But perhaps hydrogen’s biggest potential lies in its ability to store energy for rainy days. While fossil fuels are stores of energy from prehistoric sunlight, hydrogen might be used to store solar energy from the past 12 hours. “You need green hydrogen to maintain increasing the quantity of renewable energy,” says Mowill. Once the electricity grid reaches a critical mass of renewable energy from sources like wind and solar, something has to step in to stabilize and smooth out peaks and dips in supply and demand. “It cannot be solved with a battery; on a scale that might not be practical,” says Mowill. “Hydrogen is a excellent strategy to offset that.”
Unlike batteries, hydrogen might be transported efficiently. It might be compressed into liquid hydrogen, which requires some energy, or it may possibly be became ammonia, which is already being shipped around the globe, after which “brokenback into hydrogen and nitrogen on the destination.
Countries similar to Japan and South Korea, which have energy-intensive industries (similar to steel and automobile and ship manufacturing) but lack renewable resources to power them sustainably, are wanting to import hydrogen from countries with surpluses of renewable energy, similar to Australia.
“Basically, these hydrogen molecules or direct derivatives of hydrogen are produced in countries with abundant renewable resources,” says Carlos Trench, head of hydrogen projects at Engie Australia and New Zealand. “Then you transport the molecules – whether it’s ammonia or another derivative – and then you definately convert that molecule back into green energy at a destination where direct renewable energy development isn’t possible.”
Japan has already declared its intention to remain World leader within the hydrogen economy as a part of its carbon neutrality strategy. South Korea hopes that by 2050 hydrogen will supply a few third of its energy.
But Percy points out that despite all the joy, green hydrogen remains to be a small player in the worldwide decarbonization game at once. “Right now, it’s really a really small scale,” he says. But it’s getting going.
Chinese state-owned energy company Sinopec began construction on what will likely be the world’s largest green hydrogen installation. Upon completion, it can produce 30,000 tons of green hydrogen per yr. (At this point, lower than one million tons of low-carbon hydrogen are produced annually, most of which is produced using fossil fuels and the resulting carbon dioxide is then captured).
Spain can also be moving ahead in production and in 2020 revealed its plans to develop into a significant producer of hydrogen. He set himself the goal of production 4 gigawatts of green hydrogen per yr by 2030, but has already exceeded this number 4 times and plans to construct more production plants.
Cost remains to be a problem. About 60 percent of green hydrogen spending is the associated fee of the renewable energy used to supply it, Percy says, in order renewable energy becomes cheaper, so will hydrogen. The cost of electrolyser technology is one other major component of the relatively high price of hydrogen, but Mowill says electrolysers are getting increasingly efficient. There are also the logistics of storage, compression and transportation, which further drive up the worth of the green hydrogen molecule.
But because the hydrogen star rises, those costs will inevitably come down, says Percy. “If you have a look at what happened to solar, each solar and battery systems have gone down by about 80 percent in about 10 years,” he says. He predicts that the identical will occur with hydrogen once he finds a more solid technological basis. “The trials which are happening now are really necessary for the industry to learn from,” he says. “While it is a pilot scale today, in five years they may probably be ready for something greater.”