HYDROGEN POLICY: UK government announces guidance for low carbon hydrogen production

Gary Hornby


LONDON (ICIS)–The UK government has published guidelines for hydrogen producers seeking to produce hydrogen using fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage (CCS).

The guidelines cover those who produce hydrogen and aim to use it within the same installation or project, and for projects that aim to export and sell the hydrogen to third parties.  The CO2 associated with the hydrogen’s production should also be transported by pipeline or other means and stored in permanent underground geological storage facility or used as a product itself.

The guidelines have been developed between environmental regulators (Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales, Northern Ireland Environmental Agency, Scottish Environment Protection Agency) and industry stakeholders.

The guidance for production is relevant for “large-scale industrial plants” that are either new hydrogen plants or retrofits of existing plants that are typically greater than 100tonnes/day of hydrogen production capacity, equal to 140MW capacity at a lower heating value.

However, the UK government said that “smaller plants should use this guidance until further guidance is available.”

The guidance says that an overall CO2 emissions capture rates from hydrogen production should be “at least 95%” for an average performance over an extended period.

For steam methane reforming, the regulators expect that more than 95% of CO2 can be removed from the reformer flue gases, or that the plant is designed such that hydrogen is used as the fuel gas for the reformer or there is CO2 removal prior to the hydrogen purification.

For autothermal reforming and partial oxidation, which use an air separation unit, heat recovery is encouraged and that heat to be used within the rest of the hydrogen production process.

The guidelines also suggested that hydrogen producers should consider purifying hydrogen using a pressure swing absorption process.

Other sections of the guidelines surrounded waste, water usage and disposal, monitoring of processes, unplanned emissions and accidents, noise and odour.


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