Boris Johnson’s plans for the UK to be the ‘Qatar in hydrogen’ could be ‘torpedoed’ by civil servants who have’made an bet’ on clean electricity as a way to provide the nation with energy in shift away fossil fuels

  • Boris Johnson said that he wants to make the UK a ‘Qatar in hydrogen’ energy source.
  • However, civil servants are reported to be against the Prime Minister’s hydrogen plans 
  • Whitehall claimed to have “made a bet” on clean electricity at the expense of hydrogen

Today, it was claimed that Boris Johnson’s plans of making Britain the ‘Qatar for hydrogen’ could be destroyed by civil servants. 

The Government is investigating how hydrogen gas can be used to power the country as it moves away form fossil fuels. 

Whitehall officials are said to be resisting a shift to hydrogen because of their ‘bet’ on clean electricity. 

Civil servants could torpedo Boris Johnson's plans to turn Britain into the 'Qatar of hydrogen', it was claimed today

Boris Johnson’s plans of making Britain the ‘Qatar for hydrogen’ could be destroyed by civil servants, it was claimed today

The Government is exploring how hydrogen gas could be used to power the nation as it moves away from fossil fuels. A hydrogen fuel cell truck is pictured in Luzern, Switzerland in October last year

The Government is looking at how hydrogen gas could be used as a power source to power the country as it moves away fossil fuels. In Luzern, Switzerland, a hydrogen fuel cell truck was pictured in October 2013.

Hydrogen is being made as an alternative to fossil fuels in industry, HGVs, and other uses. 

It could be piped through the UK’s gas network to heat homes using compatible new boilers. 

Two ways can hydrogen be made. The so-called “green” hydrogen is made from electricity generated from renewable sources, while the “blue” hydrogen is made from natural gas.  

According to sources in government, ministers are attempting to ‘push back’ against civil servants who oppose the blue hydrogen route. 

One source claimed that Cabinet Office officials did not promote hydrogen as a viable option at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, because oil and gas giants Shell and BP are investing in it. 

According to a source close the Government, civil servants made a bet on electricity several years ago and are resistant to looking into other forms. 

The source said: ‘Much of what the civil service is doing now is reinforcing the decision that they made years ago at the expense of hydrogen. But it is the wrong horse. 

The newspaper stated that there was no mention of hydrogen in a 22 page document detailing the Government’s COP26 events. 

In a speech to business leaders earlier in the month, Johnson stated that he wanted the UK to be the ‘Qatar for hydrogen’.   

Craig Mackinlay, leader of the Net Zero Scrutiny Group, Tory MPs, stated that he believed hydrogen would be a more important part of the COP26 offer. It seems to have been completely overlooked. 

According to a source from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Government is committed towards pursuing hydrogen as part UK’s clean energy plans. 

A Government spokesman said: ‘Our hydrogen strategy outlines a clear ‘twin track’ approach to supporting multiple technologies including ‘green’ electrolytic and ‘blue’ carbon capture-enabled hydrogen production.’