UK Environment Agency Publishes Guidance on Production of ‘blue’ Hydrogen
The Environment Agency has today published regulatory guidance on the production of hydrogen from methane with carbon capture, otherwise known as ‘blue’ hydrogen.
The Agency has worked in consultation with industry, other UK regulators and academia to develop this guidance.
The guidance will help businesses design and develop industrial facilities for the production of ‘blue’ hydrogen, a low carbon energy carrier that is a key feature of the UK’s new hydrogen strategy, launched in August last year.
Hydrogen itself is a clean fuel that is widely used in transportation and electricity generation. When consumed in a fuel cell, the only product is water. ‘Blue’ hydrogen typically refers to hydrogen which has been made using methane or other carbon-based gases. The carbon dioxide produced is then captured ready for long-term geological storage.
Operators wishing to produce ‘blue’ hydrogen in England will need an environmental permit from the Environment Agency. The guidance will help businesses meet strict requirements that protect the environment and communities before they are granted a permit.
Georgina Collins, Director of Regulated Industry at the Environment Agency said: The Environment Agency has an important part to play as an enabler of UK Net Zero and we’ve been working hard to develop guidance so that operators understand the regulatory requirements for emerging energy technologies.
Hydrogen is likely to play an important part in our low carbon future, and as environmental regulator our role is to ensure that hydrogen production is conducted in a way that protects people and the environment. Our emerging techniques guidance will go a long way towards achieving that.
Aradhna Tandon, Policy Manager at Energy UK said: We welcome the guidance as an integral step for building investors’ confidence in new technologies required to meet the UK’s Net Zero targets. The industry needs a clear understanding of how these technologies will be regulated so it can be taken into account in early stages of our design and build processes.
Clare Jackson, Chief Executive at Hydrogen UK said: We are thrilled to have supported the Environment Agency to produce this guidance which will help get hydrogen projects off the ground and ultimately deliver on the UK’s climate targets.
Approval guidance gives the industry confidence in the future of hydrogen and we look forward to continuing to work closely with the Environment Agency
The guidance published by the EA helps companies understand the risks that must be managed and outlines the available techniques for preventing or minimising emissions and impacts on the environment.
As well as providing permitting advice to operators, the guidance gives an insight to the public on how environmental regulations and standards are being applied in order to protect communities from risk of harm.
This guidance covers large-scale industrial plants:
- producing hydrogen using methane (for example, from natural gas) or refinery fuel gas
- capturing the CO2 produced within the process, carbon capture (CC), or using post-combustion carbon capture (PCC) to make it ready for permanent geological storage – this is known as carbon capture and storage or sequestration (CCS)
It is for:
- operators when designing their plants and preparing their application for an environmental permit
- regulatory staff when determining environmental permit applications
- any other organisation or members of the public who want to understand how the environmental regulations and standards are being applied
The guidance covers both new plants and retrofits to existing plants.
The guidance does not cover downstream permanent geological storage or using the captured CO2.
There is also a review of emerging techniques that summarises the available evidence to support this guidance.
Published 3 February 2023