This week European ministers are considering a new Hydogren initiative to maximise the potential of sustainable hydrogen technology.
Sustainable hydrogen technology might receive more European political support as European energy ministers are meeting in Linz, Austria. The hydrogen initiative aims to increase the production of sustainable hydrogen technology, and is funded by the EU’s Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking. The hydrogen initiative is a non-binding political declaration, which is being pursued by the EU council to encourage the declaration of support for hydrogen technology.
What is sustainable hydrogen technology?
Hydrogen can be generated sustainable using electricity from renewable sources to power electrolysers. The electrolysers split water into hydrogen and oxygen.
Hydrogen has the potential to be used to enhance sustainable energy usage.
Hydrogen’s possible uses include:
- As an energy storage for surplus renewable energy
- As an energy carrier
- In sectors that are otherwise difficult to decarbonise through electrification
Why is an alternative form of technology needed?
Currently, over 95% of hydrogen production is based on fossil fuels. Common methods of producing hydrogen are steam-methane reforming (SMR), and oil and coal gasification. One third of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions come from sectors where there is no economically viable alternative to fossil fuels. These emissions are mainly from sectors such as freight transport and other energy-intensive industries. The chemicals industry, such as companies producing ammonia, refining for hydrocracking, or the desulphurisation of fuels, has a high demand for hydrogen.
Why is hydrogen not being used already?
The process for producing green hydrogen is emissions-free, however the cost of it has limited its usage. However, the rapid expansion of low-cost renewable energy may soon mean that the costs are more similar to the SMR process.
Walburga Hemetsberger of the large hydropower producer Verbund, said in an interview with Energy Post that he “expects hydrogen to play an important role in decarbonising mobility – battery electric vehicles won’t do it alone. We think it will be a combination of both battery electric and fuel-cell vehicles.”