What is green hydrogen?

 Now is the time to harness hydrogen's potential to play a major role in solving critical energy challenges. Recent developments in renewable energy technologies and electric vehicles show that policy and innovation can create a global clean energy industry.

What is green hydrogen?

Hydrogen has become one of the main options for storing renewable energy, and hydrogen-based fuels are capable of transporting renewable energy over long distances – from energy-rich to energy-poor areas thousands of kilometers away.

Green hydrogen has been mentioned in a number of emissions reduction commitments at COP26 as a way to decarbonise heavy industry, long-haul transport and aviation.

Both governments and industry have recognized hydrogen as an important foundation for a zero-carbon economy.


The Green Hydrogen Catapult, a United Nations initiative aimed at reducing the cost of green hydrogen, has announced a goal of producing 45 gigawatts of green electrolytes by 2027, nearly double the 25 gigawatts produced last year.


The European Commission has passed a number of draft laws to decarbonize the EU gas market by promoting renewable and low-carbon gases, including hydrogen, and ensuring energy security for all European citizens.


The UAE also has ambitious plans. The country's new hydrogen strategy aims to capture a quarter of the global low-carbon hydrogen market by 2030.


Japan recently announced that it will invest $3.4 billion from the Green Innovation Fund over the next decade to accelerate research and development and promote the use of hydrogen.


However, green hydrogen is the only hydrogen that can be produced without harming the climate, and it is important to reach net zero by 2050.


We asked Dr. Emmanuel Taipe, Head of Energy Transition Strategy at the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), to explain what green hydrogen is and how it can pave the way to net-zero emissions.


Green hydrogen technology


What is green hydrogen and how does it differ from traditional high-emission gray or blue hydrogen?


. No matter how it is produced, the end result is the same carbon-free molecule.

However, the ways in which it is produced are very diverse, as are the emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4)


Green hydrogen is produced by splitting water using electrolysis, where an electric current is applied to the water.

- Water separated into hydrogen and oxygen. Thus, hydrogen can be extracted from water and oxygen released into the air.


Green hydrogen is a hydrogen produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen . This is a completely different path than producing gray and blue hydrogen.


Gray hydrogen is traditionally produced from methane (CH4), which decomposes with steam into carbon and hydrogen, and is a major contributor to climate change.


Gray hydrogen is increasingly produced from coal, but in this case the CO2 emissions per unit of hydrogen produced are much higher and it is often referred to as brown or black hydrogen rather than gray hydrogen.

- In contrast to renewable energy, the cost of electrolysis to produce green hydrogen will rise significantly over the next 10 to 20 years and costs will have to be reduced by at least three-fold.


Green hydrogen energy solutions

What are the benefits of energy conversion solutions for a green hydrogen economy?

Dr. Emmanuel stressed that green hydrogen is an important part of the energy transformation process. This is because we need to first accelerate the deployment of renewable energy to decarbonize the current electricity system, accelerate the electrification of the electricity sector to use low-cost renewable energy, and ultimately decarbonize hard-to-electrify sectors such as heavy industry, shipping and aviation using green hydrogen. This is necessary for. Green hydrogen future


How do you see hydrogen-related energy technologies evolving by 2030?


- Dr. Emanuel answered that the demand for hydrogen already exists: through the decarbonization of ammonia, iron and other existing commodities.


Many industrial processes that use hydrogen could replace green or blue hydrogen if CO2 is priced appropriately or other mechanisms are put in place to decarbonize these sectors.


The situation is somewhat different in the maritime and aviation sectors. The fugitive fuel, which is based on green hydrogen but is essentially identical to jet fuel or petroleum-derived methanol, could be used in existing aircraft and ships with little or no modification.


In the next few years, ships may switch to “green ammonia,” a fuel made from green hydrogen without carbon dioxide or nitrogen from the air.


However, replacing engines and tanks will require investments, and green ammonia is currently much more expensive than fuel oil.


In conclusion, the main measures to accelerate the decarbonization process between now and 2030 are:


1- Using renewable energy sources to generate energy.

2- Accelerating the production of renewable energy (which will further reduce the already low cost of renewable electricity).

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