Cutting-edge Scottish projects will play a key role in the plans, which are set out in the UK Government’s first hydrogen strategy.
The move to low-carbon hydrogen for fuelling everything from homes to transport will help switch away from climate-polluting petrol, diesel, oil and natural gas, according to advisers.
The new vision aims to see more than 9,000 jobs created and £4 billion of investment across the UK within the next decade.
The aim is to see 5GW of low-carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030, helping the UK achieve its climate targets – to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 78 per cent by 2035 and reach net zero by 2050.
Analysis suggests hydrogen could replace natural gas in powering around three million UK homes each year as well as powering transport and businesses, particularly heavy industry.
Scotland’s Acorn hydrogen project in St Fergus, Aberdeenshire; the European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney, which is working on trials of hydrogen as fuel for planes, ferries and whisky distilling; and the H100 neighbourhood heating trial in Levenmouth, Fife, have been named as important players in the emerging sector.
A consultation has also been launched to determine the best business model for taking the new sector forward.
Business and energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Today marks the start of the UK’s hydrogen revolution.
“This home-grown clean energy source has the potential to transform the way we power our lives and will be essential to tackling climate change and reaching net zero.
“With the potential to provide a third of the UK’s energy in the future, our strategy positions the UK as first in the global race to ramp up hydrogen technology and seize the thousands of jobs and private investment that come with it.”
Energy and climate change minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: “Today’s hydrogen strategy sends a strong signal globally that we are committed to building a thriving low-carbon hydrogen economy that could deliver hundreds of thousands of high-quality green jobs, helps millions of homes transition to green energy, and support our key industrial heartlands to move away from fossil fuels and bring in significant investment.”