviously the opportunity to produce that offshore and then export to onshore, or just take the power onshore, and then produce it onshore. So these are the kind of things that we are we’re evaluating, and one of the quotes I always quite like, is the two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity. So either everyone has got this wrong, and it’s something that we’d all just be increasingly stupid about, or we’ve got it right, and we’re doing something that will actually fundamentally impact how we live our lives in the future. And some of these projects that are doing this are our dolphin, which ocean winds is a company is involved through our sub entities of principle, power, and energy tract bill, who’s supporting the design work of this technology, and have to, you know, compliment ERM a great job that they’ve done in, in developing this, and this will tie into to Aberdeen, hopefully, in the future, the metal tin project, which is just down the coast, from where I live, actually is the world’s first green hydrogen project. And the map here, similar to the map that was shared earlier, just gives a kind of overview of what types of projects are happening across Scotland, in particular, with hydrogen. So it’s an exciting space. There’s lots of questions, and I won’t delay any further because I know we’re a little bit over the five minutes I was given. And thanks Melfort.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 37:19
Jamie, terrific, thank you. And so after listening to the presentations, and going through the plentiful questions, thank you, everybody for the questions. I’m going to have to do a little bit of synthesis to some of these questions. And Jamie, I’m going to come to you to begin with there’s remarks on inefficiency. And so in essence, when should we use electron, as an electron? And when should we converted into hydrogen? And why? What’s the the demand side that might determine in that?
Jamie Dempster 37:59
Good question. I don’t know if I can necessarily answer on the demand side fully. But what we’ve seen is multiple organisations and companies looking for green hydrogen. I think they would actually take it today, if they could have it. But it’s just not available on the scale that some some companies are actually looking looking for right now. That the first part of that question, in terms of timing is also interesting as well, because if you look at Scotland, a lot of the projects can’t actually tie into the grid until around about, you know, 2030/2032, even. So, you know, there is there’s a kind of lag in terms of that time period, and in between where we are now. And that period is another 10 years. So the technology is obviously going to mature and develop as well. And if I take the example of where we are in offshore wind, and in particular the project that we are building, we are we are building a wind farm with, you know, some of the biggest wind turbines that exists, you know, they’ve never been built before. These are 14.7 megawatt turbines with 222 metre rotor diameters. So the technology in offshore wind has just, you know, gone pretty exponential. And so with that the costs have also come down. And I would see that as the kind of opportunity with green hydrogen in the future as well.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 39:28
Right, thank you do any of the other presenters want to come in on that one? Stuart?
Stuart Haszeldine FRSE 39:36
Yeah, there’s several questions on why bother making hydrogen at all? And I think part of the answer for that is that we use energy in lots and lots of different ways. So for example, we could power railway engines with coal by having a big stack of coal on the back and shovelling it in to make steam and so we’ve done that, but we actually discovered that using diesel was is much more convenient, and much more easy to transport. And I think a lot of the same type of argument applies to hydrogen, there are many places where you would use electricity to boil your kettle and to run your house. But if you want to store a lot of electricity, or a lot of energy from one month to the next month, hydrogen is a really good way of doing that. If you want to convert really quickly, then hydrogen pipe network can reuse the methane pipe network really quickly. And if you want to reduce emissions really, really quickly, then remember, the methane we’re using is emitting three or four times the amount of carbon which we use to use emit from electricity. So we’ve converted in very successful electricity and moving to from methane to hydrogen as a way of capturing that carbon really, really quickly in decades rather than in years and years, rather than decades and decades. So there’s several different attributes to why hydrogen.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 41:07
Thanks, thanks for that. And just from my own experience, I’m involved in a discussion. And it’s interesting that the mining industry is saying that it needs hydrogen as a fuel not from an electricity conversion perspective, because they cannot get the torque for these for high torque machinery using electric motors, and they’re looking to burn out. And I gather, also, the figure that was quoted at me was that hydrogen is nine times more valuable in transport than it is in heat. So but that takes me right to the next one heat. I’m working down. simple modification. And again, so you touched on this current gas distribution, network safety, is it viable to put put hydrogen through the gas network? Stuart?
Stuart Haszeldine FRSE 42:02
Okay. So again, we have to look at where we’ve come from, and that we did put a lot of hydrogen through the iron pipe network in my parents lifetime. And that was quite leaky, and we wouldn’t be doing that again. And we shouldn’t be doing that again. Because town’s gas was mostly hydrogen with some carbon monoxide. So we have been burning hydrogen a lot in our history as a country. But the as I mentioned briefly, in my talk, there’s been one of the largest civil engineering programmes in the whole history of the UK has been to replace that iron mains gas pipeline network with polyethylene pipes, and that conversion is almost complete. That was done for the purpose of stopping leaks of methane gas, from the gas from the iron pipe network, because iron pipes are brittle, they corrode. They are past their useful life. And by good luck, rather than planning, it turns out that those polyethylene pipes and the joins which are made by melting and welding, the pipes together, are very proof against hydrogen. So they’ve that pipe network is very useful for hydrogen transport. And that saves us an awful lot of digging up the streets, and relaying of pipes. And it also means we can transport hydrogen with very little leakage. And so again, extensive work, as you might expect, has been done and is being done by the gas networks around the UK who are responsible for transporting hydrogen delivering hydrogen to our homes. And that extensive and detailed investigations have been done and are being done by the Health and Safety Executive in Buxton to make sure that the safety and security of transporting hydrogen is at least as good as the methane transport we have already. So there’s a couple of answers.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 43:58
Thank you. Thank you, Stuart. Does anybody else want to come in on that? If not, I’m going to come to you, Veronica, because there’s natural white hydrogen. Is there anything in our programme that we’re doing? And I’m looking at the other presenters? If you’d come in, but is that a feat? Veronica?
Veronica Noone 44:23
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 44:24
Natural white hydrogen, is that in the conversation from a Scottish Government perspective?
Veronica Noone 44:31
Nope, not one that I’ve come across at all. And I see Stuart’s got his hand up because he’s obviously more familiar with white hydrogen than I am, I just thought white hydrogen was colourless hydrogen. And that this was, you know, this, this talk of colours was just to label and categorise. So Stuart over to you
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 44:51
Stuart Haszeldine FRSE 44:52
As we mentioned before, the colours of hydrogen are really describing the origins of where the hydrogen comes from, whether that comes from derived from coal whether it’s from natural gas, or whether it’s from electrolyzing water, and so white hydrogen, my understanding is natural hydrogen which occurs, which is made naturally within the Earth system, the geological system of the world. And that happens by chemical reaction of groundwater deep groundwater, with very basaltic, deep rooted volcanic rock if you like. And so there’s a natural reaction, which can hydrolyze the rock, turn that into serpentinite, and produce hydrogen as a byproduct. And as many people have mentioned, hydrogen is very, very leaky. So there are no natural hydrogen reservoir, well, maybe one natural hydrogen reservoir, I know all around the world, because that hydrogen, which is naturally produced, as white hydrogen leaks out almost as fast as it’s produced, and certainly over geological time, it’s not accumulated to any great extent. So there are programmes work going on to try and explore for white hydrogen. And in particular, once you get east of Poland, the scientific investigations in the Russian continent, have found deposits of white hydrogen, but they’re not large, they’re not immense. And again, we don’t have the geology for that in Scotland, or indeed, in most of Europe. So it’s interesting. I, you know, I’d be interested to undertake research on it. But at the moment, it doesn’t look like it’s commercial. And I’m sure somebody will pop up in the Q&A to tell me the three commercial deposits in the world, which I don’t know about, and that will be very welcomed. But at the moment, I don’t see that as being a big option for us.
