"GenComm partners, National University of Ireland Galway (NUI Galway), Dublin City University and HyEnergy, have published a new report into the opportunities presented by hydrogen in Northern Ireland's green energy transition. The report was funded by Northern Ireland’s Department for the Economy to contribute to the evidence base for the development of a new Energy Strategy. It reviews progress Northern Ireland is making towards its decarbonisation goals, its unique challenges, and opportunities, and identifies the potential roles for hydrogen in enabling greater renewable energy deployment, through energy storage and reduced curtailment and sector coupling. It then identifies energy demand sectors that hydrogen could help in decarbonising, such as buses, trains, and its use in the gas grid for heating. The research team presents the results of case studies for green hydrogen, hydrogen produced by electrolysis powered by renewable electricity, and deployment in Northern Ireland in 2030. Scenarios for decentralised, regional, and centralised electrolysis and end use are explored. The results demonstrate the technical, environmental, and economic feasibility of hydrogen production and use at scale in Northern Ireland. The report goes on to explore to unique strengths Northern Ireland can bring to bear on hydrogen in the energy transition. These include world class onshore and offshore renewable energy resources, an entrepreneurial and innovative engineering and manufacturing sector, strong and modern electricity and gas interconnections with Great Britain and Ireland, and large-scale salt cavern storage sites.
The study's lead researcher, Dr Rory Monaghan of the NUI Galway Ryan Institute for Marine, Environment and Energy Research, says "This report really just scratches the surfaces of the positive impact hydrogen could make in Northern Ireland's energy transition and economy. The potential for clean and secure energy to attract investment, as well as provide local jobs in emerging hi-tech sectors could transform Northern Ireland. We hope that our work can spur further interest in hydrogen's role in Northern Ireland's energy future."