This article is part of a five-part series to be delivered by gasworld this week in the lead-up to World Environment Day 2021, taking place on Saturday 5th June.

Read more: World Environment Day: The importance of industrial gases for decarbonisation

It’s an exciting time for hydrogen and an exciting time for those involved with the clean fuel and the technologies that surround it. The clean energy source has long been a highly handled gas by many industrial gas companies, such as the likes of Air Liquide and Linde, however, interest in hydrogen has recently spiked as the world looks to pursue a green recovery.

Now set to be a part of most country’s environmentally friendly future, the recent momentum for hydrogen has grown rapidly. Whether it is used for mobility, power or even for technological purposes, the gas proposes many advantages.

Hydrogen, which derives its name from the Greek word hydro (water) and genes (forming/creator), was first discovered as a distinct substance in 1766 by the Englishman Henry Cavendish.

Research from Cavendish found that the gas produces water when combusted and so he is credited as the first to discover the element of Hydrogen; however, it was not named as such until Frenchman Antoine Lavoisier reproduced Cavendish’s experiment in 1783 and coined the name ‘Hydrogen’.

Today, the word is spoken worldwide and is a big topic of conversation whether talks be surrounding the best use case of the gas, whether it be blue, green turquoise or even purple, how it can support a green recovery and much more!

Read more: Shades of hydrogen: Understanding grey, blue and green

In fact, just last year a study was published to show the required investments needed to scale-up biomethane and hydrogen to assist the transition towards the lowest cost climate neutral system by 2050.

Gas Decarbonisation Pathway 2020-2050, published by the Gas for Climate consortium, suggests that addition EU climate and energy policies are needed to position Europe on the road to net zero by 2050.

It’s central and aspirations Accelerated Decarbonisation Pathway examines which investments and innovations have to take place in order to achieve a 2030 greenhouse gas reduction target -55%, and climate neutrality by 2050.

According to the study, the European Green Deal can facilitate such developments by:

  1. Fostering cross-border trade and transport of hydrogen and biomethane and clarifying market rules for green and blue hydrogen, including hydrogen for transport.
  2. Stimulating the production of biomethane and hydrogen by binding mandate for 10% gas from renewable sources by 2030.
  3. Incentivising demand for hydrogen and biomethane by strengthening and broadening the EU Emission Trading System combined with targeted and time-bound Contracts for Difference.
  4. Adapting the EU regulatory framework to make gas infrastructure future proof in an integrated energy system.

Read more: Study: Scaling up biomethane and hydrogen for decarbonisation

Commitment from the majors

But it’s not just in studies and through word of mouth, which is propelling the hydrogen movement, major industrial gas companies are also increasing their commitment to hydrogen.

A great example of this would be Air Liquide’s commitment to at least triple its turnover to more the €6bn by 2035. Announced back in March, the plans were unveiled as part of the company’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) objectives to ACT for a sustainable future, in line with its growth trajectory and with performance and sustainability at the core.

With a focus on hydrogen, Air Liquide said it will reach its ambitious goals by investing approximately €8bn in the low-carbon hydrogen supply chain and contributing to the development of a low-carbon hydrogen ecosystem for the industry and clean mobility.

Taking the above into consideration, Air Liquide said it hopes to bring its total electrolysis capacity to 3GW by 2030.

Read more: Air Liquide to invest €8bn in the low-carbon hydrogen supply chain

It’s not just Air Liquide that are wanting to be leading players in this shift, however. Air Products in 2020 unveiled its involvement in a $5bn world-scale green hydrogen-based ammonia production facility powered by renewable energy that is to be located in Saudi Arabia.

At the time of the announcement, Air Products said it has signed an agreement with ACWA Power and NEOM for the plant, which will be equally owned by the three partners, and supply 650 tonnes per day of green hydrogen, via electrolysis using thyssenkrupp technology, for transportation globally.

Read more: Plans unveiled for $5bn green hydrogen-based ammonia production facility in Saudi

Air Products is also a leader in hydrogen fuelling infrastructure and helping to build the hydrogen economy around the world for zero-emission vehicles. The company’s technology has been used in over 10 million hydrogen fills to date, and Air Products has been involved in over 250 hydrogen fuelling projects in more than 20 countries.

Sustainability is one of Air Products’ core values and business drivers. The company is focused on serving energy, environmental and emerging markets, all of which are central to the sustainability of the world. Seifi Ghasemi, Chairman, President and CEO for Air Products has said the company has a huge opportunity to help solve the world’s urgent environmental issues through its industrial gases and large-scale gasification, carbon capture, and hydrogen businesses.

Read more: World-scale projects are required to reduce green hydrogen costs, says Air Products

Linde is another major committed to the movement, and in fact earlier this year unveiled plans to construct Asia’s largest hydrogen facility.

Set to boast a capacity of over 30 tonnes per day, the facility will process enough hydrogen to fuel 100,000 cars and will utilise Linde’s hydrogen liquefaction technology, which the company says is currently used to produce approximately half of the world’s liquid hydrogen.

Read more: Linde to build Asia’s largest liquid hydrogen facility in South Korea

gasworld’s five-part series to celebrate World Environment Day continues tomorrow, when biomethane will be in focus. Keep an eye out!