Exporting opportunity: how investing in hydrogen can support exports

By Rachel Tynski, Senior Digital Communications Manager at UK Export Finance


Tackling climate change and aligning government support behind clean growth industries is a top priority for the UK. To realise its vision for a Green Industrial Revolution, the UK must take advantage of the significant export opportunities in emerging overseas markets in low-carbon technologies and services.


A key area of opportunity is in hydrogen – a versatile replacement for high-carbon fuels that will promote sustainable energy as we reduce emissions in the UK. The government’s Hydrogen Strategy sets a target of 5GW of production capacity by 2030, as part of our vision to become a world-leading hydrogen economy.


Meeting this target will be the equivalent of replacing natural gas in powering around 3 million UK home each year, as well as a substantive impact on transport and heavy industry. Hydrogen technologies can help heat our houses, unleash fleets of hydrogen HGVs across the country and provide the fuel needed for heavy to abate sectors, such as steel or glass making. Renewable energy is not only cost effective, it’s also key to long-term energy security.


But the benefits of investing in hydrogen don’t end at home – developing world-leading hydrogen technologies will unlock export opportunities for UK businesses, creating jobs and bringing business to our exporters.


Projected export opportunities for the UK’s low-carbon sector are estimated to be between £60 billion and £170 billion by 2030. The government’s Ten-Point Plan for a green industrial revolution is designed to capitalise on our export potential by mobilising £12 billion of government investment, with potentially three times as much from the private sector, to create and support up to 250,000 green jobs.


At UK Export Finance, we are innovating to support the green energy revolution, activating supply chains at home and seeking projects around the world to help UK businesses seize the opportunities of green trade.


In September, we unveiled our first-ever climate change strategy, with a target of net zero emissions across our portfolio and operations by 2050. As part of that commitment, UKEF has offered green economy exporters access to increased lending capacity through its Export Development Guarantee, providing extended repayment terms so green exporters can seize new opportunities and invest in future green technologies.


Johnson Matthey is just one of the exporters taking advantage of this support. We recently announced £400 million in backing for the company to invest in research and development of sustainable technologies, including hydrogen.


Investing in hydrogen and supporting its exports will secure cleaner energy at home and win business abroad – making a healthy, prosperous future for the UK while protecting the planet.

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