Does hydrogen fuel have a future?

The IEA analysis reveals that the cost of producing hydrogen from renewable electricity could fall by 30% between now and 2030 as a result of the decline in the costs of renewable energy and. Almost all jurisdictions that have objectively considered how to achieve zero emissions in all end uses have realized that the characteristics of hydrogen are necessary for all of these sectors to have zero emissions. Jack Brouwer is director of the National Fuel Cell Research Center at the University of California, Irvine. In the near future, most hydrogen fuel is likely to be manufactured from natural gas using a polluting, energy-intensive method called the steam reform process, which uses steam, high temperatures and pressure to break down methane into hydrogen and carbon monoxide.

During a panel, entitled “Options for producing low-carbon hydrogen on a large scale”, four experts presented existing and planned efforts to harness hydrogen for decarbonization. And that's because most of today's hydrogen production (115 million tons) burns fossil fuels, as seen in the graph below. At the MIT Energy Initiative spring symposium, entitled “The Role of Hydrogen in a Decarbonized Energy System,” experts discussed hydrogen production routes, hydrogen consumption markets, the path to a strong hydrogen infrastructure, and the policy changes needed to achieve a “hydrogen future”. Jack Brouwer, director of the National Fuel Cell Research Center at the University of California, Irvine, said that, ultimately, hydrogen would have to be manufactured with renewable energy to produce what the industry calls green hydrogen, which uses renewable energy to divide water into its constituent parts, hydrogen and oxygen.

Most importantly, while capital expenditures (CAPEX) will decrease, operating expenses (OPEX), such as fuel, account for the majority of green hydrogen production. The Energy Policy Act of 1992 considers it an alternative transport fuel because of its ability to power fuel cells in zero-emission vessels. Hydrogen produced from fossil fuels could still act as a transition fuel, but would ultimately contribute “to a small extent to the sustainable hydrogen economy in general,” he said. The company continues to practice this practice, but Dow has no efficient way of using the resulting hydrogen for its own fuel.

Bush pledged more than $1 billion in federal funding to boost the widespread adoption of hydrogen fuel cell cars. The company, he said, plans to optimize the allocation and production of hydrogen, modernize turbines for hydrogen supply and purchase clean hydrogen. It is building the Holland Hydrogen I, which is being promoted as the largest renewable hydrogen plant in Europe. Although today less than 0.1% of the world's production dedicated to hydrogen comes from the electrolysis of water, with the decrease in the costs of renewable electricity, in particular solar photovoltaic and wind energy, there is a growing interest in electrolytic hydrogen.

National Grid, together with Stony Brook University and the State of New York, are studying the integration of hydrogen into their existing gas infrastructure, although the project seeks to produce hydrogen using renewable energy. The industry has been promoting hydrogen as a reliable next-generation fuel for powering cars, heating homes, and generating electricity. .

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