Many of the experts in renewables believe green hydrogen is the future of energy.
Hydrogen is the simplest chemical element, the first in the periodic table with atomic number 1. It is light, can be stored and does not generate pollutant emissions by itself.
With these characteristics, it is a perfect candidate for a fuel. The problem is that hydrogen is not a primary energy source but an energy vector, that is, it requires a chemical process to produce it.
The most sustainable method of production is water electrolysis, a process that involves breaking down the water molecule into oxygen and hydrogen by a direct electrical current that is connected by electrodes to water.
To qualify as “green hydrogen,” the source of electricity used for electrolysis must derive from renewable power, such as wind or solar energy.
There are three main kinds of electrolyzers:
- Proton Exchange Membrane (PEM)
- Solid Oxide
These vary in the nature of the electrolyte material used.
So why aren’t more organizations using green hydrogen as an energy source? Currently, the production process is expensive. In fact, producing green hydrogen is six to eight times more expensive than regular fuels.
For green hydrogen, expect to witness a similar story to that of solar PV. It is capital intensive, therefore we need to reduce investment cost as well as the cost of investment, through scaling up manufacturing of renewable technologies and electrolysers, while creating a low-risk offtake to reduce the cost of capital for green hydrogen investments.
It is generally believed that this will lead to a stable, decreasing cost of green hydrogen.
Renewable energy technologies reached a level of maturity already today that allows competitive renewable electricity generation all around the world, a prerequisite for competitive green hydrogen production.
Electrolysers though are still deployed at very small scale, needing a scale up of three orders of magnitude in the next three decades to reduce their cost threefold.
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For more information, questions, comments, contact us.