Hydrogen is the best alternative of fossil fuels, but it also brings its own challenges. Being renewable elements, hydrogen and energy go hand in hand.
Hydrogen is most commonly used in fuel cells, where it reacts with oxygen to produce electricity. Fuel cells are an environmentally friendly way to generate electricity, because they do not produce carbon dioxide or other pollutants. With all these high qualities and specifications, hydrogen has become an important aspect for researchers and developers of better energy transitions. It is undoubtedly the key to global decarbonization.
Energy and Hydrogen have a rich history together, starting with the very first engines which were internal combustions over two centuries ago and have evolved into a critical component of the advanced refining industry. It’s storable, light, energy-dense, and emits no contaminants or greenhouse gas emissions directly.
However, in order for hydrogen to play a significant role in clean renewable energy transformation, it must be adopted in sectors where it is almost entirely absent, such as transportation, power generation, and construction.
Ways of hydrogen production
Hydrogen can be produced through numerous methods such as:
Using RE sources to split water into hydrogen and oxygen in an electrolyser. Other processes result in carbon emissions, whereas this method produces green hydrogen.
Renewable energy costs are falling, and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is pushing hydrogen’s potential growth upward in political and business circles. As per industrial association Hydrogen Council, hydrogen technologies will be able to supply 18% of the world’s total energy needs in the future and will be able to power around 425 million vehicles globally by 2050.
Steel, glass, cement, and chemicals are all manufactured using industrial methods that require excess heat. This heat is currently generated by the combustion of fossil fuels. There is primarily no way to achieve net-zero emissions at a large scale without using hydrogen in these difficult-to-abate sectors.
Although extracting and using hydrogen as a renewable energy requires a lot of capital and effort, it is still one of the best substitutes to fossil fuels and other extinct resources in the near future. Indeed, it is the key to decarbonization as it will slowly but surely achieve the target of making Earth a carbon-free planet.
Rise in Global Engagement
National government’s spending on hydrogen energy research, development, and demonstration has increased in recent years, though it is still lower than it was in 2008.
The majority of national governments with regulations that directly attract investment in hydrogen technologies, as well as the segments they target, is growing.
Today, there are approximately 50 mandates, targets, and policy incentives in place that actively support hydrogen, the larger percentage of which are focused on transportation.
A variety of technical and economic factors influence the cost of producing hydrogen from natural gas, with prices of gas and capital spending being the two most crucial ones.
Cost of fuel is the most expensive component of production, accounting for 45% out of 75% of total costs. Gases that are priced low in Russia, the Middle East, and North America result in some of the most cost-effective hydrogen production. Major gas importers like Japan, Korea, China, and India have to contend with higher gas import prices, which leads to bearing higher hydrogen production costs, giving them a disadvantageous edge.
The biggest challenge in achieving the hydrogen and fuel cell potential is developing a focused, consistent, and reliable energy policy. With the ability to provide heat, transportation, and power system services, hydrogen can play a significant role alongside electricity in a low-carbon economy. It also allows additional pathways to deep decarbonization by providing low-carbon versatility and storage, making it our best choice in the near future.