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An investment-led approach to analysing the hydrogen energy economy in the UK

Houghton, Thomas C. and Cruden, A.J. (2009) An investment-led approach to analysing the hydrogen energy economy in the UK. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 34 (10). pp. 4454-4462. ISSN 0360-3199

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Abstract

The authors propose an alternative, investment-led approach to analysing the potential for the development of hydrogen energy in the UK. The UK economy is relatively sensitive to movements in world fossil fuels markets since the energy sector contributes at least 5% of UK GDP and represents an asset pool of at least £230 billion. Much of the ongoing research to assess possible scenarios for the development of alternatives to existing energy systems, including hydrogen energy, in the UK is built around the cost-optimising MARKAL model. The authors believe that this approach offers an incomplete picture of hydrogen energy deployment since it ignores the mechanisms dictating the flow of commercial capital to the sector and they suggest an alternative model based on the risk-adjusted value proposition. Initial analysis shows that valuation differentials already exist between companies in the fossil fuel, utilities and fuel cell sectors and that this might be exploited to the advantage of investors thus affecting the speed of development in hydrogen energy. It should be noted that the following represents work in progress and the authors intend to publish an extended analysis in due course.