Stuart Haszeldine FRSE 45:42
So audience, you’re challenged, please, then let us knows let’s us know where these deposits are, obviously, transportation, it is a real issue on hydrogen, or you need to convert it for transportation. I’m going to go to just back to you Veronica, very quickly. Are we too early, to set up investment groups and really look at the investment side getting people invested? And I think that probably will be reflected partially by what some of the remarks of why are we talking hydrogen when we should just be on electricity? And then I’m not going to come to Dennis O’Keefe on that general question. I know you’re saying missed opportunities. If Dennis, if you can give us some specific questions, I’ll try and take those. But so back to you, Veronica, in creating ability to invest funds into this into this area. Are there any plans?
Veronica Noone 47:44
Yes, yes, there are. There are plans. The public sector has a role here. So you know, the Scottish Investment Bank, the Scottish National Investment Bank have a role here. But we are aware through our own green investment portfolio that investors really want to get in early to talk through, what’s likely to happen where the projects are, they want to be involved at a very early stage, they know that we’re at an early stage with hydrogen, but that it could well take off quite quickly. So there’s a lot of interest from investors in investing. What they I think need to see is there’s plenty of demonstrators out there, they need to see a scaling up those demonstrators. So there will be a lot of public sector investments still required before we bring private sector in large amounts. But I don’t think it’s too early to be talking to investors about this. When you see how interested big companies like PPR for instance, in Aberdeen and the hydrogen production facility there, you can see that there is really genuine interest in developing projects and developing this whole hydrogen economy. So I don’t think it will be long before investors start to get really interested.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 49:09
Thank you, Rebecca, please come in. And I’m going to come to you for the next question.
Rebecca Bell 49:15
And I just going to add to build on what Veronica was saying that the UK Government is doing a lot of work at the moment on business models to make hydrogen and CCS work. So what’s the kind of revenue subsidy regime that will bring these projects forward? And the hydrogen business model is expected anytime in the next couple of months, or at least the kind of heads of terms of it so there’s obviously a lot of work in the background afoot to make it an investable proposition as well.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 49:43
Thank you. I’m going to again synthesise a bit here, Rebecca, but why do we not just carry on with gas methane and capture the carbon.
Rebecca Bell 49:59
Well because I guess in terms of sort of domestic boilers and whatnot, you can’t put a carbon capture on such a small dispersed source. So the idea of doing hydrogen, for methane is that you’re able to do in one big plant, you can capture that co2 and take it away and store it. And I think there was a question about why don’t we just use the gas to make electricity. And again, you can’t use electricity for everything. There’s a role for electricity and a lot of purposes, but in a lot of situations, you need, you need that heat or you need. You just can’t use electricity for everything. So it’s part of a mix. And I think we’ve always said that, you know, we need all of the tools in the box really to tackle climate change, we can’t be just sort of picking one or another.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 50:52
Thank you, Jamie.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 50:56
You produced your map of where it’s efficient, for the generation of electricity, they talk about stranded wind. There’s that there’s somebody has put up a chemical process that they’re using, which presumably would have quite a high intensity of energy requirement itself. So what is that deciding factor as to where you’re going to pipe your electricity ashore against converted?
Jamie Dempster 51:33
Yeah, that’s what comes in the economic and technical evaluations, the technical economic assessment of the options, basically. What can easily be said as if there’s existing gas infrastructure, which can handle the export of the molecules, then that’s obviously a preferred solution, then, as opposed to kind of building any of that type of infrastructure. If that doesn’t exist, then obviously, it’s much more economic to take the power back to shore and then actually produce it onshore. produce hydrogen onshore. And so those are, those are kind of the factors looked at. The other thing in terms of that map is that the future shows a lot of kind of further afield, locations, which are in deeper water. And so that then takes us into the floating wind technology of the future as well. And then the ERM, Dolphin solution is obviously producing hydrogen on the actual asset and then exporting it. But I think there’s still some some wider questions to be asked there, as well as should that all produced in a central hub and then produced back or, you know, should it all be produced on, you know, an item by item, or platform by platform basis? So that’s all kind of part of the evaluation.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 52:55
Thank you. There’s some specific questions on energy. So I asked panellists to maybe answer directly on those in writing where we can. And I think that in some of the texts within the presentations, we’ve answered some of these questions. And then the issue of the smaller particle, I think Stuart’s made it very clear that it’s the more modern infrastructure that would allow us to to, to contain hydrogen and overcome leakage, which seems to be quite a regular question coming up. Stuart, have you got anything to add to that on infrastructure transport? It strikes me that the whole efficiency from a perspective of, transportation and getting it to places of consumption is a crucial,
Stuart Haszeldine FRSE 53:57
I think, the again, you can ask the question in different ways, and you can get different answers. So that clearly, let’s say hydrocarbon vehicles, petrol and diesel are really, really convenient. Because we can make petrol and diesel. It’s a really dense energy storage source. So we can travel 500 miles very easily on fifth 10 gallons of hydrocarbon fuel and we can refuel that in five minutes. But it’s got a huge carbon dioxide emission impact, and that’s why we’re having to change we’re not changing because petrol vehicles don’t work. Like we didn’t change from horses because horses don’t work were changed because something better or more imperative has been invented. And so somebody asked, can we compress hydrogen to 700 atmospheres or whatever? And yeah, that’s being done. So people who have hydrogen cars or particularly hydrogen fuel trucks, will need to carry hydrogen on the vehicle. That technology has been invented, it is being worked on. Not so much in this country. But if you go to South Korea, if you go to Japan, they’ve been those folks have been working on hydrogen refuelling vehicles, for literally decades. It’s just not invented here, particularly, but we can learn from them, and manufacture those and some of those pilot vehicles are already available. And one of the things which we’ve done in our University group is also to look at are is hydrogen equally appropriate for all sorts of vehicles. And yes, you can have hydrogen cars, they will travel 500 miles on one fill, you can refill in five minutes. But as yet, we don’t have a network of hydrogen filling stations, so a bit of a blockage. But if you want to ask the question, What about trucks, the 30 tonne, articulated lorries, which move practically everything at one time or another, then converting those to hydrogen is much more compelling. Because you don’t have to carry the weight of a huge lithium battery around in your truck all the time. And you can refill your truck in a depo and send that out for three or 400 miles and then come back and refill in the depo rather like the buses were more familiar with in Aberdeen. So those vehicles work very well. And I think there was also a couple of questions about diffusion of hydrogen and leakage. And again, we can calculate that you can do experiments with that. And you can demonstrate that, yes, hydrogen is leaky. But let’s say if we wanted to store hydrogen on a massive scale to take us from the summer, through the winter, using hydrogen in our heating systems, then we can do that, and there will be a small amount of leakage. But when we do the numbers and the arithmetic on that, then that’s maybe half a percent leakage over those months. So it does leak. But that’s an acceptable loss in the whole system, retained underground and will react underground. But that’s in the process of being evaluated and being proven. It’s not at the stage of commercial development, right yet. But storage in salt has been working for 30 or 40 years in the UK, in the southern states of the United States. So that is a technology, which is ready to move ahead and store hydrogen. And it’s proven to work. So again, different answers for different specific questions.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 57:22
Thank you. That’s great. Now I’m going to really throw these at Rebecca and Veronica, because there’s a lot of question on back to carbon capture. Why do we continue to use coal? You’ve answered that. I think the key question, Rebecca, that micro collection of carbon doesn’t work. There’s been a lot of talk about projects, test projects, government investment in seed funding some of this and yet it hasn’t happened very much. How far away? Are we from really good, viable carbon capture projects? Rebecca first?
