Greater Brighton is giving a £25,000 kickstart to plans for a low carbon hydrogen economy for the region.

The money for Hydrogen Sussex was agreed by the Greater Brighton Economic Board (GBEB) as part of the Greater Brighton Energy Plan, which aims to tackle climate change and help the city region become carbon neutral by 2030.

The board – made up of seven councils along with businesses and universities – aims to lead the way in switching to cleaner, renewable power and laying the foundations for the development of a thriving low-carbon economy. Hydrogen Sussex’s work centres on the creation of a hydrogen industry that could eventually support more than 9,000 jobs and attract £4 billion in private investment to the UK.

GBEB chairman Cllr Peter Lamb said:

“Switching to greener fuels like hydrogen is essential as we push for net-zero emissions to limit climate change. Hydrogen will play a vital role in the development of an affordable, zero-carbon energy system.

“We want to lead the way in the Greater Brighton region by becoming cleaner and greener. This initiative is an important step towards reducing our carbon footprint and helping us develop new green industries for the future.”

Hydrogen is a key fuel in the route to net zero. It can be produced, stored and used without any carbon emissions, and is essential in decarbonising many areas of the economy, including transport, maritime and aviation, and industrial processes.

Hydrogen Sussex was launched in February 2021 to support the development of a low carbon hydrogen economy across Sussex. Its members include local authorities, businesses, transport providers, utilities companies, colleges, the universities of Brighton and Sussex and many other organisations.

Abigail Dombey, Chair of Hydrogen Sussex, said:

“We’re delighted that Hydrogen Sussex has received this funding from Greater Brighton. Hydrogen will be key for us achieving net zero.

“There are a lot of really exciting hydrogen projects taking place across the region. This award will identify our strengths as a region and help us and our members take the next step in attracting funding opportunities to the area.”

GBEB’s £25,000 of funding will pay for strategic work and to appoint a specialist consultant to advise on future projects. This follows almost £14,000 that was given to Hydrogen Sussex last year for training and development.

Further funding will be needed by Hydrogen Sussex but it is hoped that will come from commercial investments as well as partnerships with public and private sector organisations.

Hydrogen Sussex has worked with its members on projects developing the technology to support the use of hydrogen to power large vehicles like bin lorries, buses and emergency vehicles, and to find potential locations in the region where hydrogen could be produced using renewable energy.

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