The world is now keen to arrest carbon dioxide Emission to a tolerable level within the next 20 years. Green hydrogen is creating a tremendous hope for mankind in this endeavour…

Green Hydrogen & Carbon dioxide emission

In the journey of industrial development, we are emitting carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere and these gases are creating a barrier to heat dissipation from the earth.

Consequently, the temperature of the earth is rising continuously. We are calling it global warming. Green hydrogen could be the potential solution to curb or stop this undesirable phenomenon.

Economics of Green Hydrogen

At present, the process of obtaining green hydrogen is highly expensive. Scientists and governments of conscious countries are working to find out an economic way to produce it. 

Four major components are pushing up the cost to an exorbitant level,

  • Cost of renewable energy used in the production of green hydrogen.
  • Cost of electrolyser used for breaking the water.
  • Cost of preserving it in liquid form, and
  • Transportation cost.

Cost of renewable energy and electrolyser is high at this moment. It is above USD 800 per KW, green hydrogen production is not possible at a commercial scale in the cost structure. 

US Department of Energy expects that the cost of renewable energy and electrolyser will gradually come down to USD 200 per KW by 2040 and during this process, gradually the cost of hydrogen will also come down to USD 2 per kg around 2030.

However, only a price tag under USD 1.5 per Kg would make green hydrogen competitive with oil, coal and natural gas.

Hopefully, by 2050 the cost will slash to an economic level of USD 0.08 to USD 1.6 per kg owing to the gradual fall of wind and solar energy price along with increasing demand for hydrogen.

For example, In India, wind & solar power is around INR 2.47 per unit at this moment. The fall of price to a level of INR 1 per unit will make India capable to manufacture green hydrogen at USD 1 per kg. This may take some more years to achieve.

The good news is, the Government of various countries are creating policies and planning investment for green hydrogen development to make these estimates come into reality.

EU is a forerunner in this initiative. They have made favourable policy incentive for green hydrogen and also decided to invest USD 33billion immediately and a total investment of USD 218 to USD 566 billion in a long term. 

The EU wants to achieve 12% to 14% hydrogen mix in its energy portfolio by 2050 and targeting to attain zero carbon emission by that time. 

Germany has allotted USD 10 billion ( 9 billion euros) for green hydrogen. France, Netherlands and Portugal have also declared their hydrogen strategies.

On the other part of the globe, Japan has decided to allot USD 19 billion to encourage commercially marketable green hydrogen to use as a fuel with zero-emission.

India is also deriving a policy for green hydrogen production. An estimated allotment of USD 6 to 7 billion is also envisaged at an initial stage to reduce COemission to 7 to 8 metric tons per year. 

Total emission figure of the lead countries is frightening. For India, it is 2,533,638,100 metric tons per year.

Rising consciousness and technology development will drive the demand for hydrogen in the coming years. In India, it will rise five-fold by 2050, thus the price is bound to fall.

green hydrogen can douse global warming
Image Creation: Author (using the free images from freepik & pixabay)

Green Hydrogen Projects Around the World

During the past year, more than USD150 billion value of green hydrogen projects has been announced globally. More than 70 GW projects are under development. 

With this, it is estimated that around USD 250 billion worth of investment is required by 2040. As I mentioned earlier, the EU already has a big plan to invest. 

Germany is aiming to develop 5000 MW of electrolysis capacity by 2030 to produce green hydrogen.

Japan and South Korea are all set to unveil a new zero-emission plan by this year and working to achieve an import capacity of 300,000 tons per year by 2030.

The US wants to invest in green hydrogen technology research to bring down the cost equal to conventional hydrogen in the next 10 years.

A 485 MW natural gas plant in Ohio, is designed to run fully on hydrogen will be operative in late 2021.

Starting operation with blended hydrogen natural gas, Ohio plant will gradually switch to ‘only hydrogen’ within a decade.

Saudi Arabia and Australia have jotted down policies to produce and export green hydrogen in near future. 

Saudi Arabia is working on a USD 5 billion project to produce 1.2 billion tons of green ammonia per year. This project is set to begin in 2025 and will use a 4 GW hybrid power of wind, solar and battery storage.

China is constructing USD 3.5 billion hydrogen plant in Inner Mongolia with a capacity of 500,000 tons per year.The power (5GW) for this plant will be supplied from wind and solar parks. Construction is expected to get over in this year.

Norway is planning to convert one existing plant to produce 500,000 tons of ammonia per year entirely from green hydrogen by 2026.

In August 2020, Sweden started test-operation of a green steel plant   (USD 165 million) and has a target to make green steel commercially available by 2026.

Scotland’s trial project (backed by Britain) has replaced cooking and heating gas connections in 300 homes with green hydrogen and is running successfully.

In South Korea, a project to install 100 hydrogen refuelling stations by 2022 has taken up by a joint venture of Hyundai Motor and other companies (HyNet) and the Korean government.

green hydrogen can be the future fuel for automobiles
Image creation: Author (using a free photo from freevector.com)

Green Hydrogen Focus Areas

For long hydrogen is being used as a fuel for rockets, now it is being considered for extensive use in the industries those are highly responsible for emitting carbon dioxide and other GHG into the atmosphere.

Three main areas where hydrogen can play a key role are, 

  • Heavy industries like steel, oil refinery, fertiliser,
  • heavy load transportation via rail, road, water and air.

Hydrogen is available on earth in plenty in the form of water and completely emission-free when used as a fuel. 

Thus, green hydrogen is now drawing critical attention to find out a process to produce it in a commercially viable way.

Finally, though the hydrogen will take some more years to enter the commercial market, it can surely take the saviours role to fight climate change and global warming.

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This article was originally published in Illumination@medium.com