How hydrogen can fuel a transport revolution


This latest report, from UK think tank the Centre for Policy Studies looks at the government’s approach to transport decarbonisation.

The UK Government is committed to reaching Net Zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Transport is now the biggest contributor to emissions – and the main driver of dangerously high levels of air pollution in many towns and cities. This report argues that the approach to transport decarbonisation must not leave certain vehicles behind, and in doing so forfeit significant future economic opportunities. The think tank is urging the Government to ensure progress is made on cleaning up not just cars, but heavy duty vehicles as well – like buses, trucks, trains and ships – where hydrogen power is much more suitable than electric batteries, and include this approach in the overarching strategy being developed by the Department for Transport. ‘Driving Change’, authored by Eamonn Ives, calls for hydrogen to be given a much bigger role in transport decarbonisation by using the UK bus fleet as a testbed for the technology. Embracing hydrogen would also give Britain an opportunity to lead the world in a vital sector and create thousands of green jobs – at a time when other economies are moving quickly to seize the global hydrogen market. On 27 May, for example, the EU announced plans to establish a €10 billion fund to develop renewable energy and clean hydrogen projects and install up to two significantly increase the number of million hydrogen vehicle charging refuelling stations by 2025. The report also points out that Britain will likely need a hydrogen infrastructure to help decarbonise other sectors, such as domestic heating and industrial processes, so it makes sense to lay the groundwork now – and ensure that the UK is at the forefront of a new, low-carbon industry with significant export potential. The report contains a range of specific recommendations, including: Setting out a UK-wide hydrogen strategy before COP26, and establishing a cross-departmental working group Ensure that Britain develops an adequate hydrogen infrastructure, including investment via the Government’s clean energy funds Setting a target of 2038 for the UK bus fleet to become zero-emission Developing individual strategies within the Transport Decarbonisation Plan for decarbonising HGVs and LGVs, buses, trains, shipping and aviation Reforming the Bus Service Operators Grant and Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation Introducing clean air targets in line with WHO guidelines and strengthening Clean Air Zones.

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