Wednesday 21 October 2020

Low carbon liquid fuels and hydrogen ‘are critical components of meeting net zero’

Low carbon liquid fuels and hydrogen ‘are critical components of meeting net zero’

Low carbon liquid fuels and hydrogen can play a vital role in the UK’s decarbonisation.

That’s according to Stephen Marcos Jones, Director-General of UK Petroleum Industry Association (UKPIA) who spoke to FNZ about the ways low carbon liquid fuels could deliver a fast and effective means to decarbonise transport and how hydrogen could be a 'major opportunity for both industrial and transport decarbonisation.

Mr Jones said the downstream petroleum sector is the largest producer of hydrogen in the world and can maintain and grow its role in producing and delivering zero carbon-emitting hydrogen.

Speaking about the body’s new report and how the sector can contribute to the net zero target he added: “The infrastructure is already there. Six refineries, sixty terminals, 3,000 miles of pipeline across the UK. We want to demonstrate what that infrastructure could, in the right conditions, potentially do.”

He confirmed the oil downstream sector is currently facing many challenges during the current ever-changing environment.

He said: “We are amidst a pandemic and that means there is financial distress across the UK economy but that also impacting the refineries, the downstream sector, there have been some fluctuations in demand for our products and fuels.

"We also have the Brexit discussions still unclear to what the outcome of these negotiations are going to be and what the impact would be for our sector. And finally, how we accelerate in the clean energy transition. These are the biggest questions that need to be answered.”

Findings of the UKPIA report suggest that a number of products that the petroleum industry creates and produces will be required to be part of this green transition.

He explained: “Lubricants, for example, will play an important role in lubricating wind farms. If we look at electric vehicles (EVs) also a number of component parts that go into the EV production are effectively petroleum products. In terms of light-weighting these EVs often rubbers and plastics come from our sector are key and very necessary.”

Mr Jones said he is optimistic about the petroleum industry that it will be able to deliver the net zero targets: “It is a huge challenge for everyone at the moment. But there is still progress.”

He mentioned two case studies, which are already happening – the Gigastack Zero Carbon Hydrogen plant, which is happening in the Humber region. This is looking in green hydrogen produced by electrolysis and powered by offshore wind.

In addition, at North West, the HyNet Low Carbon Hydrogen project -the hydrogen produced from the first plant is intended to be used as a substitute for refinery fuels currently used.

He added: “These projects are already moving forward. We are here to rise to that challenge, we need to continue this collaborative dialogue with the government to unlock this potential further.”

Written by

Bruna Pinhoni

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