The fact on which we can all agree is that as soon as we reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and move towards greener alternatives, the sooner it is better. Whether you are a climate change believer or denier the benefits of fossil fuels elimination extend beyond just reduction of greenhouse gas emission(GHGs) and replacing fossils. Tesla is a pioneer in this race towards alternative energy sources and battery technology, but even Tesla can’t meet the demand for battery-powered vehicles, as it faces delays in productions. Green Hydrogen power is being considered a fuel of the future through the world can finally move past its reliance on fossil fuels for energy needs and can help the world to achieve a net-zero emission target. To achieve a green hydrogen powers revolution, we need to overcome a lot of obstacles.
So is the hype about Green Hydrogen justified?
Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, it’s essential for life. The sun is mostly made of it and it’s present in almost all living things but on earth, pure hydrogen is very scarce instead it is commonly found in combination with oxygen in water form.
How to obtain Green Hydrogen?
First of all, we need to obtain hydrogen which is done through the molecules splitting process. Hydrogen is a carrier of energy as compared to petroleum which is the main energy source. So we need to drive/produce hydrogen in some way, and to perform this task energy is needed. you can use methane through a method referred to as steam reforming or electricity be can supply through electrolysis. Once you have some hydrogen you can either burn it directly or you can use a fuel cell by mixing hydrogen and oxygen, which is rather like a battery. The reaction in the fuel cell produces electricity and heat and waster is the only waste produced from this process which is one of the benefits of hydrogen in a hydrogen vehicle let’s say the only emission that comes out of the tailpipe is pure drinkable water in contrast of course to the internal combustion engine which puts out loads of nasty chemicals and carcinogens. So we can say that green hydrogen is truly a environment friendly fuel if it is produced through a sustainable process.
If hydrogen is so Green then why hasn’t it been used widely?
It’s not just now that hydrogen is in news for being a green and fuel of the future but it still hasn’t taken off as it should have because:
- Hydron needs energy source to produce it and it was being produced using fossil fuels power plants the production costs of which was very expensive and was not efficient than classic ways of available energy until renewable energy power plants came into being.
- Shifting to a environment friendly fuel like green hydron wasn’t even on political agenda until climate change became a serious issue and covered the political spectrum
- The fossil fuel power plants infrastructure which is in place right now has been here for some decades and it was build using thousands of billions of dollars in equipment’s and machines etc and fossil fuel power plants companies defend it.
- So resultantly, it very hard for governments to enforce replacement of the classic equipment (power plants) to be put into corner in the courtesy of drastically new challenging equipment like green hydrogen infrastructure or for that matter renewable energy
- Due to the Hindenburg disaster in 1937, there has been a very negative percenption among public regarding safety of hydrogen fuel safety
- Hydrogen is highly combustible gas and it needs to be stored in a precise way but fears about its safety are exaggerated
Across the world, hydrogen every day is used by industry perfectly safely. One specific benefit of green hydrogen fuel has against electric power/batteries is that it is more energy-efficient and dense, so if it is stored with high pressure it uses less space and the vehicles can go at larger distances. If you have a hydrogen tank onboard a vehicle you can refuel quickly compared to batteries and electric cars but we do have issues of the cost we have issues of refueling stations and fueling infrastructure that has to be built out so that’s another obstacle that stands in the way of hydrogen. There are also some uncertainties over how sustainable green hydrogen actually is despite some advances in the technology to produce it, it still needs energy exhaustive methods that are fueled mostly by fossil fuels or lots of electricity.
The sole method to produce actually green hydrogen is to produce it by means of sustainable energy. Currently, a lot of the hydrogen that is utilized around the globe is produced by using natural gas but that also generates some (GHG) greenhouse gas emissions which is not much of green hydrogen. A lot of individuals look at this as awful and other individuals view this as a bridge. It can help build the market until there’s enough renewable energy and electrolysis become more efficient and more cost-effective and production costs have reduced significantly. Nonetheless, even if renewable energy is utilized in the electrolysis method the energy content that is produced is lower than the input energy which leads some people to argue that hydrogen is just a waste of renewable energy.
They have a point, there are a lot of applications in which electricity is simply the best thing to use and more efficient but there are other applications in a heavy industry predominantly or transportation for example where hydrogen can find itself a position and pretty a big niche. In contrast to the previous waves of interest, hydrogen fuel could be here to stay. Right now the advance in technology is making the production costs of green hydrogen very cheap and efficient and this along with the government’s commitment to decarbonization is helping drive a new green hydrogen economy. We can observe massive progress in the vehicles or the processes in which green hydrogen is used and much more sophistication can also be observed among the companies that are using it.
Germany has announced a 7 billion Euros program and the Chinese government wants to have 1 million fuel cell-powered vehicles on its roads by 2030. Whenever we brainstorm about the techniques which are required to get to a net-zero carbon world there’s no doubt that green hydrogen will play a role in the short term. Electrification is going to lead the decarbonization charge but long term it is believed that there is a great potential for a real green hydrogen revolution that would play a big role in a decarbonized society.