Rebecca Bell 58:14
Well, we’re pretty close. I guess the reason projects in the UK have failed in the past as well. The most recent one was because the government, UK government cut the funding at the last minute. I’m not sure about why the long Gannett project failed, but I’m sure Stuart would be able to say. But yeah, I mean, there’s no escaping that. CCS is more expensive than just letting all your carbon dioxide go up into the atmosphere and not doing anything about it. But you know, we’re trying we need to tackle climate change here. So the money has to be in it. The UK government has started work on its industrial clusters, decarbonisation programme, so they’ve committed to have two CCS clusters up and running in the UK by Stewart, correct me if I’m wrong 2025 Or certainly by 2030. So, yeah, eight years away maximum, I guess from having it. Scotland has a CCS cluster in the works as well. And it’s still sort of negotiating on its status. I think with the UK Government. It wasn’t picked for the first round of funding, but it’s a reserved cluster, and has a lot of support from the Scottish Government.
Stuart Haszeldine FRSE 59:30
Yes, just to be clear, the UK Government has got a moving target on carbon capture and storage right now for the industry, decarbonisation. And remember that’s about decarbonizing industry. A lot of people have asked why don’t we just have more electricity and that’s really rather like Melfort sensor early on. Electricity can’t do everything can’t provide the heat and the density of power you need for a lot of industrial vehicle processes. Anyway, the UK started off with about a target of 2 million tonnes of years carbon capture and storage by 2025, then it went up to about 5 million tonnes in a year in 2030. And now with the net zero document, which came out of Westminster last autumn, the target is now about 330 million tonnes a year by 2030. Which is I have to say to give them credit for that is on the pathway towards a genuine netzero ambition for the UK in 2050. So that is the right, scientifically the right target. And it’s not often I get to say that.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:00:38
Thank you. Veronica, have you got anything to add on on potential projects?
Veronica Noone 1:00:45
I think I mean, just going back to the discussion around hydrogen and its uses, and when it’s going to become commercially viable. I mean, I’ve nothing to add to what Rebecca said about CCS. I think that’s that’s, you know, the analysis. This is what is the cas. That hydrogen, you know, there tends to be in it’s, it’s not really happening here too much. But debate is a bit polarised between hydrogen and electrons. And it really doesn’t need to be because I think it’s horses for courses depending on where and what you’re trying to do. So going back to transport we see transport as being one of the early uses of hydrogen, but not cars, really, cars we see is electric. It is the heavy goods vehicles, it is those that are doing some distance, and it is those that you know, can use a sort of more shared infrastructure. Similarly, with heat, well, we’re not known until the UK government’s made its decision about the gas grid, but some areas of Scotland Absolutely, it will be about heat networks and heat pumps and not hydrogen at all. But where there is a gas pipe and decision is made that blending can happen. And that can increase over time, then there is you know, infrastructure there that can actually reduce the cost of that. So it’s very much an industrial, sorry, decarbonisation, I think is, is where hydrogen is going to really grow in the short term, because of the heat factor. And because of the amount and the level of talk that you mentioned before, that is required to support industrial processes. So yeah, I think I think it’s important to note that hydrogen has its place, as does, as us do electrons. And, you know, I don’t think it should be about one or the other, they will play out in different ways across the country, according to where the infrastructure is best suited for that.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:02:53
And whilst we’re just just to sort of not necessarily wrap up at this stage, the carbon capture questions, claims that it’s an economic and actually not as clean. So, there’s a question here wondering how the panel will respond to the sceptics. So just quickly, Rebecca, first.
Rebecca Bell 1:03:22
I would say that
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:03:24
prolongs reliance on the fossil fuel industry
Rebecca Bell 1:03:29
Well, I would say that CCS is expensive, but it’s not as expensive as dealing with climate change. And it’s the only way to decarbonize certain activities. And it’s not just about Scotland you know, work we have to get our our products from somewhere. And so even if we don’t have say, don’t have much for steel industry in Scotland, we’re going to need to get our steel from somewhere. So CCS is a is a global thing, really. And since Scotland is able to lead the way in many ways with its sort of academic expertise and its industry expertise that we can then export overseas. It’s part of the kind of the just transition really of taking these jobs from the oil and gas industry and sort of repurposing them in the other direction to, to use those skills to save the planet basically.
Stuart Haszeldine FRSE 1:04:26
I’m, I’m a paid up member of the planet saving fraternity or sorority. And I think that’s part of the answer to the question. During since we’ve had the Industrial Revolution, which largely started in Scotland, of course, then we’ve been behaving badly in that we’ve been using all this fossil carbon fuels because it’s accessible, very energy dense but we’ve been throwing away all the junk into the atmosphere effectively, and we’ve not been paying for the cleanup. So nowadays I do pay for the cleanup of my domestic rubbish I pay the council, they come and take it away, I do pay for clean water, and I get clean water delivered. So I’m not sick with that. And I do pay for taking away all the other sewage and wastewater, and I’m very pleased to do that as well. So I don’t see why I shouldn’t pay a little bit more for taking away the carbon dioxide. That is not paying a bit more is absolutely not the end of the world. So if we added on full carbon capture and storage for all of the carbon in a litre of petrol, then that litre of petrol would go up from one pound 50 A litre to about one pound 70, a litre with 100% of the carbon captured. So it’s very accessible. And I think Volvo in Sweden have now taken delivery of the first zero carbon steel commercially made by the Swedish steel maker. And Volvo calculate that to use carbon free manufactured steel in their trucks and cars will cost about another 200 pounds on a 25,000 pound car. This is a very accessible change. And if the price of the planet is 200 pounds every five years or whatever it is, then that’s a real bargain.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:06:18
Thanks, it has its place. And an interesting question, because obviously it’s bringing together of the ability to electrolyze and the availability of water. And so this question about using Scottish Waters treatment plants, which are already linked to the electricity grid to produce green hydrogen. Is that an option? Who would like to come in on that one? Veronica maybe.
