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Is Green Hydrogen the Energy of the Future? by City Tech blogger Jia Ling Lin Huang

The Industrial revolution of the 19th century helped many countries to grow economically and technologically, each having a major role in society. In that period, humans started to use fossil fuels for energy. Petrol, carbon, and gas were burned massively polluting the air and the environment. The industrial revolution led to terrible consequences because huge amounts of CO2 and other harmful substances were released in the air and in our environment, generating multiple issues. And the worst part is that after more than 250 years of the beginning of the industrial revolution, we still use fossil fuels as the primary source of energy. However, there are some different ways to get clean energy, and some of them are competing with fossil fuels. But Green Hydrogen can be the most reliable way to get energy in the future.

Hydrogen is a good source of energy and is abundant on our planet and is renewable and efficient. Hydrogen was used to power up the first combustion motor and is used for NASA’s spaceships. However, the hydrogen in the Earth isn’t pure and it requires an extraction process. According to ABC NEWS in the article “What is green hydrogen, how is it made, and will it be the fuel of the future?” the author said that “blue hydrogen is produced from natural gas, where the emissions are captured using carbon capture and storage.” In other words, the production of blue hydrogen seems relatively eco-friendly because it captures the emissions of methane, but emissions are still there. So, the best way is the green energy producing hydrogen is through water electrolysis, where the water (H2O) and a low power separate the two parts hydrogens (H2) from the oxygen (O). (Figure 1) And the low power can be produced by other sources of clean energy, like wind or solar power.

Figure 1. Extraction of the hydrogen, Blue and Green

Hydrogen can be stored for a long time in a gas or liquid state. Also, it can be delivered through pipelines to power up buildings or transported as ammonia, a zero-carbon fuel. Another use with hydrogen is to transform it as fuel cells, as batteries for electronic devices. Also, hydrogen is very efficient and very powerful. According to studies of the University of Columbia Climate School department “hydrogen contains almost three times as much energy as fossil fuels, so less of it is needed to do any work.”  That means that green energy can drive large industries that require high energy costs, such as manufacturing companies, steel industries, vehicles, or aeronautic and maritime transportation. In addition, hydrogen fuel can power up the electric vehicle in just a few minutes.

Currently, having a green hydrogen system is very expensive but the cost will decline rapidly. In 2020 the cost of producing green hydrogen was three times as natural gas. In the United States, the cost of blue hydrogen costs about $2.30 to $3.49 per kilogram and green hydrogen cost around $4.07 to $7 per kilogram. However, the recent interest in producing green hydrogen and other ways of producing clean energies including those of electrolysis, solar or wind energy, will become cheaper and cheaper. In addition, little by little, governments are reducing subsidies for non-renewable energy production and promoting environmentally friendly projects, including clean energy production. According to the article “Green Hydrogen: Could It Be Key to a Carbon-Free Economy?” by Jim Robbins, countries like Germany give stimulus funds to develop the green energy infrastructure in their country. Also, in the article, the author said, “The Middle East, with the world’s cheapest wind and solar power, is angling to be a major player in green hydrogen.” In fact, countries like Saudi Arabia are promoting large projects to produce green hydrogen. The most ambitious project bears the same name as the city of Noem, where there is a plan to build a huge green hydrogen plant. Funded with $ 5 billion, the NOEM project is expected to produce around 4 gigawatts of clean energy for the city of Noem by early 2025, making it accessible and affordable for everyone. The cost of green hydrogen is expected to drop from $ 6 / kg to $ 1 / kg or $ 1.50 / kg as the production of this energy source is implemented and developed no later than 2025.

In short, green hydrogen energy has a good chance of becoming the main energy source of the future. Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and easy to find on Earth, it is a very good source of renewable energy for the future. In addition, green hydrogen is efficient and its multiple uses are a very good option to provide energy to entire cities as it will be soon in the city of Noem, Saudi Arabia. Governments are expected to encourage and finance the production of renewable energies such as solar or wind, thus allowing lower electrolysis costs to produce more powerful energies such as green hydrogen. Therefore, renewable energies replace fossil fuels, being more accessible and affordable to everyone, without polluting our planet.

SOURCES

7, Renee Cho |January, et al. “Why We Need Green Hydrogen.” State of the Planet, 11 Jan. 2021, https://news.climate.columbia.edu/2021/01/07/need-green-hydrogen/.

Deign, Jason. “So, What Exactly Is Green Hydrogen?” Greentech Media, Greentech Media, 30 June 2020, https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/green-hydrogen-explained.

“Hydrogen Power, Pros & Cons – Betterworldsolutions – the Netherlands.” BetterWorldSolutions, 22 June 2017, https://www.betterworldsolutions.eu/hydrogen-power-pros-cons/.

Jim Robbins • November 5, et al. “Green Hydrogen: Could It Be Key to a Carbon-Free Economy?” Yale E360, https://e360.yale.edu/features/green-hydrogen-could-it-be-key-to-a-carbon-free-economy.

mpetrova92. “Green Hydrogen Is Gaining Traction, but Still Has Massive Hurdles to Overcome.” CNBC, CNBC, 4 Dec. 2020, https://www.cnbc.com/2020/12/04/green-hydrogen-is-gaining-traction-but-it-must-overcome-big-hurdles.html.

Purtill, James. “Will ‘Green Hydrogen’ Live up to the Hype, or Is It All a Load of Hot Air?” ABC News, ABC News, 22 Jan. 2021, https://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2021-01-23/green-hydrogen-renewable-energy-climate-emissions-explainer/13081872.

“World’s Largest Green Hydrogen Project Will Build in Noem Smart City, Saudi Arabia.” Solar Edition, 18 July 2020, https://solaredition.com/worlds-largest-green-hydrogen-project-will-build-in-noem-smart-city-saudi-arabia/.

IMAGES USED IN THE ESSAY:

Figure 1: https://live-production.wcms.abc-cdn.net.au/1600a8e91fc6b3a8b7f5aa8ecfa47a3f?src

Figure 2: https://www.nyiso.com/documents/20142/2251285/How-Green-Hydrogen-Works-2021.jpg/61dd0630-2c11-332b-db36-82e5191cfba5?t=1617127411250

Figure 3: https://images.adsttc.com/media/images/5b61/d410/f197/cc02/7e00/0034/large_jpg/eef59738-94d6-11e8-85e3-d844d3177259.jpg?1533137931

 

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