Discussing the future for Hydrogen Development in Northern Ireland

Hydrogen NI, the industry group that represents the voice of the clean hydrogen sector in Northern Ireland, has welcomed senior leaders from across industry, government and the public sector who have a shared interest in delivering a successful, clean hydrogen economy in Northern Ireland.

Delivered in partnership with KPMG, the event was held at the Europa Hotel in Belfast on Thursday 23 February, where attendees heard how Northern Ireland has the potential to be a world-leader in the hydrogen economy, presenting major opportunities for job creation.

Keynote speaker, Alison Conboy, Deputy Director Hydrogen Production, Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, says hydrogen has a significant role to play in the UK economy:- “Low-carbon hydrogen is a critical enabler of UK energy security and the transition to net zero emissions. We expect our vision of 10GW hydrogen production capacity by 2030 to support 12,000 jobs and £9 billion in private investment. The UK is a great place to build hydrogen, and we have a strong pipeline of investable projects right across the country. It has been a pleasure to take part in this event and hear about the action and enthusiasm for a hydrogen economy in Northern Ireland.” 

Gary Borland, KPMG and the event sponsor says:- KPMG is delighted to support Hydrogen NI. Northern Ireland is ideally suited to develop a thriving hydrogen economy with its high levels of wind energy, a modern hydrogen-compatible gas network, natural storage facilities and a world-leading engineering sector.

A joined-up approach across government and industry will be crucial to deliver our hydrogen ambitions.”

Hydrogen NI Chairperson John Palmer, Partner and Energy Specialist at Shoosmiths law firm added:- “Green Hydrogen, a clean and versatile fuel, has the potential to play a key role in the energy transition, from decarbonising heat to powering vehicles from cars to heavy-duty trucks, buses, trains, and ships.

“Northern Ireland has the potential to be a world-leader in the hydrogen economy, presenting major opportunities for job creation, which can underpin future green growth.

“We can already travel to work in hydrogen powered buses and we have a Hydrogen Centre of Excellence being built in Ballymena, estimated to be operational by 2025 which will provide training in hydrogen development from apprentices to university graduates. Nurturing a clean, home-grown energy supply will boost our energy security by replacing expensive imported fuels and allow us to make the most of our market-leading levels of renewable generation. Growing the green hydrogen economy is a means to tackle climate change and our current energy crisis.”

The Ballylumford Power-to-X Phase One project, based in Islandmagee in County Antrim was granted almost £1m in 2022 by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), to examine maximising wind power by storing excess generation as hydrogen over a 12 month period. The findings, which were published earlier this month[i] revealed that a fully-green gas network in Northern Ireland is possible.

David Surplus OBE, managing director of B9 Energy Storage Ltd, one of the Ballylumford Power to X project team members has welcomed the news:- “We’ve not only established the technical viability of having a 100 percent hydrogen transmission pipeline here, but also longer duration and higher capacity storage options to help bolster regular energy supplies across Northern Ireland and ensure full utilisation of existing and future wind farms.

“We’ve also created the design and specification of electrolyser and gas blending panel systems.

“A fully green hydrogen economy is possible; now we need actions to make it happen and that will depend on more collaboration between government, regulators and the gas, electricity and transport sectors.”

[i] https://ballylumfordp2x.co.uk/pioneering-hydrogen-project-drives-northern-ireland-closer-to-net-zero/