“The Role of Hydrogen and Batteries in Delivering Net Zero in the UK by 2050” analysed in new report

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The complementary roles of battery and hydrogen technologies: Navigating uncertainties towards net zero

HARWELL, UK (25 April 2023) – The Faraday Institution has published a report analysing how hydrogen and battery technologies are likely to be used in different sectors within the UK, including transportation, manufacturing, the built environment, and power sectors, to 2050. Both are anticipated to play an increasingly vital role as the UK transitions to a low-carbon future to address critical concerns of climate change and energy security.

Professor Pam Thomas, Chief Executive Officer, Faraday Institution said: “Batteries and hydrogen have distinct characteristics and should largely be viewed as complementary rather than competing technologies. Both will require significant technological advance and extensive scale up of manufacturing and deployment if the UK is to meet its obligation to reach net zero by 2050. The varying timescales of their rollout leads to considerable uncertainties in predicted market share profiles over time.”

The report was commissioned by the Faraday Institution and authored by DNV. The sector analysis draws on DNV’s knowledge and experience within both the battery and hydrogen industries. The analysis uses DNV’s Energy Transition Outlook model, an integrated system-dynamics simulation model covering the energy system that provides an independent view of the energy outlook from now until 2050. The modelling includes data on costs, demand, supply, policy, population and economic indicators.

Hari Vamadevan, Executive Vice President, and Regional Director UK & Ireland of Energy Systems at DNV, said: “As we strive to decarbonise and meet net zero ambitions, the energy landscape will be evolving at a faster pace, with batteries and hydrogen being key contributors to this transition. We are delighted to showcase DNV’s unique combination of industry expertise and independent analysis from our Energy Transition Outlook model to forecast the role that each technology will play across the energy demand sectors.”

Download the report, The Role of Hydrogen and Batteries in Delivering Net Zero in the UK by 2050.



Long-term forecasting is not an exact science, and considerable uncertainties remain in the relative adoption of hydrogen and battery technologies by sector. In particular, the policy environment remains uncertain and prone to change. The report therefore provides one forecast of the likely path of technological development. The results of DNV’s model are based upon current government policy positions and the authors do not speculate on how unstated policy changes in the future may change the model’s results.

Both hydrogen and battery technologies need technology advancements, supportive business models, considerable scale up and supply chain development before they can deliver the capacities needed over the time horizon modelled. The uptake of the two technologies in each market sector will depend on the rate of technology development, infrastructure development, capital costs, total cost of ownership, customer perceptions and other policy factors.


Key findings

The role of hydrogen and batteries in delivering net zero in the UK by 2050

Battery and hydrogen technologies:

Expected energy use of battery systems

Expected energy use of hydrogen and hydrogen derived fuels

Battery technology dominates road transport while aviation starts to embrace hydrogen from 2040

Energy use of battery and hydrogen systems in different sectors

Number of UK road vehicles by engine type

UK aviation energy demand by energy carrier

Battery and hydrogen technology both have niche uses in the maritime, rail and built environment sectors

UK maritime energy demand by energy carrier

UK rail energy demand by energy carrier

UK built environment energy demand by energy carrier

Hydrogen plays a key part in manufacturing while batteries provide storage and flexibility for the grid

UK energy demand by carrier for manufacturing industry

Energy storage capacity for different storage technologies

Download figures.

Posted on April 25, 2023