Wales needs to invest in climate effective hydrogen-based solutions for our issues.

Our new ministers for climate change, who are currently missing in action, have an unparalleled chance to put the environmental crisis at the centre of our recovery.

Hydrogen fuel can be produced through a number of methods. The most common today are the thermal process of natural gas reforming, and electrolysis of water, where electricity is passed through water to separate the hydrogen and oxygen atoms.

That electricity could be generated by wind, solar and hydro sources, making this a powerful tool in decarbonizing our economies.

This month marks the launch of the UK Government’s hydrogen strategy which our Welsh ministers have yet to properly comment on.

The strategy advocates for subsidies to be paid to hydrogen producers as part of the UK Government’s plans to increase the uptake of low-carbon fuel to cut climate emissions.

Wales could profit off of this and be incentivized to produce more renewable energies to nurture this economy.

Hydrogen could account for 20-35 per cent of the UK’s energy consumption by 2050, playing a key role in cutting carbon by providing a clean alternative to oil and gas in sectors such as energy-intensive industries, power, shipping and HGV lorries.

At the unveiling of the strategy, there were calls for the strategy to focus on the greener version of the fuel, made using renewables, rather than relying on production from natural gas which creates carbon emissions.

With hydrogen currently significantly more expensive than existing fuels to produce, subsidies are being proposed to bridge the gap between fossil fuels and the clean alternative to incentivise its production and use. Wales could solve a number of issues using hydrogen.

This month also marks the world’s first customer delivery of “green steel” which was produced without using coal. This groundbreaking development took place in Sweden where the Swedish venture Hybrit said it has delivered the steel to truck-maker Volvo as a trial run before full commercial production in 2026.

Volvo has said it will start production in 2021 of prototype vehicles and components from green steel. The Welsh Government must learn from this end to end proof of concept.

With steel production that uses coal accounting for around 8 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, Hybrit started test operations on this concept a year ago in its flagship Swedish plant.

The process aims to replace coking coal, traditionally needed for ore-based steel making, with renewable electricity and hydrogen. Hydrogen will play a key part in helping us reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The uses for hydrogen are definitely not limited to steel production and Wales’ issues do not end at the historic steel industry.

Rail has been recognised as one of the cleanest, greenest modes of transport. Although it has a less harmful impact on the environment than many other modes of transport, the industry is constantly striving towards alternative fuels which could help reduce its environmental impact.

Some companies have opted for battery-powered engines as a cleaner alternative, while others are turning to hydrogen to fuel their trains.

Wales has not yet thought that far ahead, with the latest rail investment by the Welsh Government being in diesel-fueled locomotives.

This is shameful for a government meant to be focusing on climate change and future generations.

Wales has a history with hydrogen, from the innovative hydrogen car company Riversimple moving to Wales to the amazing work at Menter Môn’s Holyhead Hydrogen Hub.

We must step up our efforts nationally. We have the expertise and will to make hydrogen a success, in a way not seen in the UK as of yet.

If only our government had ambition.

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