Helping you make sense of the energy and water sectors


Editor's Pick Ireland: Do all roads lead to hydrogen?

Cathal  Ryan Cathal Ryan Lead Analyst
5th November 2019

This article was originally published on 12 November 2019 in Energy Spectrum Ireland

On 3 October, Hydrogen Mobility Ireland published its report: A Hydrogen Roadmap for Irish Transport, 2020-2030, which outlines how government and policy makers can facilitate the uptake of hydrogen fuelled vehicles.

Hydrogen is viewed as the cleanest fuel used to store and produce energy on demand, dependent on how green the process used to form it (electrolysis vs methane reforming). The report, compiled by Element Energy, aims to give a clear vision of what hydrogen mobility can achieve over the next 10 years and establish hydrogen as a key part of Ireland’s transition to a low carbon economy.

The report focuses on three objectives:

  • Develop a strategy to introduce hydrogen vehicles and related infrastructure into Ireland between 2019 and 2030;
  • Set out the business case for industry actors to invest in a profitable hydrogen mobility market in Ireland, and,
  • Understand the policies required for the hydrogen mobility market to scale.

The strategy suggests an initial Phase 1 deployment of hydrogen refuelling stations: three in the Dublin area with two production sites to support a fleet of 30 buses, 50 cars and 10 vans which would be owned by private businesses. The initial phase would need significant state funding: €14mn on top of private funding totalling €34mn and inclusion of green hydrogen in the Biofuels Obligation Scheme. Hydrogen Mobility hopes the initial Phase running up to 2022 will give confidence to early adopters.

Phase 2 will run to 2030, where this expansion phase will ensure basic hydrogen refuelling infrastructure is available on a national scale. Locations of the refuelling stations have been chosen to give over half the population access to hydrogen filling. To facilitate this, 76 filling stations and a series of production sites to supply the filling stations would be built, and 27 electrolysers would be required to meet demand, and would be co-located with sites of demand, renewable generation. To further enhance renewable credentials, curtailed wind could be used to fuel

electrolysers as Ireland tries to meet its 70% RES-E targets. Additionally, hydrogen could be purchased from an industrial reformer for security of supply reasons.

The delivery of hydrogen, for use in Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEV), from an industrial reformer and electrolysis from renewable sources, would be comparable to Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV) emissions savings when charged from the electricity grid from 2022 to 2030. To deliver the hydrogen road map, a number of actions need to be delivered by government:

  • A €350mn investment for all aspects of the hydrogen production chain to fulfil the reports strategy by 2030, covering costs of fuelling stations, production equipment, compression and distribution trailers,
  • Extension of BEV purchase grants and preferentual tax rates to FCEV’s to give price parity with internal combustion engines and incentivise uptake of the technology,
  • Inclusion on the biofuels obligations scheme for green hydrogen to enable hydrogen to be sold at a resonable price to customers.
  • Positioning Ireland for hydrogen expansion post-2030.

The report, although ambitious in its aims, is achievable. Although the Climate Action Plan does not include hydrogen for transport in the Governments plans to 2030, the decarbonisation of transport will not be possible just using BEVs. Hydrogen can play a key role, and this report shows the way.

If you have enjoyed reading this article and are interested in the latest developments from the Irish energy market, please contact Richard Wetherall for a free month's trial.

The Energy Spectrum Ireland (ES) service captures key developments across the energy sector and offers a timely, insight-driven overview of the need-to-know news and changes in the industry. The service comprises of two publications: Energy Spectrum Ireland, published monthly, and Ireland Energy Weekly Bulletin.