Hydrogen Hybrids and Heating - IDTechEx Explores the Hydrogen Economy
Feb 08, 2024 Lily-Rose Schuett
People and penguins can all benefit from the use of hydrogen in pursuing cleaner energy sources, and hydrogen is one of the main tools for decarbonizing industries. With new hydrogen infrastructure, existing aspects of living, like driving and heating, can be improved by switching harmful gases for cleaner and more efficient choices.
Fuel-cell electric vehicles
Eye-watering petrol smells could be a thing of the past. New electric hybrid vehicles are being installed with fuel cells that convert hydrogen to electricity. While refueling stations may retain their authentic look, people could be filling their cars with hydrogen, potentially providing longer ranges and an ability to carry more weight inside the vehicle, compared to battery-powered cars, so cramming the car for summer holidays won't take as much of a toll. With the introduction of hydrogen, cars will also no longer be emitting thick grey fumes, and people can feel better about breathing in the air in busy towns and cities.
Polar bears and penguins could benefit from the implementation of hydrogen as an energy source. Where boilers installed within households would emit carbon dioxide in exchange for warming the house, using hydrogen in place of natural gas only produces water as a byproduct. Hydrogen has the potential to be applied in key industries that support global economies, including oil refining, fertilizer production, and steelmaking. Industry and heating homes are some of the largest contributors to environmental damage.
With renewable energy and hydrogen becoming more widespread, future generations will be able to learn about animals of the Antarctic for years to come. Reducing the rate of climate change and global warming will help preserve the lives of animals living in colder temperatures and help maintain more consistency in the earth's climate.
Investing in hydrogen infrastructure could prove to be a wise decision for economies, as the renewability of the gas could provide long-term energy security. The same peace of mind cannot perhaps be granted where diminishing non-renewable sources are concerned, such as fossil fuels imported from overseas. Green hydrogen, the most sustainable form of hydrogen, is produced by eletrolyzers, splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen.
Hydrogen is much more difficult to store as it is the lightest gas that exists, so it must be converted into another form for transportation. This brings unique challenges and opportunities. Many storage technologies exist nowadays, including pressurized, liquid, and chemical-bound hydrogen. Each can occupy its own niche. One of the more promising concepts is the conversion of hydrogen to ammonia, which could serve as a medium to transport renewable energy worldwide.
Governments worldwide have high ambitions for hydrogen - the UK aims for 5GW of installed green hydrogen capacity and 1 million tonnes per annum of blue hydrogen capacity by 2030. As a result, new infrastructure will create significant opportunities for jobs to be created, stimulating economic growth through a rise in employment and a redistribution of money previously spent acquiring fossil fuels. Large oil and gas corporations are recognizing the potential of hydrogen and actively investing and developing projects. IDTechEx predicts that the global low-carbon hydrogen production market will reach US$130 billion by 2033.
The future and health of the planet can look brighter with the introduction of hydrogen, and people worldwide can feel more reassured about the air they breathe, as it becomes more widespread as a source of sustainable and environmentally friendly energy.
For more information, see IDTechEx's report on the topic, "Hydrogen Economy 2023-2033: Production, Storage, Distributions & Applications".