Hydrogen is one the most abundant elements in our universe and here on earth. And as the world’s fossil fuel supply continually diminishes while causing huge harm to earth’s climate hydrogen, “green hydrogen” is the most reliable alternative to carbon fossil fuels as it leaves zero greenhouse gas residues and can be used at any time of the day or night as well as in any weather conditions unlike solar and wind renewables.
Water and electricity are required to create hydrogen. ”Green” hydrogen, or green H2, is the production of hydrogen gas via electrolysis using only renewable power sources, and therefore the only byproducts are oxygen and heat, meaning zero carbon emission at the point of use.
H2, as a form of green energy, is fast becoming a significant factor in the planning of future energy productions and is anticipated by analysts from Wood Mackenzie, BNEF and McKinsey to become more widely competitive as an alternative energy source by as early as 2030, as economies of scale drive-down the cost of electrolysers and the price of wind and solar power continues to fall.
McKinsey wrote in a recent report for the Hydrogen Council: “Within five to ten years — driven by strong reductions in electrolyser capex of about 70-80% and falling renewables’ levelised costs of energy — renewable hydrogen costs could drop to about $1-1.50 per kg in optimal locations, and roughly $2-3 per kg under average conditions.”
What is "Green" Hydrogen?
As of 2020, the majority of hydrogen (95%) is produced from fossil fuels by steam reforming or partial oxidation of methane and coal gasification with only a small quantity by other routes such as biomass gasification or electrolysis of water. Green hydrogen is made through a chemical process known as electrolysis. This process uses a clean electric current (from a renewable source) to separate hydrogen from the oxygen in water (H20).
Hydrogen is the most abundant element on Earth and indeed the Universe. It is fast becoming a central pillar of the energy transformation required to reduce global carbon emissions and support a progressive move away from the reliance on hydrocarbons.
Hydrogen has been safely produced, used and handled for a range of industrial processes for more than 50 years. Today, around 70 million tonnes of hydrogen is produced each year, of which two-thirds is pure hydrogen and one-third is a blended mix with other gases. This equals about 4% of global final energy and non-energy use according to the International Energy Agency (IEA) statistics.
In the 1990’s, the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) proposed that a “2-degrees” warming scenario, as an upper limit of global warming, was necessary to avert the worst consequences of climatechange.
Today, in order to sustain those targets, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggest cuts of over 70% in global carbon emissions by 2050 will be necessary. However, other analysts suggest that a more radical change is required, to the extent that CO2 must be removed from the global energy system altogether.
Green Hydrogen production and distribution at scale can play a crucial role in todays energy markets by contributing to reducing the net carbon emissions of the global economy through its potential to integrate renewable energy sources with power generation for transportation, industrial energy production, feedstock for industry and the provision of heat and power.
Decarbonisation: use of hydrogen in the energy transition
Decarbonising a wide range of carbon-emitting activities
Hydrogen has the versatility for application across the transport, heat, industry and electricity sectors which together account for up to two-thirds of global carbon emissions.