Veronica Noone 1:06:50
There has been some investigation into that. And I think it could well be a proposition because the oxygen that’s produced as well can be used in the water treatment process. So that could be a win win there. And that is something that we have been talking to Scottish Water about. So I think it is a very real possibility. Yeah.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:07:17
Right. Now coming to Jamie, Scotland could produce clean hydrogen from wind, etc. Will not countries such as Australia or Saudi Arabia, be able to produce it more efficiently using solar photovoltaics?
Jamie Dempster 1:07:31
It’s good question. I think I think they already are looking at opportunities in that. In that level. I know that certainly looking at it in the south of France and our companies involved in a project and that level. So yeah, absolutely. That actually already happening. Maybe just to go back on the last point that was made this kind of conversation between the green and the blue because it’s quite, it’s very hard not to be cynical about this. And I think this is where we struggle. I’m a member of the Royal Society, the protection of polar bears to match you Stuart. But I joined that when I was actually an LNG facility in the north of Norway and the Arctic Circle. And, you know, I come from that background and the sort of idea that all the oil and gas companies are gonna suddenly kind of lock in all this revenue in the ground, and the government’s are gonna let that happen. And that we’re not going to have a transition through from blue to green. Is, is hopeful, but I just don’t think a reality and I attended the cop 26 where it was very clearly backed by, you know, major chemical organisations that were pushing that agenda. So until we change those types of mindsets, it’s a kind of fictitious conversation because it’s just not going to happen. In an ideal world, that’s what you know, everyone would probably like to see happen, but it’s kind of way above our level in terms of how it’s going to be resolved. But we can do what we can and that’s why we’re certainly trying to focus on the green hydrogen from offshore wind in the future. Sorry, that’s my rant over.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:09:17
Thanks. I think there’s this wonderful question, if we’ve got hydrogen powered vehicles running our street so we’re going to need wellies to walk down the high street. Stuart I think you’re going to have to answer that one.
Stuart Haszeldine FRSE 1:09:42
Well, I guess that’s a no for me. Because if the hydrogen combustion to be more serious will really does release water vapour of course, but so does combustion of petrol or diesel. And so that water vapour is released as a byproduct of all these things, and actually the quantity of water because let’s say, hydrogen vehicles or using it in a fuel cell, if that happens with larger vehicles as with the buses or maybe with the trucks, that’s overall much more efficient, then you’ll be releasing less water than we do now. To move all that transport around.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:10:28
We keep getting to this co2, smaller molecule, I’m going to come to you, Jamie. Because if you’re going to if you’re going to produce green hydrogen, you’ve got to store it. So you’re investing in new facilities? Is that a really different piece of engineering that’s required to do that?
Jamie Dempster 1:10:57
Yes, it is certainly compared to the traditional kind of offshore wind farm development. So yes, it is. I don’t know. What’s the question? Exactly. Just in terms of the technology or
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:11:15
The technology? Again, I’m synthesising. There’s technology. There’s pressure. There’s there’s quite a lot about existing infrastructure, which I think Stuart has tackled, the modern infrastructure is able to handle the hydrogen and I believe to go into a gas main they’re talking easily taking 20% into a gas main. But the actual engineering, do we have that engineering ability? Is it is it all there? It’s obviously high pressure systems dealing with small molecules. A company like yours is just to find contractors who can come in and build, build the plant that you’re needing?
Jamie Dempster 1:12:04
Well, yes, I mean, it’s, it’s complicated, it’s difficult, but it’s pushing the boundaries, it’s pioneering, it’s, you know, we’re learning more and more, as we as we investigate it. But if we, if we look at some of the scales of the projects that we’ve already built, and developed as well, you know, if we didn’t believe in what was possible, we wouldn’t even start in the first place. So it’s, there is for sure, a little bit of the unknown. But that’s, that’s what makes engineering exciting. And that’s what makes the future of the development of green hydrogen even more exciting, because, you know, there is actually so many questions that need to be resolved. And for me, actually the technical part is probably the easiest part of it overall, the more kind of economic demand side of it, and where that comes from is probably a little bit more complicated. And it’s been touched on, I think, by Rebecca, and Veronica, you know, in terms of hydrogen policy, and, you know, subsidies to kind of support that as well. And so, there needs this sort of be a better kind of clarity on what and how that’s going to be regulated going forward as well. Because if we look at Scotland, for example, is 25 gigawatts been awarded, Scotland only needs, you know, 4.7 4.8 of that gigawatt power internally. So what’s going to happen with the other 20 gigawatts, and it’s been split over, you know, multiple different companies as well. So are all of those companies all going to kind of work together to build a solution together that is integrated with, you know, green hydrogen production? I don’t know. But I think that’s a question to be answered by the Scottish Government as well, in that respect. So yeah, maybe a little bit on from what you asked, technically, technically, it’s all possible, but how it all works in in a way that benefits everyone? You know, because it is well thought out. Well developed is a key part of this.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:14:18
I’ve got a hand raised from David, who would come in?
Unknown Speaker 1:14:25
Yeah. Can I ask you a question? The current main user of hydrogen is ammonia. And it’s green hydrogen. The question is, are you planning to service ammonia production facilities in Scotland, there are big ones in England. So will green hydrogen will be pumped into those places and be used to stop the massive use of methane, which in the world. 5% of all methan is used to produce ammonia for fertilisers. That is an absolutely enormous amount, and it’s used to make green hydrogen, mostly some of its burnt to heat the thing. But is there a plan to put green hydrogen directly into the ammonia synthesis plants?
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:15:14
Who going to take that one.
Jamie Dempster 1:15:17
I can take it initially because we’ve not thought about tying it into any plants, but we’ve thought of developing our own plants because we see the ability of ammonia as an ability to store and transport it, if we start looking at the scale that we need. If we look at, you know, LNG and what it takes to compress the gas and the size of equipment to do that, we see ammonia as a kind of natural solution to kind of mitigate that. And yeah, so ammonia is definitely part of our our thinking going forward in terms of transport and then also how that would be used in vessel fuel as well going forward.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:15:58
Stuart, did you have anything?
Stuart Haszeldine FRSE 1:16:01
So I think an answer to this is also that we’re in the process of decarbonizing everything. So that’s what’s going towards net zero means so decarbonizing ammonia production, and decarbonizing fertiliser production are two of the things which will have to be tackled directly head on by the decarbonisation of the industrial complexes. And both Rebecca and Veronica and myself slightly of alluded to that the UK Government is putting huge amounts of money into decarbonizing some of our major industrial complexes, which is might be the Grange mouth area, Teesside, Humberside Merseyside, and to have that substantially underway, the first one done are those by 2040. And the other ones done by 2050. And as and as well as that, big companies know that they have to decarbonize their own supply chains and supply streams. So anybody making plastic will have to tackle the critique about how much carbon have you released during making it, that plastic, etc. And then lastly, in in Europe, then there’s developed what’s called a taxonomy of all sorts of energy type of input. And that taxonomy is geared around how much carbon is used and emitted in making electric, let’s say electricity from different sources, or making aluminium or making steel. And the European Union is categorising all this systematically and pretty carefully. And that will be a guide to investors in the future, about which processes are resilient and resistant and qualified to go forward and be climate compliant with climate change and carbon reduction. So there are many actions across the whole economy much wider than we’re talking about here. And something which is actually missing, I noticed in this whole discussion we’re having as we’re having quite a technical science and tech and finance discussion. But we actually do need to engage ordinary citizens in the ordinary politics of how acceptable is this to you about converting your cooker to hydrogen? Or about thinking about do we actually want to continue using hydrogen? Or do we actually really want to electrify everything which will have significant dis benefits in large parts of the economy? Or is it actually sensible to have that mixed economy with hydrogen, and with electricity, which I think most of us on this panel was alluded to as being our desired outcome.
