Emissions-free green Hydrogen: The Panacea for ever expanding energy demands

Paris, March 31, 2021: The world is racing towards carbon-neutrality and the goal of reducing emissions. With cutting edge research and technologies now available on a global scale, “green” Hydrogen is seen as the elusive missing link. Its combustion yielding only vapour, it is an ideal candidate, specially with the increase of industrialization and urbanization. The biggest benefits could be reaped by battery electric vehicles by shortening refueling times considerably.

Charming though the prospects are, countries have to develop the demand for the fuel and the infrastructure to transport it. The richest countries have strategies for producing “green hydrogen”, ranging from using electricity from solar and wind to China’s plan to use nuclear plants. Blue, or gray Hydrogen can be produced as a byproduct of natural gas.

The so called “Hydrogen wars” means “Governments are racing to incentivize projects for domestic and export green hydrogen markets — working hard to attract the billions of dollars expected to be invested over the coming years.” According to Gero Farruggio, of Rystad Energy. The US has a hydrogen road map. Germany, France, Britain, Japan, China and Portugal have planned sizeable investments. Asian industrial heavyweights in particular want an alternative to their heavy reliance on imported fossil-fuels.

China’s Hydrogen supply is brought from around the world, with Ballard in Canada to Symbio in France. Its ability to lower costs means it could dominate the manufacturing of electrolysers.

The race with Europe is still even though, Germany is ahead in using Hydrogen for transportation and France in production. The EU ‘s aim is 12-14% Hydrogen in energy mix by 2050 from the current 2%. In France meanwhile, Total and electricity provider Engie have come together to develop the country’s largest green hydrogen production site, in a bid to disrupt the incumbents.

Germany is approaching Morocco to use solar power to make hydrogen. The Green Spider and Green Flamingo projects are developing maritime highways for hydrogen and gas pipelines to link Spain and Portugal to northern Europe. “It is the creation of those new logistics chains that will allow imports from the Chilean or Saharan deserts where there is a lot of solar power,” said Sia Partners’s Lorgeril.

The risk comes from not having a coherent global strategy, rather individual actors or consortia with “pet projects”. It remains to be seen whether development of Hydrogen will decentralise the world’s energy map or form new dependencies redolent of the fossil fuel industry.

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