A CAERPHILLY councillor has called on the Welsh Government to explore the possibility of utilising hydrogen as a renewable energy source.

Plaid Cymru councillor Phillip Bevan tabled a motion at full council on Tuesday asking colleagues to consider the research of Mid and West AM Simon Thomas.

The Plaid politician had published a paper exploring the economic potential of hydrogen in the decarbonisation of transport in Wales.

Mr Thomas has suggested that Wales could follow the likes of Germany, Austria, China and Canada and develop hydrogen-powered trains and buses.

According to Mr Thomas, the recently-awarded Wales & Borders rail franchise and proposed South Wales Metro present “timely opportunities” to make the case for hydrogen-powered buses.

But Mr Thomas says that one of the barriers to creating a ‘hydrogen economy in Wales’ is its significant cost, adding that the existing hydrogen sector in Wales is “in its infancy”.

Despite this, Cllr Bevan asked fellow elected members to consider the findings of the report in a motion supported by Councillor Colin Mann, leader of the council’s Plaid Cymru group.

The motion also called upon the Welsh Government to talk to local authorities, businesses and researchers about holding a ‘key event’ to show Wales’ ambitions to a global audience and develop a comprehensive hydrogen economy strategy.

Cllr Bevan said: “The potential of hydrogen to help solve some of the biggest problems facing Wales now and in the future in terms of air pollution, climate change and the need for clean, renewable energy as well as great economic potential needs to be fully explored.

“Due to its versatility, abundance and practical benefits, hydrogen offers one of the main pathways to decarbonisation.

“There has been very little research conducted on the use of hydrogen for these purposes in Wales to date and there needs to discussion on how to develop a hydrogen strategy and drive forward expertise and interest in the technology.”

Cllr Mann agreed that hydrogen power could have “huge potential” if implemented in Wales.

“The key event should really be the start of a concerted programme to really get to grips and use this technology for the benefit of Wales,” he said.

“Maybe we can actually get to the forefront of some technology, we’ve just been scuppered on the [Swansea Bay] tidal lagoon by the UK Government and there’s an opportunity to get in front of the game.”

Labour councillor David Poole, leader of the council, offered his support but urged caution about the high costs of using hydrogen for energy.

Cllr Poole added: “It’s going to be an expensive fix. We need to push the Welsh Government to come out with a national strategy for Wales on decarbonisation.”

The motion was carried.