Stuart Haszeldine FRSE 1:16:15
So that does take me into the next one. But we’ve got a few questions. Again, I’ll try and synthesise. That, why are we advocating home heating grid and fuel cell cars? When it’s so inefficient, and then are you able to speak to expectations hydrogen is a silver bullet. And I think what I’ve heard through all of this is hydrogen has got a role. It’s part of an ecosystem of energy. So I think, would I be right in saying that, in supplementing natural gas, it actually just is less efficient, but actually reduces emissions? For fuel cell? Obviously, there’s electricity generation and multiple uses. So there’s obviously potential use for fuel cell cars, for example, where you’re looking at range, but fuel for transport is largely the sort of high energy requirements of larger transport. What about going into the grid, the role of hydrogen into the grid. Is there any thoughts on that?
Stuart Haszeldine FRSE 1:20:10
I guess to me, that’s part of the medium term goal. And so as we alluded to, then they’re already experiments with a Keele University in another town in England being partly converted to 20% hydrogen in their gas grid. So that’s been running for the past two or three years, was alluded to the Scottish gas networks are busy now undertaking a conversion in South Fife, to turn 300 houses over to 100% hydrogen, which will be the first in the world to go to 100% hydrogen. So these are the first engineering tests, which are there to try and discover how feasible this is, to discover the last remaining problem, some of the last remaining problems, and to be confident that we can grow that bigger and bigger. But there are problems in doing this in that like everything else in Britain, an agency somewhere unexpectedly pops up to discover that they can block it. So at the moment Ofgem are not agreeing to have hydrogen put into the grid on a large scale. So we have to have a conversation with the grid pipeline regulator about what evidence do they need to convince them of that. So on all of these steps take a little bit of time. But as we’ve alluded to, converting to hydrogen and capturing the carbon at source in the big factories, which convert methane to hydrogen, that is a very quick way of greatly reducing our carbon emissions, which is what the overall plan is to try and do, we wouldn’t be talking about this unless we were trying to reduce our carbon emissions.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:21:53
Thank you. Rebecca?
Rebecca Bell 1:21:55
Thanks, I was just gonna build on what Stuart saying that there’s also a lot of sort of legal and regulatory, let’s say, opportunities to overcome in terms of for example the gas act legislation, which regulates the gas market, and various bits of regulation that control how much the composition of gas in the gas grid, and these are all things that are going to require parliamentary time to untangle and to work out, not to mention all of the kind of consultation in the run up to that to work out the best way forward.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:22:36
Great. Veronica, I’m gonna ask you this. But Jamie, you might come in. Contributions from small business, how can small businesses be involved in co2, carbon capture and h2 production projects? Big thing that I like talking about, where’s the enterprise opportunity? Where should our enterprise base be investing to be able to capture some of this large scale potential capital spend?
Veronica Noone 1:23:05
Okay, a very good question at the heart of what Scottish Enterprise, the enterprise agencies are really about, you know, working on what we do. We are at the moment, looking at the energy supply chain, and how that can be transitioned to CCUS and hydrogen. And indeed other areas. And we’re working with the UK Government, there’s a big study happening at the moment with Ernst and Young on, on really trying to drill down to some of the detail there, there will be a Scottish kind of lens on that piece of work as well. That’s just the information on the supply side. But at the same time, we need to understand the demand side. So we’re looking at some of the demonstration projects, and looking at the supply chain requirements of those demonstration projects, what is being produced, where and who’s producing it, so that we can get an idea from that once projects are scaled up of what will be required from the supply chain, and that will be large and small companies. And it’s our role really, then, as we develop this, this proposal, this agenda rather to try and show the pipeline to give visibility to the pipeline of projects as it comes through. So on the one hand, knowing who to talk to on the supply side, is also about providing that information about projects as they come through. And that really is our role in terms of you know, providing input, expert support to show companies what they might do have to do to transition into certain parts of the supply chain. We’ve been doing that and offshore wind for a long time now with the oil and gas sector for instance, getting companies in to look at the opportunities there, we would see a role for more of that within this sector as well. We have to build up that capability. And that’s what we’re doing, we’re putting the building blocks in place for that. And similarly, with offshore wind, massive opportunities through ScotWind, we need to be talking in some depth to all of the developers about their plans in their supply chain plans, that’s all part of this story as well.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:25:26
Thanks Veronica. Jamie, building a supply chain. If a marine engineering company wanted to get into this, where would you say they should invest then? And in skills and capabilities?
Jamie Dempster 1:25:43
Yeah. So I would answer this with do your research. You know, there’s so much information available on all of these hydrogen projects. And if you have a particular expertise that you think you’re capable of, and you can, you know, you think you can deliver on, you know, identify that with all these projects, don’t just come to developers asking, you know, what do you think we can do? Come with solutions, opportunities. I mean, I remember speaking with ERM, both your four years ago, in Paris, when dolphin was just a concept, it was literally just an idea. And now they’re looking at building a 10 megawatt 14 wind turbine off the coast of Aberdeen, with government support. So that is how quickly this technology is has developed. And that also highlights just the amazing opportunities that do exist for companies that think very clearly about what the what their abilities are, and what they can do. I mean, you can go down a complete rabbit hole of research, because there’s now, you know, this is just such a hot topic. There’s just so much information out there. But, you know, do your just do your research. And then and then and through that, you know, you should be able to identify where your capabilities lie and what opportunities exist for you as, as a as a business.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:27:11
Thanks. Huge capital spend coming our way, how do we how do we how do we win as much of a share of that into the Scottish economy as we can. Now I’m just going to run through of got confirmation that you can’t use an electric motorway, you need torque. I’ve got unless somebody shows their hand, I won’t ask anybody to answer this. But what is the horizon for replacing petrol or diesel in transport systems with hydrogen or electricity? And I think that’s a really interesting question. Because will it be driven, or what’s going to be the balance of regulation against availability and actually market capability? So I think that’s a really interesting one. And I just I don’t know, my view would be that we’re just too far out to be able to see that. And we’ve got to get into how we can produce the hydrogen, how we can produce the electricity, how we can produce charging points, but there’s also the aspect, I gather on producing batteries and such like so unless somebody shows a hand, I’m not going to ask you to come in on that. An interesting point, then came up commercial deposits, and there’s only three main large commercial or, presumably, it’s on the white hydrogen, but have been found accidentally because nobody’s been looking for it. So again, any any thoughts as to what might happen if we went looking for for naturally occurring hydrogen. Stuart, go on?
