We spend 60 seconds with David Eyton, Group Head of Technology at BP

Where does BP see the potential for hydrogen to play a role in the energy transition?

At BP we see hydrogen playing an important future role as an energy vector and industrial feedstock.  It has potential for broad application across the energy system and appears particularly valuable in delivering heat to industry and buildings where it can provide an effective solution for inter-seasonal energy storage.  It also appears prospective as a fuel for heavy transport, including long-distance marine.  Further, we see interesting potential for hydrogen to distribute low-carbon energy across sectors and regions, including via chemical carriers such as ammonia.  In summary hydrogen (and CCUS) will be an essential complement to electrification of the world’s energy system over the long-term.

What hydrogen related innovation, application or technology makes you most excited for the future?

As a global energy provider, we are excited by technologies which enable large-scale low-carbon hydrogen production. ‘Blue’ hydrogen, produced by natural gas reforming with carbon capture and storage, is currently the lowest cost source of low-carbon hydrogen at scale and we think this technology will be a vital enabler for the widespread use of hydrogen. We also think ‘green’ hydrogen, produced using renewable energy with water electrolysis, will play an increasingly important role, particularly in parts of the world with high renewable energy potential. We recognise the need to demonstrate and scale both these technologies and are actively looking at opportunities.

Which area of hydrogen development and deployment is your company investing in currently?

We use large amounts of hydrogen in our refinery operations which is typically generated from fossil sources. In 2018 BP’s Lingen refinery in Germany became the world’s first refinery to use green hydrogen from water electrolysis to meet a portion of its hydrogen demand, helping to lower the carbon footprint of its products. We have also been working with Uniper to examine the feasibility of a power-to-gas plant at the refinery. We continue to look for opportunities to reduce emissions across our refinery portfolio and are currently investigating options to further use green hydrogen.

Are there any inspiring or exciting hydrogen related projects going on outside of your company, or with your partners, that you would like to tell us about?

BP is working with a diverse set of partners on exciting hydrogen-related projects, including two projects connected with our Rotterdam refinery. In one project we have partnered with Nouryon and the Port of Rotterdam to explore the feasibility of building a 250 MW water electrolysis facility to produce green hydrogen using renewable energy. If built, this production facility would be the largest of its kind in Europe. In another project called H-vision, BP is collaborating in a detailed study exploring the large-scale production and application of blue hydrogen in the Rotterdam industrial area. This would enable local industry, including our refinery, to substantially reduce emissions with the captured CO2 stored in depleted North Sea gas fields or re-used as chemical building blocks.

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