South Wales: A Frontrunner in the Hydrogen Revolution

12 April 2024

Over recent months, South Wales, with its established industrial base and ambitious decarbonisation goals, has emerged as a key region in the UK’s green revolution, with hydrogen front and centre on its roadmap to Net Zero. Hydrogen Safe recently announced its five-figure match funded commitment from the Swansea Bay City Deal Skills and Talent programme. This funding will support the creation of digital assets to enhance our Level 1 Award in Hydrogen Safety and aid in the development of a Level 2 qualification. Additionally, we will be providing training to 100 individuals across colleges within the South Wales region. Founding Director and CEO of Hydrogen Safe, Andy Lord, comments: “Securing this funding means that we can provide more people in Wales with access to the skills that they need to work safely with hydrogen.” Let’s explore why South Wales has emerged as a leading hydrogen hub in the UK.

Why Hydrogen in South Wales?

There are two main reasons why South Wales is well positioned for the adoption of hydrogen:

  • Industrial Strength: The region is home to heavy industries like steel, chemicals, and refineries that are major contributors to CO2 emissions. But many of these processes are difficult to electrify directly. Hydrogen offers a clean alternative fuel source, allowing these industries to maintain operations while drastically reducing their carbon footprint.
  • Existing Infrastructure: South Wales already has a well-developed network of pipelines and ports, thanks to its historical role in the energy sector. This infrastructure can be repurposed for hydrogen transportation and distribution, reducing the cost of setting up a new hydrogen economy.

Taking Action: Projects and Partnerships

The vision for a South Wales hydrogen economy is being translated into action through several initiatives:

  • The South Wales Industrial Cluster (SWIC): This collaborative effort brings together major players like RWE, Tata Steel, and Valero to explore hydrogen production, transportation, and storage solutions for decarbonising South Wales industries. The vision plans to deliver 113,000 jobs and unlock £30bn investment opportunities in the region.
  • Swansea Bay City Deal: This is a £1.3bn investment for 11 major projects across Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, Swansea and Neath Port Talbot aimed at supporting the regions skills in health, energy and manufacturing sectors by a world class digital infrastructure, successful universities and innovative health boards. The initiative will give local young people a pathway to access 10, 000 high quality jobs.
  • Hydrogen Centre at Baglan: Established by the University of South Wales, this centre focuses on research and development of hydrogen technologies, from production using renewable energy to applications in vehicles and fuel cells.
  • Wales & West Utilities Hydrogen Van Trial: This trial demonstrates the feasibility of using hydrogen for commercial vehicles, paving the way for wider adoption in the transport sector.

The Road Ahead

The South Wales hydrogen industry is still in its early stages, but the progress is promising. With continued investment and collaboration, South Wales has the potential to become a leader in clean hydrogen production and utilisation, not just for the UK but for the world. This transition will not only benefit the environment but also create new jobs and opportunities for local people and businesses. Hydrogen Safe has expanded its team within Wales and established a new office in the heart of Swansea city centre at Princess House, positioning us at the forefront of the region’s hydrogen industry expansion.

Stay tuned!

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