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Green Hydrogen for Industries.

Massimiliano Cervo's picture
Energy Leader, WEC

Member of the Hydrogen Experts Panel for the World Energy Council, Lecturer on Hydrogen Diploma at the National University of Technology in Buenos Aires, Argentina. FMVA (Financial Modeling and...

  • Member since 2020
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  • Sep 24, 2020

Most of the global leaders are setting targets to decarbonize the energy sector. This article will discuss the opportunity for hydrogen as a mean to decarbonizing the industrial sector.

To being with, as seen in the figue below, renewables are struggling to decarbonize both the heat and fuel sector. In this context, electrification and hydrogen will have a main role in reducing emissions in order to mitigate climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy Mix By Sector.

Industry is one of the largest consumers of energy together with the transport and residential sectors in the European Union. Decrease in energy demand and implementing energy efficiency measures will be of great help but still, is not enough. Industries are responsible for around 15% of the total carbon dioxide emissions and this is the sector where renewable energy is struggling to penetrate.

There is no doubt that when it comes to electrification, wind, solar and hydro are great resources, but it is not the ideal option for all of the industrial processes, same as electric vehicles are not the most viable option for heavy duty transport or aviation.

Producing heat with electricity is not efficient, and this is the case where green hydrogen begins to gain attractiveness. This lightweight gas can be burned, without producing any pollutant emissions except for water steam. Electrolysis from renewable can be a key player in the industrial heat sector, working as a decarbonizing agent and clean feedstock as well.

Sankey Flow Simulation by M.A.Cervo

As shown in the Sankey flow diagram (presented above for direct use in Fueling Stations and Industry), if hydrogen was used for heat and transport sector instead of the electric market (which has a low round trip efficiency), the losses are not only minimized but also it becomes a clean energy vector, enabling new business models where companies can transport emission free molecules instead of electrons. This capacity, mentioned in the previous paragraph, is the one that positions the spotlight on hydrogen in the energy transition, being a clean energy carrier. Another great use can be seasonal storage of electricity, allowing remote communities to store large amounts of energy for months.

Finally, green hydrogen is beginning to have a main role in the energy strategies of many countries and companies. This molecule will have the capability of slowly displacing fossil fuels as a consequence of its versatility and gravimetric energy density.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Sep 24, 2020

Producing heat with electricity is not efficient, and this is the case where green hydrogen begins to gain attractiveness

This is the crux of it all-- it's not even 'oh we're working on that,' it's a recognition that there are aspects where electrification can't work and so decarbonization must find alternative outlets. I think these are the key areas where a future hydrogen economy may take hold

Massimiliano Cervo's picture
Thank Massimiliano for the Post!
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