Hydrogen is cropping up more and more in discussions about sustainable fuels. Forward-thinking NHS trusts may wish to start thinking now about utilising it in the future.
How does hydrogen work as a fuel?
At present, hydrogen is still a relatively untapped clean fuel source, although there are hydrogen hubs springing up around the UK. For example, The North of England’s gas distributor, Northern Gas Networks (NGN), has announced it is collaborating with BP to explore the potential of hydrogen for meeting the Government’s target of Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050.
There is much discussion around blue and green hydrogen (and the numerous other colours), and the differences between them. Blue hydrogen comes from natural gas being split into hydrogen and carbon dioxide, with the CO2 being captured and then stored. Green hydrogen, on the other hand, is generated from surplus renewable energy and is ultimately seen as the most desirable option, although at present it is the most expensive. Using direct onsite combustion, hydrogen is able to be utilised as a fuel source.
How can hydrogen be utilised in the healthcare sector?
With hydrogen still just in the discussion stage for many, there may be an understandable reluctance for organisations, including those in the healthcare sector, to think about investing in it. Rather than thinking about introducing hydrogen immediately, an option for trusts is to make sure equipment is hydrogen-ready.
Hydrogen offers a clean, highly efficient fuel source that creates minimal carbon emissions, and it is being speculated that it could be our main fuel source in a decade's time. Considering now how hydrogen could be introduced in the future, will ensure that the healthcare sector isn't left behind.
If trusts are looking for guidance, Veolia can start a conversation around hydrogen, and how it could fit with hospitals' existing infrastructure. We can offer advice on long-term hydrogen strategies, including safety and permits, as well as simply providing more information and discussing the feasibility of introducing hydrogen at different sites. Without the pressure of committing to definite actions, at this stage we can open up the discussion, and collaboratively work out your options for being ready for hydrogen.