Hydrogen is usually considered to be one of the most important alternative energy sources of the future. It is not only an environmentally friendly source of energy but also one of the most versatile. Approximately 70 million metric tons of hydrogen is already produced globally every year for ammonia production, oil refining, chemical and fertilizer production, steel manufacturing, metallurgy, food processing, and more.
Hydrogen fuel is the best energy alternative for this planet. There are so many ways in which it can help save not only Earth but also some of our resources. It can play a huge role in environmental protection, and when used properly, it can be an alternative option to fossil fuels.
In the previous blog last week, we learned about the colors of hydrogen and how each of them is produced. In this blog, we will discuss Green Hydrogen and why it deserves all the attention.
Green Hydrogen Vs. Conventional Hydrogen
Hydrogen can be sourced from many different products, but green sources offer the least expenditure to our environment and a greener future.
Green hydrogen is an environmentally friendly source of energy produced from water by using electricity generated from alternative energy sources, including solar, wind, and hydropower. The process does not produce any waste or emissions; therefore, it is a carbon-neutral fuel source.
Green hydrogen currently makes up a tiny percentage of the amount of overall hydrogen produced, but this is expected to rise as the cost of renewable energy continues to fall.
The majority part of the hydrogen currently is produced by a process termed ‘steam methane reforming’. The process uses a catalyst to react with methane at high-temperature steam, resulting in hydrogen, carbon monoxide, and some carbon dioxide. The carbon monoxide, steam, and a catalyst react to produce more hydrogen and carbon dioxide in a succeeding process. Eventually, the carbon dioxide and impurities are discarded to produce pure hydrogen.
Why Green Hydrogen?
Hydrogen is necessary to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. It has become a common opinion that green hydrogen will be essential to reducing emissions from certain parts of the economy that won’t be as easy to reduce.
Hydrogen can move from being a backup fuel for generators to a primary source of electricity. Green hydrogen contributes to our energy security and complements solar and wind, reducing the demand for diesel for backup power.
There are several different industries where hydrogen can be used to provide energy to power devices. Some examples of these industries are oil refining, energy, agriculture, and transportation. In particular, hydrogen can be used in manufacturing steel and cement to make ammonia for fertilizer and be made into methanol for plastics, paint, and auto parts.
Future of Green Hydrogen
The green hydrogen market is expected to reach $4,455.8 million by 2031, witnessing a growth of 5.13% during the forecast period 2021-2031. The increased use of green hydrogen as a source of power for several industrial applications such as oil and gas, electric vehicles, petrochemical, power generation, and others is expected to be the major driving factor for the market’s growth. Efforts made by countries across different continents to limit carbon emissions have had a positive effect on the overall climate mitigation initiatives across these regions.
The development of national and international “net zero” objectives has been one of the most noteworthy characteristics of climate policy in recent years. Europe, the U.K., China, South Korea, Japan’ and Canada are included among countries that have adopted such objectives. Although this is a long-term goal, it will also play an important role in reducing carbon emissions and other harmful gases that can pollute the air we breathe.
Risks and Challenges
The biggest challenge is that it’s difficult to produce on a large scale. Though hydrogen-based cars run on emission-free combustion, they are extremely expensive to produce and can’t always be afforded by the general public. Although governments are moving toward this type of energy, they haven’t developed efficient methods yet to manage production that works best for everyone.
The second disadvantage with hydrogen cars is that they are highly volatile and flammable. Further, studies have shown it to be 20 times more viable than other types of fuel. The third thing to factor in is the amount of energy required on a larger scale to produce enough green hydrogen.