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  • Journal article
    Staffell I, Scamman D, Velazquez Abad A, Balcombe P, Dodds PE, Ekins P, Shah N, Ward KRet al., 2019,

    The role of hydrogen and fuel cells in the global energy system

    , Energy and Environmental Science, Vol: 12, Pages: 463-491, ISSN: 1754-5692

    Hydrogen technologies have experienced cycles of excessive expectations followed by disillusion. Nonetheless, a growing body of evidence suggests these technologies form an attractive option for the deep decarbonisation of global energy systems, and that recent improvements in their cost and performance point towards economic viability as well. This paper is a comprehensive review of the potential role that hydrogen could play in the provision of electricity, heat, industry, transport and energy storage in a low-carbon energy system, and an assessment of the status of hydrogen in being able to fulfil that potential. The picture that emerges is one of qualified promise: hydrogen is well established in certain niches such as forklift trucks, while mainstream applications are now forthcoming. Hydrogen vehicles are available commercially in several countries, and 225,000 fuel cell home heating systems have been sold. This represents a step change from the situationof only five years ago. This review shows that challenges around cost and performance remain, and considerable improvements are still required for hydrogen to become truly competitive. But such competitiveness in the medium-term future no longer seems anunrealistic prospect, which fully justifies the growing interest and policy support for these technologies around the world.

  • Journal article
    Parkinson B, Balcombe P, Speirs JF, Hawkes AD, Hellgardt Ket al., 2019,

    Levelized cost of CO2 mitigation from hydrogen production routes

    , ENERGY & ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE, Vol: 12, Pages: 19-40, ISSN: 1754-5692
  • Journal article
    Balcombe P, Speirs J, Johnson E, Martin J, Brandon N, Hawkes Aet al., 2018,

    The carbon credentials of hydrogen gas networks and supply chains

    , Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Vol: 91, Pages: 1077-1088, ISSN: 1364-0321

    Projections of decarbonisation pathways have typically involved reducing dependence on natural gas grids via greater electrification of heat using heat pumps or even electric heaters. However, many technical, economic and consumer barriers to electrification of heat persist. The gas network holds value in relation to flexibility of operation, requiring simpler control and enabling less expensive storage. There may be value in retaining and repurposing gas infrastructure where there are feasible routes to decarbonisation. This study quantifies and analyses the decarbonisation potential associated with the conversion of gas grids to deliver hydrogen, focusing on supply chains. Routes to produce hydrogen for gas grids are categorised as: reforming natural gas with (or without) carbon capture and storage (CCS); gasification of coal with (or without) CCS; gasification of biomass with (or without) CCS; electrolysis using low carbon electricity. The overall range of greenhouse gas emissions across routes is extremely large, from − 371 to 642 gCO 2 eq/kW h H2 . Therefore, when including supply chain emissions, hydrogen can have a range of carbon intensities and cannot be assumed to be low carbon. Emissions estimates for natural gas reforming with CCS lie in the range of 23–150 g/kW h H2 , with CCS typically reducing CO 2 emissions by 75%. Hydrogen from electrolysis ranges from 24 to 178 gCO 2 eq/kW h H2 for renewable electricity sources, where wind electricity results in the lowest CO 2 emissions. Solar PV electricity typically exhibits higher emissions and varies significantly by geographical region. The emissions from upstream supply chains is a major contributor to total emissions and varies considerably across different routes to hydrogen. Biomass gasification is characterised by very large negative emissions in the supply chain and very large positive emissions in the gasification process. Therefore, improvements in total emissions are large if even small i

  • Journal article
    Speirs JF, balcombe P, johnson E, martin J, brandon N, hawkes Aet al., 2018,

    A Greener Gas Grid: What Are the Options?

    , Energy Policy, Vol: 118, Pages: 291-297, ISSN: 0301-4215

    There is an ongoing debate over future decarbonisation of gas networks using biomethane, and increasingly hydrogen, in gas network infrastructure. Some emerging research presents gas network decarbonisation options as a tractable alternative to ‘all-electric’ scenarios that use electric appliances to deliver the traditional gas services such as heating and cooking. However, there is some uncertainty as to the technical feasibility, cost and carbon emissions of gas network decarbonisation options. In response to this debate the Sustainable Gas Institute at Imperial College London has conducted a rigorous systematic review of the evidence surrounding gas network decarbonisation options. The study focuses on the technologies used to generate biomethane and hydrogen, and examines the technical potentials, economic costs and emissions associated with the full supply chains involved. The following summarises the main findings of this research. The report concludes that there are a number of options that could significantly decarbonise the gas network, and doing so would provide energy system flexibility utilising existing assets. However, these options will be more expensive than the existing gas system, and the GHG intensity of these options may vary significantly. In addition, more research is required, particularly in relation to the capabilities of existing pipework to transport hydrogen safely.

  • Report
    Speirs JF, Balcombe P, Johnson E, Martin J, Brandon N, Hawkes Aet al., 2017,

    A Greener Gas Grid: What are the options

This data is extracted from the Web of Science and reproduced under a licence from Thomson Reuters. You may not copy or re-distribute this data in whole or in part without the written consent of the Science business of Thomson Reuters.

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