The Energy to Hydrogen Transition
Need for change:
The greenhouse gases emitted in a business-as-usual scenario would lead to an increase of the average global temperature of about 4°C. This, in turn, would raise sea levels, shift climate zones, and make extreme weather and droughts more frequent, as well as causing other changes, all impacting biological, social, and economic systems.
Global decarbonisation was only 2.4% in 2019. Achieving the Paris Agreement goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C and delivering net zero will now require a five times increase in the rate of global decarbonisation every year, and must start now.
Why hydrogen is key to the global energy transition:
Hydrogen from renewable power has the potential to be a key driver of the energy transition by tackling various critical energy challenges. At present, roughly 95% of worldwide hydrogen production comes from fossil fuels- released into the atmosphere. Hydrogen from renewable power can directly displace hydrogen produced from fossil fuels, whilst also replacing fossil fuels as feedstocks in several processes.
Hydrogen can be produced in a range of low or zero carbon ways and can be used in applications similar to natural gas without emitting CO2 at the point of use. As well as contributing to decarbonising the gas grid, blending hydrogen into the grid could be a potential source of reliable demand for hydrogen, and play a strategic role in unlocking investment in low carbon hydrogen production facilities in future.
Hydrogens main benefits:
- Hydrogen can be produced from diverse domestic resources with the potential for near-zero greenhouse gas emissions.
- Once produced, hydrogen generates electrical power in a fuel cell, emitting only water vapor and warm air.
- Hydrogen holds promise for growth in both the stationary and transportation energy sectors. e.g. used to fuel trucks, rail or even aircrafts.
- Excess solar and wind power in the grid, can be converted into hydrogen which can be used elsewhere or even to produce electricity.
Growing support of Hydrogen:
The number of countries with polices that directly support investment in hydrogen technologies is increasing, along with the number of sectors they target.
Without setting any firm numerical target, UK prime minister Boris Johnson promised to scale up the UK hydrogen industry. He also set aims to create a new town powered entirely by hydrogen, as the UK phases out new gas-heated builds by 2030.
Current Hydrogen adoption restrictions:
Governments’ decarbonisation policies and long-term emission targets are strengthening the case for low-carbon hydrogen, but the cost of producing it from renewables has to fall by more than 50% by 2030 to make hydrogen a viable alternative.
A truly hydrogen-based economy, in which hydrogen, not gas, is used to heat buildings and balance the power grid, for example, therefore appears out of reach, at least before 2030.
What has been missing from the sector is leadership in scaling up. Hydrogen is the glue that can hold this future low-carbon construct together but to get the price point right, you need to build at scale. The industry needs to start building plants to grow its confidence and expertise. The time is right to tap into hydrogen’s potential to play a key role in a clean, secure and affordable energy future.
Colloide doing their part
As a business committed to lowering our carbon footprint and contributing to our net zero future, we are continually looking for more environmentally friendly ways to aid the energy transition from fossil fuel. Visit our website for more information on the renewable energy technologies we currently offer and for details on the ‘first of its kind’ projects we undertake and deliver.
We are looking forward to attending the Panel Debate, hosted by the Institution of Chemical Engineers which will be discussing topics surrounding Hydrogen Safety Challenges for the Energy Transition.