Stuart Haszeldine FRSE 1:29:02
So I think it’s it is a truism that you find what you look for. And if you’re not looking for it, you tend not to find it. So the boreholes in, you know, the Mali excursion, which somebody noted, again, was found drilling for something completely different. They weren’t drilling for hydrogen, they were drilling for oil, perhaps, but they found hydrogen by mistake. But it’s also true that although there’s not been a coordinated exploration effort, there are quite a lot of people interested in looking for natural white hydrogen. And at the moment, that still seems not to be terribly successful, you can find more helium than hydrogen. And I still think that’s going to be because of over the long geological term. It’s very leaky, and again, contrasting leaky over hundreds of 1000s of years, millions of years, which is long and slow for most people, but to retain hydrogen is just an instant, compared with the storage of hydrogen for a few weeks or months or hours, which we’re talking about in this usage of hydrogen. That’s much easier to retain. So I’d, you know, I’d be interested to be part of a hydrogen seeking exploration effort. But at the moment, I haven’t got one.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:30:25
Question here, going back to ammonia and storage and transport, I was told that a tanker of hydrogen sailing from Perth to Singapore requires two times the energy it contains to keep the hydrogen stable through the transportation. So transporting hydrogen. And this makes the point of therefore actually storing hydrogen within the vehicle. What are the options there? And how are we going to overcome those and what is the role for ammonia?
Stuart Haszeldine FRSE 1:31:10
So I think the transport of long distance transport of hydrogen and shipping is something Japanese folks have been working on again, for many decades. And there are several companies in Japan trying to do this. And they’ve not settled on one solution. So there are organic molecules, which can be hydrogen can be converted to be carried by an organic molecule to mean that you have to cool it less, you have to compress it less. So you save a huge amount of energy in the shipping transport, whereas other folk are still actually consider it worthwhile compressing the hydrogen. But the transport is a big issue. And it’s one we don’t usually identify in the whole chain of making hydrogen through transporting it to using it. And the same applies to the liquefied natural gas, which we’re starting to import more and more of, and again, same analogy that’s about 20, or 30%, of the energy in that tanker of liquefied natural gas, has already been released in Qatar, or Australia, or wherever it’s coming from to compress it and cool it. And we don’t count that as an emission. And that’s actually a defect in the system. And we have to be cautious of stumbling into the same sorts of system defects with hydrogen. And that’s why ultimately, I still suggest that hydrogen variant green, produced in Scotland, with Scottish technology sited in Scotland and transported in Scotland and used in Scotland will turn out to be the lowest carbon method.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:32:46
Thank you. Veronica?
Veronica Noone 1:32:50
Yeah, I mean, I think as Stuart says, The jury’s still out on this has been quite a bit of work done on it is something that, you know, transporting is difficult. And I think that one of the pieces of work that we’re doing at the moment will go some way to answer some of it anyway. So we’re looking at a study which is about exporting green hydrogen, from Scotland to Germany, and you know, that Germany has set out stall in terms of its future energy, ambitions, and it really is going for hydrogen big time, and it knows it can’t produce it on itself. And is interested not just in Scottish hydrogen, but hydrogen from other parts of the world, solar generated hydrogen, So within that study, and with another, other studies that are happening and have been happening, they are looking at different options for hydrogen, transportation and storage, including ammonia, but not just that. And Stuart, can obviously be much more technical about it than me. I think we’ve still got a lot to learn here. But there are pieces of work that should start to help us pick through the sorts of things that can work over the next couple of years to help us with this. And that Scotland to Germany study is one such piece of work that’s underway just at the moment.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:34:14
Okay, and Stuart, I’ve got another question here is, if hydrogen stored in old methane fields, how does it not leak out? I didn’t know that there was a would be a plan to try to store hydrogen in old methane fields.
Stuart Haszeldine FRSE 1:34:34
Okay, two parts answers to the question, we, as a country don’t store very much methane gas at all, at the moment as methane. And that’s, again, a subject of some debate. That’s not going to be a solution to the present price hike. But as we become more and more dependent on imports of methane or any energy, we should be trying to store more to avoid the price fluctuations. If you want to store hydrogen in methane in, in geological storage, then it’s a sensible place to try and do it in fields, gas fields, like in the southern North Sea, where the seal on top of the lid is rock salt, because rock salt is got a very high impermeability, because geologically it’s like a sticky liquid. And it flows in real time, as well as geologic time. So it’s very difficult to get any fractures or leakage or pathway through that rock salt. And that’s what’s retained the methane gas in the southern North Sea for hundreds of millions of years. And all the work we’ve done shows that should be able to retain a hydrogen for a few months. And we’re busy researching, can you apply that geological storage to other areas, so of the UK, so for example, it’s possible to excavate caverns entirely within salt. And that’s an even better storage option. But that will require planning permission, money and environmental assessment before we can go ahead with that. And that’s likely to be one of the delays for these very large East Coast projects we’re seeing proposed by oil companies at the moment is that construction of caverns will probably take rather longer to get through the planning process than anticipated. But yes, storage is important. And because compared with battery storage, we can store we could in principle store months worth of hydrogen, whereas the moment with the largest batteries, we can store probably minutes worth of the city’s electricity. So batteries have a long, long way to go to catch up.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:36:40
Thank you. Now, getting back to carbon capture. And there’s a question here to Rebecca, which hopefully you’ve got, do you maintain morals for future captured commercial carbon production. A carbon stored point of view issue is availability of carbon. As surprising as it may be carbon production zones are concentrated in industrial clusters and not ubiquitous.
Rebecca Bell 1:37:10
I’m not quite sure what the question was there. I don’t know if Stuart’s able to contribute anything on models of sort of future storage demand.
Stuart Haszeldine FRSE 1:37:22
Was that a question of modelling hydrogen demand or something? I’m not, I don’t know if I’ve said. So we can infer if I interpret the question as modelling locations or where we’re going to store co2? If that’s an interpretation of the question, then yes, in Scotland, and in the UK, then we’ve been looking at that since the mid 2000s, or even early 2000s. So the storage locations for co2 are really extremely well understood, based a lot on the legacy of continuing activity in oil and gas, because we have a three dimensional geological knowledge offshore of Scotland, both to the west, the north and the east, which is unrivalled in the world really. And so that is again, one of our unique advantages, rather, like Jamie talked about our unique advantage in wind power around Scotland. So we should grasp our unique advantages and try and take advantage of them. So we know where to store, we know how to store, and the blockage to doing that is getting the projects to pass a commercial hurdle, which I think in 20 or 30 years time, if climate change continues, we’ll be laughing about these many commercial hurdles we put in the way and will regard everything as very good value, and wish we’d done it sooner.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:38:45
David, you’ve got your hand up.
Unknown Speaker 1:38:49
Yeah, thank you, Melfort. Bologna imports a lot of its gas or Italy imports a lot of his gas from outside Italy. They’ve been earthquakes in these places recently, and they’ve now decided they cannot continue to do it. Are we completely comfortable that that’s not gonna happen if we start pumping gases into the old reservoirs.
