Increasing carbon emissions is one of the biggest threats to our precious environment. Companies around the world want to achieve a zero% carbon emissions target.
And the best solution they came up with is green hydrogen.
Hydrogen can be utilized as fuel to power cars, trucks, trains, ships and planes. Steel can also be made with it.
The only byproduct of consuming that fuel is water again and the energy that comes with it.
What is Hydrogen?
It’s the most abundant element in the universe that can even be found in our sun and stars. You’ll usually find it bound up with other elements like oxygen in the water.
The process of producing green hydrogen is called electrolysis. The energy coming out from the electrolysis process can be utilized to power fuel cells.
There are four types of hydrogens we can produce.
Green Hydrogen is the only one that can be made with renewable energy. But according to World Economic Forum green hydrogen makes only about 0.1% of the total hydrogen production around the world. Because it’s the most expensive one to make at the moment of writing this article.
Some companies suggest Blue Hydrogen is more expensive than grey hydrogen but it’s a better solution. In fact, it is not.
Meredith Annex is the lead hydrogen analyst at BloomberNEF, which is a market research firm.
According to her, to achieve net-zero emissions, everyone has to do something. That means you need solutions for areas where electricity is going to struggle to provide the solution.
And that’s where green hydrogen comes in. Let’s analyze the overall hyped situation of green hydrogen.
Is Green Hydrogen Worth The Hype?
Here are some important points to consider when about Green Hydrogen. Green Hydrogen can cut the carbon emissions in our most polluted sectors. So, We are going to need a lot of this stuff.
90% of the hydrogen created around the world is Grey Hydrogen which is made from Fossil Fuels and production of it must be stopped immediately.
Blue Hydrogen on the other hand produce less Co2 Emissions but its expensive to make than grey hydrogen.
It’s still made from the natural gas with the method of steam methane reforming. It still produce CO2, but instead of letting it go in the air, some Blue Hydrogen production companies claim to capture and store the CO2 underground or utilize for other purposes.
Which makes Blue Hydrogen a nice substitute, right?! Well, not exactly, here’s why!
Robert Howarth from Cornell University from USA explains that Blue Hydrogen actually has a very very large greenhouse gas footprint. Howarth has co-worked on an extensive study related to Hydrogen which made a significant impact in the energy world.
He explains, that greenhouse gas emission from Blue Hydrogen is worse than if you burned the natural gas directly for fuel instead. Nothing low emissions about it at all.
What’s the shocker is the oil and gas industry promise to remove about 90% of emission when making blue hydrogen. But the reality is totally different.
According to Human Rights NGO, Global Witness studied one blue hydrogen facility in Canada run by Shell, only manages to capture 48% carbon emissions. That’s way far less than promised amount, which is 90%.
It’s a shocker to know that what amount of emission is leaked while processing and transporting blue hydrogen.
These processes release methane into the atmosphere. Which is 80 times more powerful in warming the plane than CO2.
It’s a shame to know that despite these horrible outcomes from blue hydrogen, it made it’s way into the official hydrogen strategies of major economies of the world.
According to Global Witness report, Each year, Shell’s plant in Canada has the same carbon footprint as 1.2 million petrol cars.
These economies includes, UK, US, Japan and European Union, yeah, EU, which has proposed other countries to pay carbon border tax, but we’ll talk about that later below.
It seems like a direct strategy of the oil and gas industry. If you see and study the science behind this.
You’ll realize it’s pure marketing. Science does not support this kind of monstrous play with the precious nature.
The goals seems like selling fossil fuels to the world, pretending it’s gonna get better. It’s not gonna get better this way.
Now let’s know what the Blue Hydrogen companies has to say about it. Here are the words of BP, Shell and Saudi Aramco.
Any guesses what they had to say?
Well, Nothing! They don’t have time to explain.
Now that’s the stupidest reason for anyone to have, blue hydrogen manufacturing companies must not get away with it.
According to Chris Jackson, “Blue Hydrogen is a mistake that’ll cost us a lot in the future”. Jackson founded Protium, a UK company that focuses on Green Hydrogen.
Jackson says, we need to build better projects and better technologies which is exactly they want to do with Green Hydrogen.
To make Green Hydrogen, renewable energy is utilized, like wind or solar to power an electrolysis.
This produces no emission, so we end up with truly clean hydrogen, which is Green Hydrogen.
The catch here is, green hydrogen production is very expensive at the moment. But that’ll change overtime because of two reasons.
One: Meredith Annex explains, electrolyzers are getting cheaper, because we are moving to larger projects with more upscaled manufacturing. Which is a big thing.
Two: Prices for renewable energy has fallen consistently and continue to do so.
BloombergNEF predicts that green hydrogen will be cheaper than blue hydrogen by around 2030 and cheaper than grey hydrogen by 2050.
You might be thinking, the problem is solved then, we make ton of green hydrogen and run our economies on that. Well, it’s not that simple. Stick with me.
The biggest challenge in all of this is Hydrogen’s low energy density. Which means you need three times more space to store green hydrogen compare to natural gas.
So, bigger storage facilities are required, depending on how much hydrogen we actually need. And we are going to need a lot of it.
According to Robert Howarth, Renewable electricity is still a scarce, precious resource, and we should use it as efficiently and as effectively as we can. Hydrogen may not be the best way to do that!
Even the founder of Protium, Chris Jackson explains, Hydrogen can be used for everything but it does not mean it should be.
And future is between finding the balance between where we use battery and where we use hydrogen.
Passenger cars are a great example for this, they can run on hydrogen fuel cells. But turning electricity into hydrogen, transporting into fueling stations, pumping it into fuel cells to then convert it back to electricity is not very efficient.
