Hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, could significantly decrease fossil fuel reliance.
95% of global hydrogen production relies on fossil fuels which – via a process called steam methane reforming – produces CO2and carbon monoxide as byproducts which are then released into the atmosphere.
But a more sustainable alternative exists in the form of ‘green’ hydrogen.
Green hydrogen refers to a method of hydrogen production that uses 100% renewable energy to split water molecules. This cleaner process, called water electrolysis, uses electricity produced from renewable energy sources like wind and solar to separate water molecules into green hydrogen and oxygen.
When voltage is applied in a fuel cell, hydrogen is produced at the cathode and oxygen at the anode. This means green hydrogen is both storable and transportable and can be used to power fuel cell vehicles like cars, buses and trucks, cargo ships and other forms of transportation.
There are no CO2 emissions associated with green hydrogen production or usage, and when used within a fuel cell the only byproduct is the water used in its original production.
Hydrogen is increasingly replacing fossil fuels in several industries, with global demand for hydrogen having increased by more than threefold since 1975. In 2022, the European Commission approved funding for 41 hydrogen projects aimed at decarbonizing the mobility and industrial sectors, as the hydrogen rollout gathers momentum.
Hydrogen demand and the use of green technologies for its production enable hydrogen-based fuels to avoid up to 60 Gt of carbon emissions in the Net Zero Scenario by 2050. This represents 6% of total emissions reductions.
Green hydrogen offers a sustainable method of production that will be key to the energy transition as Europe strives for total carbon neutrality.
For more on green hydrogen, read Time to Invest in Hydrogen.