Hydrogen hype – which ambitions are realistic, and which are less so?

We believe hydrogen will play a vital role in some places, but that it may be overhyped in others.

Hydrogen is a flexible energy source. It can provide electricity, fuel for land transportation, aviation & shipping, heat, long-term power storage and chemical feedstock for industrial processes. It can be stored as a gas or a liquid and can be converted into ammonia or methanol for longer term storage. This flexibility has gained hydrogen the moniker of “Swiss army knife” in the energy transition. Despite its flexibility though, hydrogen is not a panacea. There is a big difference between the realistic roles we think hydrogen can play, and where we are more sceptical.

The role of hydrogen in reaching net zero in the UK

Many of hydrogen’s possible uses are already being met by other fuels or technologies. In many cases, electrification, with an ever lower carbon grid, will be more economically efficient than hydrogen, such as passenger transport and home heating. However, the goal for the UK - and ultimately the world – is to reach net zero. There are some processes for which electrification is not viable, and for these hydrogen will be needed. Conventional hydrogen is generally produced by reacting steam (H2O) with methane (CH4) which leads to material CO2 emissions. This “brown” hydrogen is then captured. Green hydrogen comes from electrolysis of water using electric energy from a clean source. Blue hydrogen seeks to capture and store the CO2 that is released in the production of brown hydrogen.

Read the full ‘Thought Leadership’ article at the link below

Supporting documents

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