It’s widely understood that we need to transition our energy to greener sources. One of these sources is green hydrogen, with pioneering businesses such as our client Protium Green Solutions leading the charge in bringing green hydrogen to market.
The Importance of Green Hydrogen
Green hydrogen offers a clean, sustainable, and flexible option for a low-carbon economy. As an energy solution, green hydrogen can be used by businesses seeking to reduce their emissions – particularly manufacturing businesses, which require large amounts of energy, as well as businesses operating fleets of vehicles.
Why Green Hydrogen?
Green hydrogen is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity from renewable energy sources. This process ensures there are no CO2 emissions.
Renewable energy is used to power an electrolyser, which separates water into its component elements. The hydrogen can then be used to generate electricity in a fuel cell, which only emits water vapour and warm air.
Green hydrogen is storable at a relatively low cost, and is able to be transported over long distances, making it versatile to be used for a range of energy requirements. This makes it a promising clean energy source that can be created, stored, and transported in the UK, helping us to reach our net zero target by 2050.
Hydrogen & Transport
Green hydrogen has the potential to significantly reduce air pollution in the form of emissions from large vehicles such as trucks, buses, planes, and ships.
With the transportation sector responsible for 29% of emissions, transitioning transport to a greener energy format such as green hydrogen will help the UK in making substantial strides towards net zero. As a result, more and more green hydrogen transport trials are being rolled out across the country, particularly in public transport.
Protium’s Hydrogen Bus Trial
One of these trials was recently put in place by Protium in South Wales. The trial saw buses fuelled with green hydrogen produced and supplied by Protium from the company’s recently commissioned installation at the University of South Wales Hydrogen Centre in Baglan, known as Pioneer One.
A route from Neath bus station to the town of Pontardawe was chosen to see how the bus performs on long hills, which is often a challenge for battery-powered buses, and a clear demonstration of the advantages of hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Students from Swansea University and local residents were among the first passengers to use the service as part of the University’s Park and Ride provision.
The First Passenger
Swansea University medical student Ali Clark was the first passenger to travel on the bus during the trial.
He said: “I was really impressed with how quiet, clean and comfortable the bus was. I studied hydrogen during my chemistry module and thought at the time that vehicles should be running on hydrogen. It’s great to actually travel on one and hope to do so again.
“A lot of the other passengers seemed to enjoy it and were asking questions and wanting to know more when they found out that they were on a greenhydrogen-powered bus.”
Other Green Hydrogen Projects
As well as Pioneer One, Protium is also developing a green hydrogen project in partnership with brewing giant Budweiser at its Magor brewery in South Wales – one of the largest breweries in the UK.
Once completed, Magor Net Zero is expected to produce more than 20MW of renewable energy and green hydrogen.
It will be the first large-scale hydrogen generation system at a brewery and will help to provide zero carbon power and fuel for all the brewery’s operations – an important step for it to become carbon neutral.
The green hydrogen will fuel the brewery’s production and its key logistics assets including Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs) and forklift trucks.
Protium is also leading the HyHAUL project, bringing together parties across the hydrogen value chain, including green hydrogen generation, hydrogen logistics, refuelling infrastructure providers and fuel cell HGV manufacturers.
The project aims to deploy an initial fleet of up to 30 vehicles to haulage operators across South Wales, helping to decarbonise the heaviest and most polluting trucks on Welsh roads, particularly those in and around the M4 corridor.
Protium In Wales
Chris Jackson, CEO and founder of Protium, said: “We’re proud to be bringing Wales’ largest green hydrogen electrolyser in operation to the fore of this green transport project.
“The green hydrogen we produce at our Baglan-based electrolyser, Pioneer One, means that we can supply these exciting new bus trials.
“Pioneer One represents the first of our three green hydrogen projects under development in Wales. It is also the largest UK deployment of the Enapter green hydrogen generating technology which won the Earthshot Prize – the competition created and led by the Prince of Wales.”
Communicating The Green Hydrogen Revolution
To summarise, it’s clear hydrogen – and green hydrogen in particular – will play a crucial role in supporting the transition to decarbonise the global economy – making a significant contribution to combating climate change.
The North East is in a particularly strong position to capitalise on green hydrogen, with a number of hydrogen projects and trials in progress since Teesside International Airport piloted the UK’s first hydrogen transport trial back in 2021. Protium is currently working on plans for a green hydrogen plant on Teesside and there are a number of exciting projects from other producers being planned.
With such cutting-edge technology, it is important for players in the hydrogen industry to clearly communicate the potential impact of their projects and the transformative effect that green hydrogen can have on businesses and communities.
Enhancing public understanding about green hydrogen and providing straightforward messaging on how it works and who it can benefit is a great way to garner support for projects and help encourage buy-in from communities and local authorities.
After all, this is something which could help all of us in the long run.
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