As nations are on their quest to switch to renewables to combat the global climate crisis, many sources of energy are being talked about. Some are being developed and implemented more than others. Green Hydrogen has recently entered the debate while in many cities, the usage of electric vehicles (E.V.) has been growing dramatically.
The focus on E.V. is a result of the popularity of companies like Tesla and the many car companies that have followed its example. The infrastructure to build up E.V. charging centers and stations are found more and more in metropolitan areas, but not so much in rural parts.
This raises the question of what source of energy would provide for a better solution to get more rural regions running on renewables as well as raising the percentage in metropolitan areas? It is clear that a solution using the existing infrastructure already in place would be more likely to make it happen. And the answer may well be Green Hydrogen. Certainly better than Blue Hydrogen that has just been found deeply wanting because of the high level of carbon emissions in its production process.
Green Hydrogen is great as long as the process to manufacture it is using electrolysis – with an electric current splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen – coming from renewable power sources. If the electricity used in this process comes from a renewable source, such as wind, solar or tidal energy, then the terms green or renewable hydrogen become appropriate.
In Italy, Marco Alverà, the CEO of Italian infrastructure giant Snam on Friday outlined a vision for the future of hydrogen, noting that the “beauty” of it was that it could be easily stored and transported. Alverà spoke about how current systems would be used to facilitate the delivery of hydrogen produced using renewable sources as well as biofuels. He said Snam had tested different percentages of blending including as much as 100% hydrogen in existing pipes, and it had worked. “So that’s an energy transition using the infrastructure we have,” he said. “And the very good news is that this new renewable energy will cost less than existing fossil fuel energy, which is a real breakthrough.”
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If hydrogen is able to run through already existing fuel lines, this can speed up the use of renewables utilizing an already existing network with efficiency. It is much more environmentally friendly to not have to use energy to rebuild and replace what is already there. It is understandable that the oil companies want to stay in business as the world heads to net zero. But it would be a smart move for them to lead the way in manufacturing, storing, and transporting Green Hydrogen using their already existing systems.
Energy companies in other parts of the world are looking into Green Hydrogen. In the U.S., Chevron and Toyota are seeking to work on three main strategic priorities: collaborating on hydrogen-related public policy measures that support the development of hydrogen infrastructure; understanding current and future market demand for light-duty and heavy-duty fuel cell electric vehicles and supply opportunities for that demand; and exploring opportunities to jointly pursue research and development in hydrogen-powered transportation and storage. In Australia, BP described the vast state of Western Australia as being “an ideal place” for the development of “large scale renewable energy assets that can, in turn, produce green hydrogen and/or green ammonia for domestic and export markets.”
It is wise for national security reasons to get hydrogen up and running on the world stage so nations can maintain energy independence and not get into potentially costly conflicts and wars as we have seen in the past. As the popularity and incentives to buy electric vehicles continue to grow, the resources needed to manufacture them also become more in demand.
With electric vehicles taking over from gas-powered vehicles, security concerns and access to resources are making Western economies move away from once oil-rich regions to mineral-rich regions needed for battery manufacturing. Because of this, going forward, it may be wise to continue developing other forms of renewable sources of energy, transportation, and power – specifically, Green Hydrogen.
The obvious advantage of Green Hydrogen is that it frees countries from dependence on resources in the ground: To produce it, all that is needed is water and renewable energy like solar, wind or tidal power. With access to the right technology, anyone can do it anywhere in the world. This should greatly help reduce the chance of nations being dependent and held hostage on a single form of energy like oil in the past.
Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed here by Impakter.com columnists are their own, not those of Impakter.com. — In the Featured Photo: an already existing pipeline. Featured Photo Credit: Mike Benna.