A new report analysing the opportunities presented by hydrogen in Northern Ireland’s energy transition has been published.
The study, which was carried out by research group GenComm project partners National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway), Dublin City University and HyEnergy, aims to contribute to the evidence base for the development of a new energy strategy.
It reviews progress Northern Ireland is making towards its decarbonisation goals, the unique challenges and opportunities, and the potential roles for hydrogen in enabling greater renewable energy deployment.
Demand sectors which could incorporate the fuel were also identified, including buses, trains and the gas grid.
The research team presents the results of case studies for green hydrogen, that produced by electrolysis powered by renewable electricity, deployment in Northern Ireland in 2030.
As well as demonstrating the feasibility of hydrogen production and use at scale in Northern Ireland, the report, which was funded by Northern Ireland’s Department for the Economy, also explores the unique strengths the country can bring to the wider sector.
These include world class onshore and offshore renewable energy resources, an entrepreneurial and innovative engineering and manufacturing sector, strong and modern electricity and gas interconnections and large-scale salt cavern storage sites.
The study’s lead researcher, Dr Rory Monaghan of the NUI Galway Ryan Institute for Marine, Environment and Energy Research, said: “This report really just scratches the surfaces of the positive impact hydrogen could make in Northern Ireland’s energy transition and economy. The potential for clean and secure energy to attract investment, as well as provide local jobs in emerging hi-tech sectors could transform Northern Ireland. We hope that our work can spur further interest in hydrogen’s role in Northern Ireland’s energy future.”
Dr James Carton, Assistant Professor at Dublin City University, said: “Northern Ireland is leading the way in the integration of renewables with other sectors such as transport, using green hydrogen. This report highlights the fervent prospect for hydrogen to become a key part of Northern Ireland’s economy and low carbon energy transition.”
Ian Williamson, CEO of HyEnergy and President of the European Hydrogen Association, said “We see this report as just the start of the process. Hydrogen is becoming key to the decarbonisation plans of many countries. The development of a Northern Ireland hydrogen strategy will highlight the Province’s ambition internationally. It will provide a platform for both enhanced renewable energy penetration into the region’s energy mix and deliver highly skilled jobs over the next decade.”
GenComm project co-ordinator, Paul McCormack added: “As we develop the Hydrogen road map for Northern Ireland it presents fantastic opportunities commercially, environmentally and socially for us to capture and build upon. True energy innovation is about developing and delivering sustainable solutions that meet community and environmental need. Optimising solutions with SMART H2 meets the twin goals of achieving energy security and sustainability. This report presents opportunity to translate energy innovation into action.”