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Waste Reduction

The Hydrogen ifs and buts

It’s been in use throughout the centuries, starting with the lifting of the ball Jacques Charles floated over Paris in 1783 to becoming an integral component of ASML’s massive chip-printing machines. In recent times the prospect of a larger hydrogen economy has emerged across the horizon, however, as with nuclear fusion it has been firmly above the limit. However, there is now widespread belief that the day of hydrogen’s arrival could have arrived, and it will be accompanied by an enormous amount of tax payer money. The US provides $8 billion in subsidy funds in the infrastructure bill as well as other countries like Australia are getting ready to become exporters of hydrogen.. In the present, when the oil and gas industry fights hard to prevent methane from escape, but it is likely to be able to do more with the less granular hydrogen molecules.

The process of making hydrogen efficiently stores the energy of other sources used to create it. To determine the origin of the energy source, hydrogen is identified by different colors. If it is produced by breaking down natural gas or coal the grey color is used to identify hydrogen. If carbon emissions caused by the splitting of fossil fuels are captured and stored (carbon storage and capture) The hydrogen is called blue. The final step is that true green hydrogen could be produced using renewable sources of gas or through the use of electricity generated from renewable sources to separate the water molecules (electrolysis). It would be a climate-neutral hydrogen with almost none carbon dioxide emissions in the production of it. The question of whether green hydrogen is feasible or exist at all, is a matter of debate.

Think about an example in which the energy produced by a huge wind turbine is utilized to create hydrogen. This could be regarded as green hydrogen. But when you add everything else in the system of energy which is dominated and controlled by fossil fuels, the picture becomes more complex. The conversion of wind energy into hydrogen will certainly extend the lifespan that a fossil fuel facility which means it will be delayed in retirement. As long as there is a net surplus of renewable energy and after the majority of fossil fuel generators are removed, the process of making green hydrogen will delay the closing of the fossil-powered power plant. We aren’t talking about tiny quantities.

The IEA estimatesthat the current capacity of hydrogen production will, in the long run need 475GW of solar and wind power – roughly one third of the total currently in use.

Making green hydrogen just delays closing fossil power plants. This isn’t just talking about tiny quantities.

The obvious conclusion will be that hydrogen from green sources will not exist until there is an surplus of renewables that are not required anymore to take over fossil power. This will be the second quarter of this century. Until then, hydrogen will be in fact grey, or even blue – but with only negative impacts on climate. Blue hydrogen’s global footprint of greenhouse gasesof the blue color of hydrogen can be over 20% higher than the burning of coal, natural gas or even coal to heating and is 60% more than the impact of burning diesel oil to heating.

Green hydrogen production clearly requires lots of energy. The process of burning hydrogen is inefficient, leading to more loss. For instance, the electricity utilized in a car powered by electric power will allow you to travel more than three time the distance of cars powered by hydrogen green made using the same amount electricity.

While the production of hydrogen in any form is inefficient at the moment however, it will improve with time. It is possible that there are difficult-to-decarbonise industries that justifies the cost of conversion. However, electric vehicles are getting more sophisticated all the time also, and so it’s an ongoing battle between hydrogen and batteries.

Australia as well as other countries are considering to transport liquid hydrogen around the globe, as it is accomplished using liquified natural gas (LNG). But the shipping of liquid hydrogen will be at a minimum 5 times more cost in energy costs per unit compared to shipping LNG. This is due to the energy in a cubic metre of LNG is almost four times higher than that of hydrogen. Furthermore, liquifying hydrogen requires three times the amount of electricity needed for the process of liquifying natural gas.

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Jane S. King

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