Four years ago, at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21), the world’s nations united in a single agreement on tackling climate change for the first time in history. The Paris Agreement saw 195 countries adopt the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate pact, agreeing on a worldwide plan to limit global warming to well below 2°C.
Hydrogen is being positioned as a central pillar in this future energy transition, as affirmed by Pierre-Etienne Franc, Vice-President of Air Liquide Hydrogen Energy WBU & Secretary of the Hydrogen Council, at gasworld’s Clean Energies Conference in Amsterdam last year: “All industries are being faced with the need to decarbonise their sectors…It is possible to make, out of hydrogen, the energy vector of the future.”
Whilst the idea of a Hydrogen Economy is nothing new, there is now clear credence and gravitas in this business, with not just an ongoing series of project announcements but the arrival of some of the biggest and most recognisable names in the energy and automotive sector – and beyond.
Hydrogen from electrolysis is among the most exciting of growth spaces right now. To put it simply, hydrogen gas produced via the electrolysis of water involves splitting water into its constituents of hydrogen and oxygen. This is essentially the opposite of fuel cell technology, whereby oxygen and hydrogen (from a supply) are converted into electrical energy and heat.
For storing and shifting large amounts of renewable energy, hydrogen represents the cleanest and most flexible solution. With costs of renewables falling dramatically, hydrogen is already outcompeting fossil fuels in several places in the world.
“This is the key trend for this market: the marriage of declining renewable energy costs with lower cost PEM electrolyser technology to produce green hydrogen at prices that are already competitive with and will soon be lower than hydrogen from reforming fossil fuels,” explained Andy Belt, CEO of Giner ELX. “This trend has captured the attention of the major consumers of hydrogen, such as the ammonia and oil industries, as well as the industrial gas giants and energy utility companies.”
gasworld will publish the full feature, titled ‘In Focus… Hydrogen electrolyser technologies’, in gasworld Global’s upcoming 9th issue of 2019.