Why Hydrogen

Hydrogen: The Fuel of the Future

Being the most common resource on the planet, there is no surprise why hydrogen is at the forefront of clean energy alternatives. Hydrogen is the base element for 75% of our universe, meaning it can be found in all living things including water, animals, plants, and humans.

Hydrogen is a key contender to replace other energy sources, such as methane, as it can provide stable energy production to a wide range of global industries while producing zero carbon emissions. Not only is hydrogen a reliable energy source on its own standing, but can also support other renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.

Thus, hydrogen will play a vital role in our clean energy future and global efforts to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Technological breakthroughs and increased investment into hydrogen research mean that it has become one of the primary energy solutions choices for western governments and companies committing to net-zero targets.

Types of Hydrogen

The two primary categories of hydrogen are greenhouse gas generating and emissions-free.

Emissions Generating Hydrogen

In its natural form, hydrogen is a clean fuel. However, manufacturing hydrogen involves energy production and, as a result, has carbon by-products. The emissions generating hydrogen relates to how the hydrogen is created. These forms of hydrogen production are known as grey, brown, and blue hydrogen.

The process to produce brown hydrogen involves the most significant environmental damage. Brown hydrogen is produced by burning coal, which generates high levels of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide pollutants. In addition, these emissions are not captured, unlike the process to make other forms of hydrogen.

Grey hydrogen is the most common form and is created from natural gas or methane. The process to produce grey hydrogen is known as “steam reforming” and involves using non-renewable natural gas. This process generates a smaller amount of carbon emissions into the atmosphere than producing brown hydrogen.

Arguably the “cleanest” form in this category is blue hydrogen. This process involves capturing carbon produced through steam methane reforming, causing a chemical reaction where hydrogen and carbon monoxide are formed. The method is mainly emissions-free, as a device is used to capture the hydrogen, and thus, the emissions are not dispersed into the atmosphere.

Zero Emissions Hydrogen

Green, emerald, and turquoise hydrogen are often referred to as clean, as they are produced using emissions-free energy from other renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power. When other renewables are made, they cannot always generate energy at all points of time and flow in peaks and troughs. Green hydrogen makes use of the excess renewables that may be produced during their peak production times.
The production of green hydrogen applies electrolyser technology, which involves using renewable electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

Emerald hydrogen involves a method for converting waste and feedstock into gas. The process requires the waste to be ignited and then retracted for the air injection point to gasify the fuel.

Turquoise hydrogen is produced by breaking down natural gas through a process called pyrolysis or uses a plasma arc to split methane into hydrogen and solid carbon. Carbon dioxide pollutants are not directly generated through the production of turquoise hydrogen. However, natural gas can be a complex raw material to obtain.

Pink hydrogen, similar to green hydrogen, is produced through the process of water electrolysis. However, pink hydrogen is made by using nuclear energy rather than renewables.

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