Home Energy system SNP urged to scrap £100m plan to develop ‘climate destroying’ fuel source

SNP urged to scrap £100m plan to develop ‘climate destroying’ fuel source


Campaigners are demanding a rethink of £100m plans to expand the development of hydrogen as an energy source, as they fear it is inefficient and poses a risk to renewable sources.

SNP ministers say Scotland has the resources, the people and the ambition to become a world leader in hydrogen production.

However, a new report from Friends of the Earth Scotland has found it has low efficiency compared to other renewable sources such as electrification when ‘huge amounts’ of renewable energy are needed to produce it .

About 80% of today’s renewable energy supply would be needed to create just five gigawatts (GW) of green hydrogen.

The report points out that heat pumps are 168 to 342% more efficient than hydrogen boilers. Scientists have also warned that, far from being low-carbon, current hydrogen production is responsible for huge greenhouse gas emissions – around 830 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year. .

Huge costs are also generated by all the additional conversion steps associated with electrolysis, reforming, gasification and storage.

Although it is one of the most common elements in the universe, hydrogen does not naturally exist in an easily usable pure form and must be extracted from fossil fuels, biomass or water.

READ MORE: Scottish energy industry faces challenge of future demand

As an energy carrier, hydrogen is very flexible and can theoretically be used in a wide variety of applications beyond its current industrial uses, including home heating, electricity, aviation and shipping. or fuel for buses and trains.

Blue hydrogen is made from fossil fuels, but carbon dioxide emissions are captured, transported and stored (CCS).

It is most commonly used in the petrochemical and petroleum refining industries.
Green hydrogen is created by separating water from electricity through a process called water electrolysis. Globally, electrolysis accounts for only 2% of hydrogen production.

The Scottish government has set a target of producing 25GW in 2045 – the year it aims to be net zero – and plans to mix blue and green generation.


The report – Hydrogen’s Role in Scotland’s Climate Journey – found that electric vehicles are more than twice as energy efficient as hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, while hydrogen boilers can be 53-68% more expensive than electric heat pumps.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon views nuclear fusion power ‘with an open mind’

Campaigners are calling on the Scottish government to end all new public funding for hydrogen produced from fossil fuels and to prioritize electrification in crucial areas such as heating and transport.

Alex Lee, climate campaigner for Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: ‘The evidence clearly shows that hydrogen is either made from climate-destroying fossil fuels or it becomes a huge drain on renewable energy supplies.

“Whether in heating or transport, supporting hydrogen feels like a losing bet compared to direct electrification through technologies like heat pumps and electric buses.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Renewable, low-carbon hydrogen will play an increasingly important role in Scotland’s energy transition.

“Our priorities are to introduce as much renewable hydrogen into the energy system as quickly as possible, while supporting the establishment of large-scale low-carbon hydrogen production in the 2020s, linked to the capture and carbon storage.

“The Scottish Government is fully committed to helping the hydrogen sector grow and grow.

“We are investing £100m in renewable hydrogen projects during this parliament and on top of that we have granted £15m through our energy transition fund to support the development of a hydrogen hub in Aberdeen and help the region be at the forefront of the net zero transformation of the energy sector.