Stuart Haszeldine FRSE 1:39:14
So technical points, then re pressurising putting extra fluid or gas into the ground, effectively domes the rock and stretches the rocks, so the rocks very weak in extension, so that’s why you fracture and get earthquakes. And so forming some earthquakes is almost standard consequence of doing anything like that. And the issue then is to try and manage that, understand the geology well enough to try and minimise that and you can instal any number of seismic earthquake sensors now for £1000 a go, you can buy one for your school and record your own earthquakes at school if you want to. So that’s all feasible to do. Once again, I go back to the one of the UK advantages is that we have lots of pore space, lots of tiny holes available in the depleted gas fields offshore, where there are routinely earthquakes caused by natural causes and small earthquakes caused by oil production. And they’re not devastating consequences, they’re just part of life, nobody notices you get on with it. And that’s one of the reasons, storing huge quantities of gas offshore looks to be very tractable and attractive proposition. Because a large part of that can be easily connected with pipes, just 20, 30, 50 kilometres to transport a huge quantity of high density of hot of quite a huge quantity of energy in the hydrogen very effectively from generating sites like Jamie described with dolphin offshore and bring that hydrogen onshore. So the offshore is integrally linked. And that’s why, again, we have a good advantage in Scotland and looking forward to that.
Unknown Speaker 1:41:00
Those earthquakes never lead to leakage for the gas.
Stuart Haszeldine FRSE 1:41:06
Well, having never studied those particular sites in Italy, I’m obviously going to be hesitant about saying never. But I don’t know of any significant leakage from methane storage in Italy, or underneath Berlin, where there’s also large amounts of methane storage or underneath Paris, where there’s large amounts of methane storage. So it’s really quite well established technology. But it also comes down to how you drive that technology. So analogy is it’s all very well, having a really top quality Volvo car with all the safety equipment and everything bolted onto it and all the automatic sensors, but you can still crush it if you drive it badly. So you can manage all these sites really well. And oil and gas companies have the vast quantity of expertise and knowledge and experience in knowing how to manage these sites and run them within safe and secure limits.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:42:08
Just very quickly, what’s the compatibility of hydrogen with LPG?
Stuart Haszeldine FRSE 1:42:16
I saw the question there I saw that was could an LPG user convert to hydrogen? So I think you’d need to compatible?
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:42:25
Presumably its a mix?
Stuart Haszeldine FRSE 1:42:28
I don’t know if you can mix that. I’m going to imagine that you can probably put 20% of hydrogen in. If you wanted to the same with methane gas without changing anything significant. But I would not advise you to try this at home. [laughing]
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:42:50
Well put, yes. As I said in my introduction, there is some history which informs us that time, hydrogen deserves respect.
Stuart Haszeldine FRSE 1:43:01
If we had a situation now where somebody says, I’ve just discovered all this methane, I’ve got a great idea. Why don’t we build pipes, and put all this really flammable gas into all of our houses? Do you think anybody would agree to that? [laughing]
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:43:18
And then the biological activity bacteria hydrogen is highly reactive with rock formation water, adding collectivity bacteria, do we really recover the pure hydrogen? If we store underground?
Stuart Haszeldine FRSE 1:43:39
So hydrogens not very reactive with rock per se, because we’ve just done two or three years of experiments here. And with sandstone rock, like most of the gas reservoirs around the UK, hydrogen is spectacularly unreactive with the rock as a chemical reaction. Where you have microbes, then yes, if you give the microbes something they love to eat, such as hydrogen, and the other nutrients, maybe potassium, maybe phosphorus, then those microbes can convert that hydrogen into carbon dioxide. And sometimes if you put hydrogen with carbon dioxide, some different microbes can sometimes convert that into methane. And those are rapid reactions, which occur over years to decades of timescale. And so we also know that there are obviously plenty of natural methane occurrences. There are plenty of places where people have engineered storage of hydrogen for 20-30 years, and those reactions have not occurred. So that’s still a subject of frontier evaluation really. Trying to discover why some places are more prone to microbes and others are less prone to microbes. But one clear answer we discovered in University of Edinburgh was that if you’ve got rocks which are quite hot, hotter than 120 centigrade, then they’ve become sterilised effectively, not surprisingly. And where you’ve got rocks, which contain very saline water, then you’ve also sterilised those, again, not surprisingly, just like you’re doing any medical or cooking application. But how to divide that up more precisely, is still something we’re looking at.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:45:37
Again, just to broaden this question a bit. Jamie, if you’re going into the production of hydrogen, what do you see as sort of a mix of consumption? What’s the market?
Jamie Dempster 1:45:58
So the end users basically? Well, I kind of touched on it in the presentation, we see smaller scale, and this is already happening. Actually, in the city of Aberdeen, it’s been used in cars, it’s been used in buses. And then you start looking at kind of more heavy industrial opportunities in that it’s been looked at in vessels for offshore wind, we have what’s called crew transfer vessels or service operation vessels, which are slightly larger. And there’s already companies that are developing hybrid solutions with hydrogen as a fuel source as well. And that’s something that we’ve we’ve looked at in terms of how that will compare longer term with the current marine gas, or electric engines. And again, going back to this question torque, we actually see the hydrogen has been a bit more thrust driven, and helping us with our vessels offshore as well. And then you’ve got obviously major industrial users as well. You know, and this is where you kind of get into the debate of the heavy co2 emitters as well. There’s maybe one that’s quite relevant for Scotland, as we’ve seen, actually, the whiskey industry get quite interested in this. I think there’s already a project being looked at very close to the Moray Firth with a few key distilleries looking at taking power from I think onshore right now, onshore wind, and converting that into hydrogen and then being used that using that as a feedstock as well, because they see that as kind of an ability to kind of green their products longer term as well. So that’s already happening now. So yeah, there’s, it’s kind of almost pick an industry and there’s an opportunity with it. It’s just kind of what is our limit of, you know, thinking is possible here really, to be honest with you.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:47:55
That I think really is very good answer. It captures, what I call the the balanced energy mix that we’re going to need. And that we’re moving towards. Just going to come to Rebecca and Veronica on this question of investment in CCS and blue hydrogen, but before that, so we’re invested in producing trucks and buses operating on hydrogen. And unless anybody disagree? So I think that is one use for hydrogen because of the conversation on the inability to get torque from electric motors, then we’ve also got interesting, I didn’t know how uncomfortable hydrogen vehicles are, and complex expensive to make, and therefore not really suitable for cars, is it? I certainly didn’t know that. An interesting observation there. So if anybody’s got any other points on that be interesting. But coming back to Veronica to start with, if CCS and blue hydrogens such an obvious start point or entry point for kickoff for hydrogen, why are investors not piling into those areas?
Veronica Noone 1:49:22
Well, it depends on what you mean by investors, I guess you’re talking about finance houses, or you’re talking about companies that want to invest in this because there are some big players that are interesting and CCUS that are very interested in it. So that is already happening. And you know, there’s a whole kind of cluster of companies that are interested in investing in CCUS and hydrogen production. So look at INEOS, for instance, in Grangemouth, looking at a big hydrogen production plant there. So that’s, that’s it. That’s a pretty major investment. So are you talking about banks and pension funds?
