Source of Steve Rotheram’s zero-carbon hydrogen

Ian Campbell made this Freedom of Information request to Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

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The request was successful.

Dear Liverpool City Region Combined Authority,

On 25 March 2019. Steve Rotheram announced via Twitter plans "to introduce a fleet of zero-carbon hydrogen-powered buses".

Please could you tell me the source of the zero-carbon hydrogen that will be used to power the buses.

My understanding is that hydrogen is usually manufactured from water together with electricity produced by the spare generating capacity of the national grid, which is usually a power station burning gas or coal, and so hydrogen is usually a high-carbon rather than a zero-carbon fuel.

Please could you tell me the source of the zero-carbon hydrogen that will be used to power the buses.

Yours faithfully,

Ian Campbell

FOI CA, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Dear Mr Campbell

RSN19036

Thank you for your email to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority. Your request is being dealt with under the terms of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 / Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and will be answered within twenty working days.

If you have any queries about this request do not hesitate to contact me. Please quote the reference number above in any future communications.

Yours sincerely,

Andy Henderson

Senior Information Management Officer | LCRCA | Mann Island, PO Box 1976, Liverpool, L69 3HN
Office: 0151 330 1679 | Email: [Liverpool City Region Combined Authority request email]

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

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FOI CA, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Dear Mr Campbell

RSN19036

Thank you for your recent request to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, which has been processed under the Environmental Information Regulations.

The hydrogen-powered buses that will be introduced next year will emit zero carbon emissions and can therefore be described as “zero carbon”.

The hydrogen used to power this fleet of buses will be produced from an existing BOC Linde hydrogen production plant in St Helens. The plant produces hydrogen using Steam Methane Reforming technology. Power used in this process comes from an offshore wind-derived supply

I trust that this information is of interest to you.

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the right to ask for an internal review, which should be addressed to:
Jill Coule
Chief Legal Officer / Monitoring Officer
Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
[email address]

If you are not content with the result of your internal review, you also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner, whose address is
The Information Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House,
Water Lane,
Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF
www.ico.gov.uk

Andy Henderson

Senior Information Management Officer | LCRCA | Mann Island, PO Box 1976, Liverpool, L69 3HN
Office: 0151 330 1679 | Email: [Liverpool City Region Combined Authority request email]

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

The information supplied continues to be protected by copyright. You are free to use it for your own purposes, including for private study and non-commercial research and for any other purpose authorised by an exception in current copyright law. Documents (except photographs) can also be used in the UK without requiring permission for the purposes of news reporting.  Any other reuse, for example, commercial publication would require the permission of the copyright holder.

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Dear Ms Coule,

Thank you for responding.

Please can you clarify the term "Steam Methane Reforming technology" in your reply. Do you mean the process where methane from natural gas reacts with water to produce hydrogen and carbon dioxide?

Yours sincerely,

Ian Campbell

FOI CA, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Dear Mr Campbell

Further to your email asking for clarification of the Combined Authority's response, we can confirm that this what we meant by ' Steam Methane Reforming [SMR] technology'. This process is, at present, the dominant form of hydrogen production globally and in the UK.

This is forecast to change over time towards electrolysed hydrogen. This change will be driven by the predominance of renewables-produced electricity. As one of the first places in Europe to start to make use of hydrogen at scale for transport, heating and industrial process our hydrogen mix will reflect this change. The SMR hydrogen from the St Helens plant is available today which means we can deploy the hydrogen buses quickly and consequently reducing carbon and improving air quality from our transport system. It is utilising existing plant capacity so making the production process more efficient.

We are in active dialogue with the leading players in the offshore wind sector on their options for hydrogen production and it is a key option for our tidal energy plans.

We expect that as we roll out hydrogen refuelling infrastructure across the City Region we will see hydrogen flows from electrolysed sources becoming the primary source.

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the right to ask for an internal review, which should be addressed to:
Jill Coule
Chief Legal Officer / Monitoring Officer
Liverpool City Region Combined Authority
[email address]

If you are not content with the result of your internal review, you also have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner, whose address is
The Information Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House,
Water Lane,
Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF
www.ico.gov.uk

Andy Henderson

Senior Information Management Officer | LCRCA | Mann Island, PO Box 1976, Liverpool, L69 3HN
Office: 0151 330 1679 | Email: [Liverpool City Region Combined Authority request email]

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

The information supplied continues to be protected by copyright. You are free to use it for your own purposes, including for private study and non-commercial research and for any other purpose authorised by an exception in current copyright law. Documents (except photographs) can also be used in the UK without requiring permission for the purposes of news reporting.  Any other reuse, for example, commercial publication would require the permission of the copyright holder.

Dear Ms Coule,

Thank you for responding.

Please can you clarify the term "Steam Methane Reforming technology" in your reply. Do you mean the process where methane from natural gas reacts with water to produce hydrogen and carbon dioxide?

Yours sincerely,

Ian Campbell

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Dear Ms Coule,

Thank you for your honesty in confirming that the hydrogen used to power the buses will be sourced from natural gas, and so will not be zero-carbon.

Will Steve Rotheram now issue an apology and a correction?

Yours sincerely,

Ian Campbell

FOI CA, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority

Dear Mr Campbell

Thank you for your email.

Your question falls outside of the Freedom of Information regime as you are not asking for recorded information. I would recommend directing your enquiry to [email address].

Kind regards

Andrew Henderson
Senior Information Management Officer | 1 Mann Island, Liverpool, L3 1BP
Office: 0151 330 1679 | [mobile number] | Email: [email address]

Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.

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