About 60% of the energy that you put gets lost in the process.
Alternatively, you could use the same energy to directly charge a lithium-ion-battery that powers the motor. Here only 20% of the energy is wasted in the process.
Now let’s know about bigger vehicles like trucks. Batteries are getting stronger and require much less charging time. According to this study, which requires payment for access, has found that battery-electric trucks could dominate the market in the future.
Even Green Hydrogen is not the solution for everything, it is going to help in some cases but not in everything.
Chris Jackson says, A lot of effort, time and momentum has been built around the hydrogen. And green hydrogen companies must fulfill and show that momentum between 2022 to 2026.
The most optimistic scenario is that hydrogen can fulfill 20% of our energy needs till 2050.
On this, Meredith Annex says, we need to hit the goals with green hydrogen within this decade, otherwise we won’t be able to achieve our climate goals.
All of the above information is given in the following video. You can watch the video if you prefer visual content.
What Do We Learn From All This?
Blue Hydrogen is not the only solution for all of our planet’s energy needs. Here are three major steps that we can take to achieve the zero emission as soon as possible.
1. Figure out the ways to decrease the amount of carbon emissions.
2. Grey and Blue Hydrogen’s cause more problems than a solution, Their production must be stopped.
3. Focus on decreasing the renewable energy production cost at fastest possible rate.
4. Utilize Green Hydrogen where it’s most efficient. Not everywhere.
Now let’s break down these four points even further.
1. Figure out the ways to decrease the amount of carbon emissions.
The Problem is With The Utilization of Things That Happen on a Daily Basis
Here are the things that contribute to carbon emission. Governments should work with experts in each industry and find solutions to reduce the carbon emission in each sector.
I’ll try my best and find solutions for each industry and suggest them below.
We should strive for the maximum output to reduce emissions from such industries. But even if we can reduce emissions produced by any industry by 0.01%, go for it. Make the change.
– Electricity & heat (24.9%)
– Industry (14.7%)
– Transportation (14.3%)
– Other fuel combustion (8.6%)
– Fugitive emissions (4%)
Land-use change (12.2%)
Industrial processes (4.3%)
Road transport (10.5%)
Air transport (1.7% )
Other transport (2.5%)
Fuel and power for residential buildings (10.2%)
Fuel and power for commercial buildings (6.3%)
Unallocated fuel combustion (3.8%)
Iron and steel production (4%)
Aluminum and non-ferrous metals production (1.2%)
Machinery production (1%)
Pulp, paper, and printing (1.1%)
Food and tobacco industries (1.0%)
Chemicals production (4.1%)
Cement production (5.0%)
Other industries (7.0%)
Transmission and distribution losses (2.2%)
Coal mining (1.3%)
Oil and gas production (6.4%)
Harvest and land management (1.3%)
Agricultural energy use (1.4%)
Agricultural soils (5.2%)
Livestock and manure (5.4%)
Rice cultivation (1.5%)
Other cultivation (1.7%)
Landfill of waste (1.7%)
Wastewater and other waste (1.5%)
We need to figure out how we can reduce emissions in each sector that contributes to it. And how can we utilize the emission outcome and turn it into green energy?
Find alternatives to the things that produce emissions, Reduce their production.
Solution Number One: Aluminum Over Steel
According to the Aluminum Extruders Council, aluminum produces fewer carbon emissions than steel.
Drive Aluminum also suggests the same in detail.
Use Aluminum instead of Steel.
Like governments should promote the use of aluminum instead of steel. Convince the steel manufacturing companies to convert to aluminum manufacturing companies. Recycle as much aluminum as possible.
Advice and suggest companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, reduce the use of aluminum cans and use glass or other environment-friendly materials instead. Then more aluminum will be available for the automotive industry if they can’t get enough aluminum. Because carbon emissions from transportation are too much.
Produce and Save aluminum, recycle it, and utilize it as a substitute for steel.
The issue is aluminum production is more expensive than steel. But there are solutions available for that too.
Here are seven ways to reduce the aluminum cost-effectively by Brightstar Aluminum Machinery
1. Reduce the defects in aluminum profiles
2. Reduce Non-Extrusion cycle time
3. Downtime (Operation interruption)
4. Extrusion Speed
5. Using a porous die
6. Reduce scrap rate and increase production efficiency and qualification ration
7. Using automated and advanced production equipment
You can read the explanation of each point here.
To Be Continued…..
I am a single person working on the project. I’ll update the articles according to my time availability.
Upcoming Content in This Article
More Solutions about reducing carbon emissions.
Solutions about cutting down the cost of renewable energy as soon as possible.
Is the decision of EU’s about applying more tax viable or essential?
Featured Image Inspired by iStock Collection
Base Forest Image by Unsplash
Electricity Must Not Be Free For Anyone! Here’s Why!
1 Answer: Make people capable, so that they are able to pay the bills. Improve education system and their lifestyle.
2 Answer: Electricity isn’t generated for free. So it must be paid at a reasonable cost.
Rest, I think government can also do the job of creation and distribution. Keeping certain things in the hands of government, would be good. In a certain way, that electricity does not go in the hands of private organizations completely.
And public should not face any hike in electricity prices. Maintaining the balance between privatization, and government owned electricity is a must.
But if the government can do the overall job efficiently, which they should do. Then we don’t need to give electricity into the hands of private organizations.
Plus, making people capable of paying the bills would raise our economy. If we’ll give everything or even certain things for free, that would open the path of laziness to people.
No doubt, private organizations would do a great job in this department. But I believe the government is more than capable to handle this sector, and they must keep it under their control.
Do not give electricity for free. Make people capable to pay the bills. Governments should handle everything effectively and efficiently. I think these are the ways to go.
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