Is Hydrogen Energy meant For The Future?

Is Hydrogen Energy meant For The Future?

The world is constantly finding ways to improve quality of life and with the right use of technology, it may improve the well being of every living thing. One of the rising yet infamous renewable technology providers – hydrogen has been in the talks amongst investors and companies to build an invention for the future environment.

However, since hydrogen is versatile and can be derived from a variety of energy sources, its use has recently gained attention in all sectors. If the world supports the adoption of hydrogen fuel, it may offer an untapped opportunity as a renewable source of energy. According to the Hydrogen Council, hydrogen technologies could make up 18% of the world’s total energy needs by 2050 which powers more than 400 million automobiles. This is why it’s important to look into hydrogen’s importance involving the energy’s transition, as well as its growing potential across Asia Pacific (APAC).

The Process of Hydrogen Energy

Currently, the steam methane reformation process produces more than 95% of the world’s hydrogen from fossil fuels including natural gas. Unfortunately, this is known to be a carbon intensive process, with each kilograms of hydrogen emitted equating to 7 kilograms (kg) of CO2. To reduce CO2 emissions, the steam methane reformation process can be paired with carbon capture and storage technology, however the cost of generating hydrogen carbon capture and its storage is around 45% higher. This reformation process can also be substituted with electrolysis, which uses electricity to divide water into hydrogen and oxygen. Electrolysis uses zero carbon and it’s also cost saving renewable energy.

Hydrogen in East Asia

Economic Research Institute for Asean and East Asia (Eria) hydrogen energy research over the past two years has found considerable potential to meet East Asia’s supply and demand needs. If hydrogen is adopted in all markets, the cost of hydrogen will drop by more than half by 2040. Hydrogen is now competitive with gasoline at this price point. The cost of providing renewable energy is currently 3 to 5 times that of gas, owing to the lack of investments in hydrogen supply. Furthermore, widespread adoption of hydrogen will take time to ensure cost competitiveness and safety in all sectors.

Asia Countries Adopting Hydrogen

  • China: It’s notable for China to be one of the largest potential hydrogen producers and users. This country has recently increased hydrogen investment funding to local industries, with an estimated $2 billion injection planned over the next few years.
  • Japan: Famous for its vehicles, Japan is encouraging the use of hydrogen in its automobiles, power plants and other future applications.
  • Brunei: Brunei is Asean’s leading hydrogen supply chain since it has been supplying liquefied hydrogen to Japan. The process requires a temperature of minus 253°C to cool the gas into a liquid state.

Use of Hydrogen Energy

A Toyota hydrogen fuel cell concept vehicle. Taken by Darren Halstead
  • Transport fuel: Hydrogen fuel cells are a viable alternative to batteries when it comes to larger electric motors.
  • Generate power: To produce electricity, hydrogen can be placed into a gas turbine or a fuel cell.
  • Feedstock for industrial use: Hydrogen can be utilized to generate industrial products like ammonia, which is essential for farming and mining.

Hydrogen Energy Setbacks

  • High cost: The two key processes of hydrogen production known as electrolysis and steam reforming, are both extremely costly. This is the main reason why it isn’t widely used around the world.
  • Not the safest: Hydrogen’s potential danger should not be underestimated. Despite the fact that gasoline is somewhat more harmful than hydrogen, the latter is highly flammable and volatile. As compared to gas, hydrogen has no odour, making leak detection nearly impossible.
  • Fossil fuels still take place: Hydrogen energy is known to have low environmental effect, but it needs non renewable sources such as oil, coal and natural gas to separate it from oxygen. 

The Next Step

Hydrogen plays a major role in the energy market, contributing to its wide range of uses and applications. Nonetheless, it will take some time for hydrogen to become a major powerhouse in the energy industry. But it’s clear to see that with a collective approach to business growth, technology advancements in the renewable energy industry, and lowering costs of generating green energy, hydrogen will be viable in a matter of years time. When we bring in hydrogen energy into the picture full force, we can reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, but eliminating it from the system would be difficult.

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