The National Hydrogen Strategy sets out the strategic vision on the role that hydrogen will play in Ireland’s energy system, looking to its long-term role as a key component of a zero-carbon economy, and the short-term actions that need to be delivered over the coming years to enable the development of the hydrogen sector in Ireland.
The Strategy is being developed for three primary reasons:
1. Decarbonising our economy, providing a solution to hard to decarbonise sectors where electrification is not feasible, or cost-effective
2. Enhancing our energy security, through the development of an indigenous zero carbon renewable fuel which can act as an alternative to the 77% of our energy system, which today relies on fossil fuel imports
3. Developing industrial opportunities, through the potential development of export markets for renewable hydrogen and other areas such as Sustainable Aviation Fuels
The Strategy considers the needs of the entire hydrogen value chain including production, end-uses, transportation and storage, safety, regulation, markets, innovation, and skills.
It also sets out that Ireland will focus its efforts on the scale up and production of renewable “green” hydrogen, as it supports both our decarbonisation needs and energy security needs, given our vast indigenous renewable resources. Renewable hydrogen is a renewable and zero-carbon fuel that can play a key role in the “difficult-to-decarbonise” sectors of our economy.
In the coming years, renewable hydrogen is envisioned to play an important role as a zero-emission source of dispatchable flexible electricity, as a long duration store of renewable energy, in decarbonising industrial processes, and as a transport fuel in sectors such as heavy goods transport, maritime, and aviation. The Strategy will provide clarity for stakeholders on how we expect the hydrogen economy to develop and scale up over the coming decades, across the entire value chain.
Launching the National Hydrogen Strategy, Minister for Transport, Climate, Environment and Communications Eamon Ryan said: “This strategy sets out our vision for how hydrogen will be produced and used in Ireland, as well as what needs to be done to enable the development of Ireland’s hydrogen sector, providing greater certainty on the role that hydrogen will play in the Irish energy system and delivering an important first step in the establishment of a significant hydrogen industry in Ireland. “
Among the 21 short term actions in the strategy to enable a development of the hydrogen sector in Ireland are the idea of developing a plan for transitioning the gas network in Ireland to hydrogen with a timeframe of 2023-26.
The strategy also wants to progress work to identify and support the development of strategic hydrogen clusters. Case studies referenced in the document includes the Galway Hydrogen Hub with GenComm as a Partner and the University of Galway as a stakeholder.
GenComm is the first hydrogen supply chain on the island of Ireland with hydrogen being produced by an electrolyser on the Long Mountain site in Co Antrim to provide for buses in Belfast.
GenComm Programme Manager Paul McCormack said: “Ireland’s decarbonisation routemap now has Green Hydrogen co-ordinates, these will assist us all in our navigation to ‘realzero’ and assist in building a green economy.”
Further work will be undertaken to assess the role that integrated energy parks could play in our future energy system including their potential benefits and the possible barriers that may exist in a timeframe of 2023-25.
The strategy will also establish an early hydrogen innovation fund to provide co funding supports for demonstration projects across the hydrogen value chain.