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Championing Hydrogen: Q&A with Clare Jackson

28th Feb, 2024

Image of Clare Jackson, our Head of Innovation - Low Carbon at Gemserv.This is Clare Jackson, she is the CEO of Hydrogen UK.

The leading trade association, Hydrogen UK (HUK), has come a long way since it launched in November 2021 and this week welcomed its 100th member. Through the commitment of the HUK team and the hard work of industry and policy makers the hydrogen industry now stands on the brink of large-scale commercialisation. However, there is still much to be done if hydrogen is to play a key role in delivering Net Zero.

HUK has a crystal clear vision, to support the development and deployment of Hydrogen solutions and make the UK one of the very best places in the world to invest in hydrogen.  The role requires constructive and collaborative engagement with industry, policy makers and the investment community as they look to develop a world leading hydrogen value chain in the UK. Clare can often be seen and heard in the media, with her fair share of challengers and cynics but her refreshing and passionate approach to Hydrogen has delivered real progress and some significant milestones for their mission. She will be again setting out their vision this week as she joins industry colleagues to mark Hydrogen Week.

Gemserv spoke to Clare to share her thoughts on the story so far and where she sees both challenge and opportunity in the run up to the next UK election.

Q: Clare, it’s just over two years since HUK launched. How involved is HUK in conversations with government and their plans for net zero?

Hydrogen UK is committed to working with industry and government to ensure that hydrogen plays the role that we know it must play if we are to deliver not only on net zero but also deliver energy security and economic prosperity. The UK government has set an ambitious but deliverable target of 10GW of low carbon hydrogen by 2030, and we have been working with them closely over the past couple of years as they develop the policy frameworks that will enable industry to deliver on that target. The input from the our members is critical to ensuring that those frameworks maximise the benefits for the UK energy system and economy and HUK has worked hard to facilitate, synthesise and input into those conversations.

Q: Why is Hydrogen Week important?  Do Industries and businesses know enough about its benefits or are we will a long way off?

Hydrogen Week is a great opportunity to raise awareness of not just the importance of hydrogen but the exciting activity that is already going on. Hydrogen UK will be supporting this in a number of ways, we ran our 2nd Hydrogen Investment Forum in partnership with the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, I am speaking at the North West Hydrogen event in Liverpool as well as the WEEF webinar event.

Q: Can you tell us briefly about the Ammogen project?  Why is this so important?

Ammogen is a world leading demonstrator project which goes live next month and will be the world’s largest and most efficient ammonia cracker. We know that transporting hydrogen globally will be increasingly important, the EU has already indicated that it anticipates that 50% of its hydrogen will come from imports. Getting the cost of imported hydrogen as low as possible will be important for ensuring that we can accelerate decarbonisation globally. The world leading technology behind Ammogen, provided by H2SITE, is an important piece in the jigsaw as we look to build a global hydrogen ecosystem.

Q: Are there other countries who are leading the way with Hydrogen?

The opportunity presented by hydrogen has not been lost on many countries and we are seeing rapid investment into solutions globally. The UK is really well placed to emerge as one of the global leaders and Hydrogen UK is committed to making that a reality.

Q: Do you think a change of government may give HUK more support in realising its ambitions?

One of the great things in the UK is that there is cross party consensus on the importance of hydrogen. HUK is looking forward to working with whatever administration is in power after the elections. 2024 is an important year for hydrogen with some important policy decisions and project contracts to be signed so we’re keen to minimise any disruption from the election on those timelines.

Q: Where would you like to see HUK in the next five years?

In five years time, I would like to see the hydrogen industry thriving in the UK, delivering on our net zero ambitions and creating thousands of jobs. As for Hydrogen UK, I’d love to see us continuing to support industry in these ambitions.

Q: Finally, are there enough women like yourself in the energy industry? How would you encourage other women to get into the field?

I mean, are there ever enough women? We have some great women leaders in the hydrogen industry, two out of the three HUK Vice Presidents have been women and there are countless other examples of strong female leadership across the sector. Hydrogen is the progressive, cool kid of the energy sector and we need more women to come and be a part of this exciting new area.

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