Hydrogen is in plentiful supply in our planet and is mainly found in the form of water and as a part of organic matter but very little in air. At present it is used in industrial processes, particularly in chemical sector and in refineries. It is generated by fossil fuels and is known as grey hydrogen. The new times, however, demand an urgent change in how it is generated and make it necessary to give priority to so-called green hydrogen, obtained from water and the action of electricity produced by renewable sources. Known as electrolysis, this process separates oxygen from hydrogen, which can be stored, distributed and then used. The fact that it can be stored is key to being able to take advantage of any excess wind or solar energy, which can only be generated when the meteorological conditions are appropriate and not when demand is highest. Whether it is used in cells to generate electricity or as a source of energy for combustion (it has a high energy density which makes it ideal for generating heat), the result is always energy and water. So it does not generate CO2 at any point in its cycle. It is totally clean.
Hydrogen, then, must be the source of energy for clean industry (chemical, pharmaceutical, metallurgical, construction, etc.) and for mobility, particularly heavy mobility, by land, sea and air. In this area, the advantage is that the fact that hydrogen can be stored and converted into electricity through fuel cells gives vehicles greater autonomy than present cars running on petrol or diesel. Little by little, as it becomes less expensive (helped by the support of the authorities, the increase in taxes on contaminating energies and the greater demand), it will begin to penetrate all areas of the economy, including households, because the main characteristics of green hydrogen – sustainability, storability, versatility and transportability – make it the fuel of the future. Europe calculates that by 2050, 25% of energy will be generated by green hydrogen.
Documents and resources
Global Hydrogen Review 2021. International Energy Agency. https://iea.blob.core.windows.net/assets/3a2ed84c-9ea0-458c-9421-d166a9510bc0/GlobalHydrogenReview2021.pdf
La transició cap a una mobilitat més intel·ligent i sostenible. Generalitat de Catalunya: Consell de Treball Econòmic i Social de Catalunya (CTESC). https://ctesc.gencat.cat/noticies/20484253.html
Taula de l’Hidrogen en la Transició Energètica de Catalunya. Bases per a una estratègia de valorització energètica de l’hidrogen. Treballs i conclusions de la Taula (Institut Català d’Energia) http://icaen.gencat.cat/ca/participacio/taula-de-lhidrogen/
Webinar EHB Analysing future demand, supply and transport of hydrogen – YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HLQWYOsJ-g
Hydrogen Valleys. Insights into the emerging hydrogen economies around the world. INYCOM – ROLAND BERGER. Hydrogen_Valleys_final_ONLINE_June2021
Hoja de Ruta del Hidrógeno: una apuesta por el hidrógeno renovable. MITECO:
A Hydrogen Strategy to a Climate-Neutral Euroep. EU Comission:
Hydrogen to Drive the EU’s Green Recovery. Eu Comission:
Hydrogen Insights 2021 “A Perspective on Hydrogen Investment, Deployment and Cost Competitiveness” Hydrogen Council:
Opportunities for Hydrogen Energy Technologies. FCH JU:
https://www.fch.europa.eu/sites/default/files/file_attach/Final Report Hydrogen in NECPs (ID 9501746).pdf
Hydrogen: a Renewable Energy Perspective. IRENA:
Hidrogeno renovable. Paper Bankinter Empresas: PAPER_hidrogeno