Green hydrogen is a kind of hydrogen that is created by electrolyzing water with the use of renewable energy sources like solar or wind energy. “Water splitting” is the name given to this process. Because it uses renewable energy, the hydrogen made with this method is called “green.” It is a clean source of fuel that will last for a long time.
The switch to a low-carbon economy might be significantly aided by green hydrogen. It may be utilized as a clean energy source for many different purposes, including the production of power, transportation, and industrial activities. It can also be used as a way to store extra renewable energy, like solar or wind power, so that it can be used later.
The cost of making it and the need for infrastructure to use it are two things that keep green hydrogen from being widely used as a fuel source. Several scientists, on the other hand, say that green hydrogen could be a big part of the energy mix of the future and could be a key tool in the fight against climate change.
When it comes to protecting our planet in order to stop some of the worst effects of climate change, humanity is up against an uphill battle.
According to experts, in order to prevent global temperatures from rising by 1.5 oC above pre-industrial levels, global carbon emissions must reach zero by the year 2050.
To do this, we will need to use a variety of methods, but one that is becoming more popular is green hydrogen. “Green hydrogen” is hydrogen that has only been created using sustainable energy sources. Green hydrogen is a chemical that burns cleanly, which means it can be used to reduce carbon emissions in many industries that have been hard to clean up in the past.
Hydrogen can also be used to heat our houses and store renewable electricity that would otherwise be wasted. This includes the chemical, iron, and steel sectors as well as transportation, particularly long distances. Hydrogen renewable energy can only reduce global emissions by 50 to 60 percent because there are many other industries and downstream products that continue to emit. But there is no other choice if we are serious about reducing carbon emissions and want to live in a world with no carbon emissions.
Being very reactive, hydrogen is not naturally occurring; rather, it only appears in combination with other elements. For example, water is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. To get hydrogen, you have to take it out of things like water that already have it.
Even though hydrogen is a clean molecule on its own, most of the hydrogen made in the United States today is made by taking it out of fossil fuels, which is a dirty process. The production of hydrogen around the world creates about 843 metric tons of carbon dioxide each year, which is the same amount of CO2 that Indonesia and the United Kingdom put into the air each year.
This is why green hydrogen is so appealing, but producing it is still very expensive, and even though prices are declining, there are still a number of obstacles to overcome. There isn’t enough infrastructure to move and store it, and fuel cells, which turn hydrogen into energy that cars can use, are expensive. Nevertheless, solutions are on the way, and eliminating some of these obstacles might help the hydrogen market reach $2.5 trillion in direct sales.
The process of producing hydrogen can be varied. Experts use colors to group sources and methods for producing hydrogen. The vast majority of hydrogen created today comes from burning fossil fuels.
Gasification is the method used to produce brown hydrogen from coal.
Three-quarters of the world’s hydrogen is produced as gray hydrogen, which is obtained from natural gas through a process called steam methane reforming. Both of these techniques have the drawback of producing a lot of CO2.
Even though blue hydrogen is produced using fossil fuels, carbon capture and storage technology is used.
alternative approach to creating hydrogen using the electrolysis technique. If the electricity comes from renewable sources like wind and solar, a device known as an electrolyzer breaks a compound into its constituent parts using an electric current. Most of the hydrogen used in the world’s industries, such as those that make steel, ammonia, methanol, and oil, goes into making these products.
Global perspective on green hydrogen
However, recent advances in green hydrogen production and storage, combined with a global push toward sustainability, mean that green hydrogen is becoming much more appealing for a variety of different industries, and nations are seeing Europe’s potential as a leader part of the “green deal,” which includes up to one trillion euros in incentives for green initiatives over the next ten years. Give or take, half of it is actually being directed to hydrogen. So close to half of the incentives are being directed to other green initiatives.
China has big plans to make a lot more energy and switch all of its cars from combustion engines to hydrogen-powered ones. South Korea and Japan are very worried about fuel cells and the change from gasoline to hydrogen in cars.
The US Department of Energy recently said that it wants to spend up to $100 million on research and development of fuel cell and hydrogen generation technology. The first sector that hydrogen has the potential to revolutionize is transportation, where it can directly replace gasoline and diesel and has some advantages over electric cars.
Fuel for hydrogen fuel cells must first be converted into electricity by a device known as a fuel cell stack since hydrogen is an energy carrier rather than an energy source.
Each fuel cell takes hydrogen from a pressurized tank on board and reacts it with a catalyst.
As the hydrogen moves through the catalyst, which is often made of expensive platinum, its electrons are taken away. The stripped electrons are then forced to move through an external circuit, where they make an electrical current. The electric motor then uses this current to drive the vehicle. There is simply water vapor as a result.
The fact that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles could leave no carbon footprint is, of course, a big plus over regular cars.
But why not just use battery-powered automobiles if you have to go through the hassle of turning hydrogen into electricity to use in the cars?
The main distinction between a battery-electric car and a hydrogen fuel cell car is that the hydrogen fuel cell car may be refueled in five minutes as opposed to 45 minutes for the battery car. With a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, you also have around five times greater energy storage capacity per unit volume and weight, which frees up more space inside the car for storage and allows you to travel further. So you’ll travel through the countryside in a fuel cell vehicle.
When it comes to long-distance trucking and other industries that are difficult to electrify, like freight transportation and long-distance air travel, experts think hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can be especially successful.
There has been a modest uptake of hydrogen fuel cell automobiles. At the end of 2019, there were more than 18,000 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles operating worldwide. As a reference, 7.2 million electric automobiles were in use. Currently, only three automakers sell passenger hydrogen fuel cell automobiles. Honda, Hyundai, and Toyota all have prices around $60,000, which is double what some entry-level EVs cost.
Even though fuel cell cars refuel in the same way as regular cars, they can’t use the same stations. This is a big reason why hydrogen fuel cell vehicles haven’t become more popular.
There are now only 407 hydrogen stations in use around the world. Most of them are in Europe, followed by Asia and then North America. There are slightly over 40 public hydrogen fueling stations in the US, all but one of which are located in California.
You need to construct the stations, refine the fuel, and either have vehicles that can transport hydrogen to the stations or underground pipes that can transport it.
One issue with hydrogen fuel, besides the infrastructure, that is commonly brought up is its inefficiency.
That’s because 70% of the efficiency of hydrogen fuel is lost by the time it is produced, transported, distributed, and converted to electricity in the fuel cell. This problem is somewhat alleviated by the fact that hydrogen is very energy dense, meaning that it can hold a lot of energy in a small volume.
One kilogram of hydrogen has about the same amount of energy as one gallon of gasoline. One kilogram of hydrogen has about the same amount of energy as one gallon of gasoline. The difference is that since it’s an electrochemical reaction rather than a combustion, turning that hydrogen into something that can power your automobile is around two-to-three times more efficient than burning gasoline. Because of this, you may quickly multiply the cost of hydrogen in use today by roughly two or possibly two and a half times. Additionally, the price of fuel cell automobile parts and storage needs to decrease.
Without any government assistance or subsidies, making a fuel cell is still incredibly expensive, and high-pressure tanks are required.
Experts are excited about another use for hydrogen: storing renewable energy that would have been lost otherwise. People are finding that hydrogen is actually sort of a great way to store renewable power for lengthy periods of time, which is why it’s currently gaining a lot of popularity.
Because of its versatility, hydrogen has the potential to revolutionize a variety of sectors of the global economy, including transportation, energy storage, and industrial processes. In fact, according to analysts, clean hydrogen could supply up to 22% of our country’s energy needs by 2050, up from the current 4%. However, this would necessitate significantly more renewable electricity generation.