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Helping to make a hydrogen economy in the South West a reality.

A systems-based approach to accelerating the transition to hydrogen in the South West. We're translating the growing momentum from local government and industry for hydrogen to play a key role in the clean energy mix into a clear roadmap for change.

  • Service 1

Hydrogen South West

  • Service 1

Consultancy: systems thinking

  • Service 1

December 2022 - June 2023

Key Benefits

Assuring and future-proofing decision-making

by providing a sound, responsive evidence base.

Maximising opportunities to accelerate the transition to hydrogen

by identifying interdependencies between requirements.

Highlighting opportunities

for collaboration between partner organisations.

Demonstrating investment scenarios to build market confidence

to build market confidence

Providing a clear hierarchy of requirements,

enabling the development of a programme plan to deliver the road map.

Our team was tasked with delivering an industrial roadmap which would serve as a blueprint for accelerating the uptake of hydrogen in the South West. This first phase of consultancy work takes a holistic view of the wide range of factors which will have an impact on the successful transition to hydrogen, including market forces, regulatory requirements, national and local government policy, skills and training, consumer readiness and technological maturity. Given the complexity of these interconnecting factors, a systems-based approach was required to ensure that future decision-making was timely, played to the region’s strengths, enabled a ‘best fit’ approach to partner participation and facilitated the growth of the South West’s green skills economy.

We were tasked with identifying the requirements which would underpin the hydrogen roadmap within a short period of time – just six months. The outputs of this exercise allow the partnership to take an evidence-based approach to key questions such as:

  • Should this initiative be market-led or progressed with a planned approach, in cooperation with local government?
  • What is within the art of the possible?
  • How high are anticipated levels of demand?
  • How do we model the system to achieve the roadmap?

Inevitably, risk is a significant focus of this exercise. The hydrogen economy is dependent on a lot of unproven technologies, which have a far higher risk profile than established technologies. We needed to demonstrate potential investment scenarios and identify the best way to phase the implementation of these new technologies over time – in both market-led and local government-led contexts. Not only did we examine the risk factors of individual technologies, but we also explored the cumulative risk profile of connecting functions such as hydrogen movement and storage. This allowed us to build a coherent picture of the opportunities and the risks associated with each possible combination of approaches. We analysed the potential of electrolysers, salt caverns and hydrogen pipelines through the lens of the skills of the workforce, technological maturity, natural resources and facilities.

The great advantage of adopting a systems-based approach to creating a hydrogen roadmap is that we can model endless scenarios, so that no stone is left unturned. As a live system, if circumstances change, e.g., a facility isn’t built, or the data at our disposal evolves, we can simply update the scenario to understand its potential and make an informed decision about its reward/risk ratio.

It also allows the accurate forecasting of expenditure and once the optimum programme has been developed, it can then be handed over to specialist programme management teams for delivery.

Next steps

Our high-level roadmap identifies a pathway to providing hydrogen as a fuel source to industries in the South West, which is dependent on the right technologies, facilities and investment being in place. While this first phase of the study has focused on the macro requirements of the region, we have also been commissioned to deliver the second, more detailed phase of analysis which will explore the extent of future green hydrogen production. Each requirement will be translated into a systems design, culminating in a clear roadmap to achieving the transition to hydrogen in the South West by 2050.

“By adopting a systems-based approach, our partner, Costain, has provided a birds’ eye view of a complex ecosystem. The resulting high-level roadmap sets out the factors we must consider to accelerate the transition to hydrogen in the South West. “We’re excited to see the outcome of the second phase of this study, which will focus on the region’s ability to sustainably source green hydrogen.”

David Eccles, Director, Hydrogen South West

Contact and social

Aviation and integrated transport

Andy Clarke, Integrated transport director
01628 842444
[email protected]