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:50:07
Why are not investors and hugely wealthy fossil fuel industry pouring money into blue hydrogen? What you’re saying is they are
Veronica Noone 1:50:15
They are they are starting to and they are is evidence on the ground of them.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:50:22
What do those investors know, know, which is holding them back? And the answer is, Rebecca,
Veronica Noone 1:50:29
They know that they need to decarbonize their own sectors, they know that this is coming to a place near them soon. And they know that in order for them to continue making money they need to to ensure that they’re opening up to new opportunities. And this is one of the new opportunities.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:50:47
Right. Rebecca, anything to add to that?
Rebecca Bell 1:50:52
Yeah, just to add to for CCS, I guess at the moment, there’s no profit to be made. No one is going to pay you to store their co2 for them if they can just emit into the atmosphere and pay a minimal ETS price for it. So the real sticking point is how do you make money off it? And I think that’s, and that’s work that the UK Government is undertaking to, to identify these business models that will make it profitable, but until they’re in place and tested out, then I think, you know, there’s no real incentive to invest much money into it.
Stuart Haszeldine FRSE 1:51:31
Okay. So I think that’s totally true that what Rebecca just said is that the ability to capture transport and to store co2 has been available for 20 or 30 years. But the ability to make a profit out of it, or at least cover your costs, has not happened. And going back to something Jaime said that I also went to the Cop in Glasgow, and was equally impressed with some of the schisms in the Cop in that there’s the government negotiators busy negotiating obscure government legislations between different countries, moving incredibly glacially slowly. And there’s, most of the rest of the conference is composed of ordinary citizens, and activists and people who are just interested wondering why people can’t get on with doing this immediately. And so, you know, what Veronica said, I think is also true that there are there are lots of investors ranging from individual millionaires and billionaires, through to transnational corporations through to people inventing startups and new processes, who all want to do and contribute into this, be involved in decarbonisation help decarbonisation and hopefully, not lose their house over it, not lose their shirt, whether you’re a small company, a big company or a global company, you’ve still got to find a way of, of covering your costs. And that’s still stops with government, I think, who are moving slowly, because they don’t like to make a mistake, but I think are still moving too slowly, because the UK could have had this on the road learning by doing the first project in 2005. And we’ve passed up the opportunities, because of our worry about losing a few 100 million pounds here and there. And we can see, in the past two years, it’s quite easy to lose not just a few 100 million, but a few billion pounds and not really notice it too much. So again, I’m a big fan of getting on with it, as you might have gathered.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:53:36
David quickly, you’ve got to point to me.
Unknown Speaker 1:53:38
Yeah, the chemical industry used to pour a lot of chemicals into the sea and into rivers and things. And environmental legislation, stop them doing it and they had to pay for. So surely that’s what has to happen here. If you’re a co2 producer, you’ve got to pay to make sure it doesn’t go in the atmosphere. And okay, you’ll have to pass it, you’re probably pass the cost on to the customers, but you can’t just say it’s cheaper for me to put in the atmosphere and then just stick it underground or replace it by having green hydrogen. And that is got to be probably led by legislation.
Jamie Dempster 1:54:15
Yep, maybe just to jump in on that. David. Germany has increased its co2 tax from 25 euros per tonne to 30. And so, you know, they, the industry seen this requirement, and as obviously, was was why we were heavily approached and I think Scottish Enterprise were heavily approached by looking at green hydrogen opportunities. Over the last couple of years, the UK still doesn’t really have a clear position on this. And so as Rebecca has already said, you know, people don’t have to pay for it yet. Then what why would they? So it’s, you know, it’s a bit of a mute question because how real are we about this if we want to do something about it, when other company X, or countries are putting actual, you know, proper figures into legislation to make it happen.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:55:15
Rebecca Bell 1:55:17
Yeah, just to build on what Jamie was saying, absolutely. It’s about how serious we are as a country about this. But also, it’s an international, you know, it needs to be how serious we are as a global community. And if we make it difficult to produce goods in this country, then that’s not going to stop those goods being produced, it’s just going to move that production overseas, which, you know, makes it difficult for governments to take forward that kind of policy, that risks losing that many jobs.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:55:46
Thank you. Just want to just squeeze this in. This is, I’ve not how to respond to the question of how much methane is released during the production of blue hydrogen? Stuart that’s a very quick yes or no. Is it formulaic? Or does it depend, and obviously, one of the dependencies is how much carbon you collect?
Stuart Haszeldine FRSE 1:56:07
Yeah, so this is a current rampant and misconception, by many people, in my opinion, in that transferring methane to blue hydrogen in the actual chemical process, can capture 98% of the co2. And I’m reliably assured of that by several industrial chemists who are used to making this very large scale equipment by autothermal reforming. But there’s a there’s a prevailing meme going around that making hydrogen from methane will release more carbon dioxide than coal does. And that’s based on some analysis, which has taken deliberately taken the worst possible cases, for the extraction of methane out of the ground. In a very leaky system, the transport of methane in an extremely leaky system, losing 6 or 8% of methane on the way to the place where the methane is converted to hydrogen, and then assuming a lot more leakage in the gas pipe system moving from that hydrogen plant to consumers. And so I take, that may well be true in some countries, if you combine the worst of Russian pipeline systems, with the worst of United States gas distribution, but I do not think it’s applicable here. Because we know that our methane production from our North Sea, leaks less than a percent of methane, we know that the methane production from the Norwegian North Sea, which we import and buy through pipelines, releases even less than that. And we also know that the gas networks themselves transporting and supplying that methane, at the moment, methane through the pipe networks to us as consumers, measure that amount of loss, because that’s a commercial loss to them. And that is also a tiny amount I can’t remember at the moment, but it is 1 or 2% of the most. So I think we’ve got quite good information to say that this conversion, or this use of methane as a feedstock is not very leaky. But I will say that the use of methane as a feedstock to produce hydrogen will consume a lot more methane, than we do now. So we have to be careful, again, about being pulled into what oil companies may be selling, because they’re selling large amounts of methane production. So we should be careful about how much we invest in making bue hydrogen. At the start, it’s a stepping stone, but we should not take that first stepping stone and be satisfied with it. We want to see our pathway to get to green hydrogen right across on the other side of the river. So there are several stepping stones blue hydrogen is the first.
Melfort Campbell OBE FRSE 1:59:00
I just thought that was the sort of prevailing question we neded to get to that and I’m minute past my time. So I want to thank everybody. First of all, we’ve had 89 questions. I know we haven’t covered them all. But that just shows her the interest in this subject. Thank you to our presenters. Thank you to Hannah and the team for putting this together. And thank you all for joining us. You will receive a questionnaire on the quality of it. Please don’t grade me. I know I didn’t get towards the questions, but I certainly did my best. The next subject on this from the RSE is on 22nd of February, which is our final RSC investigate series on Scotland’s regional challenges on climate change. So how climate change is going to be vary across regions of Scotland. So I’d encourage you to join in that discussion. Otherwise, thank you very much. Have a good for the rest of the evening. And my apologies for being two minutes past the closing time. But thank you very much to our panellists and speakers for your input and particularly your response to the questions. Thank you everybody and good night.