Green hydrogen is increasingly critical to fostering an energy transition and providing a sustainable future. The lower cost of manufacturing green hydrogen from renewable power and the desire to reduce greenhouse gas emissions have given clean hydrogen an exceptional surge in popularity.
Hydrogen fuel can form the foundation of global decarbonization efforts in many sectors, such as industry, transportation, energy storage, and others. Yet, despite all the reasons for optimism, many people still need to learn what green hydrogen is and how it can change how we power our lives. Therefore, this article will enumerate some of green hydrogen's advantages and applications.
Green Hydrogen Comes from a Simple Chemical Reaction
We can produce hydrogen through various techniques, but the most common is electrolysis. In this process, water is electrolyzed to produce hydrogen gas (H2) and oxygen gas (O2). We can then capture and store both products under high pressure for later use. We consider hydrogen "green" when it is produced from renewable sources (such as hydroelectric, solar, wind, etc.) and not from fossil fuels like petroleum or coal. Furthermore, hydrogen is a clean fuel, emitting only water and heat as byproducts.
Long-Term Energy Storage Is Crucial for Sustainability
Many old arguments against renewable energy sources are no longer relevant, making them a perfectly viable alternative to fossil fuels. Nevertheless, there are several legitimate limitations hidden among the many misconceptions. For example, one of renewable energy's most significant disadvantages is its dependency on natural forces. Previously, there was no wind power if there was no wind. Likewise, there was no solar power when it was dark.
Without the ability to command the sun or winds, we have focused efforts on developing an economical system that can store the excess energy from renewable sources. Green hydrogen may be the most promising innovation for long-term energy storage.
After applying sustainably sourced electrolysis, we can store pressurized green hydrogen in special tanks. Then, when we need power, we route the gas into a fuel cell, where hydrogen and oxygen mix to make electricity. In hydrogen fuel cells, the only byproduct is water.
Green Hydrogen Can Fuel the Transportation Sector
Green hydrogen is one of the best innovations in transportation thanks to technology such as the fuel cell, offering another sustainable mobility option. Cars powered by this technology feature a hydrogen tank that links to the fuel cell, generating the engine's electricity.
Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) represent a paradigm shift in the transportation sector toward using low-emissions fuel. But, unfortunately, they presently represent barely 0.5 percent of new electric car sales. Nevertheless, according to the International Energy Agency, the market for FCEVs is starting to grow.
Hyundai has stepped up its game and claimed that it will produce 500,000 hydrogen cars by 2030, and Paris has started constructing a fleet of hydrogen-fueled taxis. In addition, cities around Europe have begun powering garbage collection trucks with hydrogen fuel cells. Finally, green hydrogen is a promising energy solution for heavy machinery, trains, planes, trucks, buses, and even ocean travel.
Industry May Look to Hydrogen to Help Decarbonization Efforts
Today, the two most common industrial uses for green hydrogen are ammonia production and the manufacture of semiconductor materials. In addition, the petrochemical industry uses hydrogen to produce ethylene and other petroleum products.
Furthermore, the steel industry is beginning to employ hydrogen. Steel is under significant pressure in Europe due to its damaging environmental impact. Clean-burning green hydrogen offers a chance to modify some of the industry's operations, making them less harmful to the environment.
Domestic Use of Hydrogen Is Around the Corner
In terms of home usage, numerous sustainable initiatives are currently underway, intending to replace the natural gas infrastructure with a green hydrogen network. This new infrastructure will supply energy and heat to families without emitting GHGs. In addition, some modern natural gas infrastructures may be acceptable without upgrades. Residents would only need hydrogen-ready appliances and home heating systems in those cases.
Many experts are hopeful that the transition to hydrogen heating will begin within the next decade, following US and UK government plans to decrease carbon emissions by 50% by 2035. In the United States, the Department of Energy launched the Hydrogen Shot effort, which aims to cut hydrogen fuel costs to below $1 per kilogram within ten years.
Green Hydrogen Can Leverage Its Versatility to Help Build a Renewable Power Grid
Green hydrogen is unquestionably playing a crucial part in the economy's decarbonization. Renewable energy will indeed drive the post-COVID-19 world. However, obstacles to implementation remain, such as lowering costs, optimizing storage, and installing the minimum infrastructure necessary. Nevertheless, with sufficient government and public buy-in, green hydrogen can help the rise of renewables, no longer being the sustainable fuel of the future, but of the present.
Avoid Peak Hours – Lowering your energy consumption during peak hours is a great way to lessen energy demands and save some cash. This is especially helpful for the renewable energy supply.
Electrify Your Mobility – Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) are available but represent a small market share compared to regular EVs. However, if you draw your energy from a renewable source, an EV is the perfect next step to lower your carbon footprint.
Incentivize – Several large companies have embraced hydrogen fuel, including Walmart and the grocery chain Wegman's. Check out the sustainability statements on the website of your favorite companies to see which ones are on board.