The Greater Brighton region has already broken ground in the hydrogen industry.
The plans for a multi-megawatt electrolysis plant at Shoreham Port could act as a catalyst for growth in hydrogen across the region.
Home to several hydrogen technology companies, the region has a strong capacity for hydrogen innovation that, if supported, could be developed to expand its engineering excellence and allow the region to stand out within the UK landscape.
As an environmentally conscious area, it was found that local public authorities share the ambition to become a key hydrogen player and are actively participating in activities that will aid this ambition.
In the near term, this focus will be crucial to ensure the region does not miss its opportunity.
Cross-sector collaboration will be key to the region’s success. There are already strong existing relationships between sectors, evidenced by the extensive membership portfolio of Hydrogen Sussex, in turn showcasing the regions ambition to accelerate the local hydrogen economy.
In the early years, prioritising actions that contribute to alleviating the three main barriers experienced by stakeholders will ensure that resources are utilised in the most impactful way.
These barriers are infrastructure, policy and regulation at local level and demand visibility.
Focus should be placed on building the region’s current strengths, continuing to develop its engineering excellence, being proactive and ambitious in the innovation space and ensuring that the current academic excellence evolves with the hydrogen economy.
By tracking progress against the Greater Brighton Economic Board’s route map of goals, the region will ensure it stays on track to reach each milestone.
It is recommended that this route map be regularly revised to reflect progress and future ambitions that arise from success.
In summary, with the correct focus and collaboration, the region has real potential to stand out within the UK hydrogen landscape and gain economic benefits from hydrogen.
Graeme MacLean is the hydrogen incubator leader at Ricardo Energy and Environment.