In a world full of pollutants, concerns about sustainability, and the aim to carry zero-carbon footprints, green hydrogen is serving as a ray of hope for a healthy, green world. However, the current consumption of green hydrogen is limited, but with increasing applications in various industries, green hydrogen is expected to become one of the most required renewable energy sources.
Green hydrogen has various applications, such as industrial feedstock, mobility, oil and gas, and power generation, where it serves as an energy carrier. Accounting for around three-fourths of the total demand, green hydrogen is mainly used for crude oil refining and the synthesis of ammonia and methanol.
Presently, hydrogen production prominently relies on natural gas and coal, together accounting for 99% of the production.
This article will discuss the generation, benefits, and applications of green hydrogen, along with its role in strengthening the green economy.
What is green hydrogen?
Green hydrogen is produced by utilizing renewable energy sources such as wind, hydro, and solar. During production, hydrogen is generally sourced through the electrolysis of water using renewable energy.
Through the process of electrolysis and fuel cells combined with the widespread availability of zero-carbon renewable energy resources, green hydrogen can be very advantageous in bringing sustainable hydrogen solutions to developing countries. Moreover, as compared to synthetic green fuels such as gasoline and synthetic natural gas (SNG), green hydrogen is a single clean energy molecule that can be produced at any scale and any location on Earth.
Green hydrogen has the potential to generate personalized fuels by any community, company, or country, offering flexibility for multiple end-uses, which include industrial feedstock, mobility, oil and gas, and power generation applications.
According to a BIS Research report, the global green hydrogen market was valued at $2.27 billion in 2021 and is projected to reach $108.64 billion by 2031, growing at a (compound annual growth rate) CAGR of 68.9% between 2022 and 2031.
Furthermore, since early 2000, the green hydrogen market has been developing significantly due to various technological advancements in the field of fuel generation through green and natural resources.
How is green hydrogen helpful in generating a green economy?
Green hydrogen could play an important role in decarbonizing hard-to-electrify sectors of the economy, including aviation, long-haul trucking, and heavy manufacturing.
However, the green hydrogen economy is challenging today, probably because of the underlying costs and variation in the availability of renewable energy sources. Since green hydrogen does not require fossil fuels for production, it is a better long-term solution to help decarbonize economies.
Hydrogen prices could vary depending upon various factors such as production, consumption, distribution, and infrastructure costs. For instance, building and operating a hydrogen fueling station roughly costs an additional $6 per kg of hydrogen, which results in an estimated price of at least $9 per kg for hydrogen fuel.
What is the industrial impact of green hydrogen?
Due to the highly appreciable applications in different refining processes such as hydroisomerization, hydrodealkylation, hydrocracking, and hydrodesulfurization, green hydrogen has become one of the gases with increasing demand from the petroleum refining industry, creating a high impact on the oil and gas sector.
Furthermore, green hydrogen is used in the production of ammonia, methanol, steel, and other industrial products, due to which it has a moderate to high impact on the industrial feedstock sector.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the supply of green hydrogen subsequently declined in various industrial sectors, including industrial feedstock, and oil and gas, due to which major green hydrogen projects also got delayed.
However, since then, Europe and North America have gained global traction in terms of green hydrogen production.
Europe has a saddled economy that is associated with high energy prices and is heavily dependent on the natural gas procured from Russia, but it is now embracing green hydrogen production by participating in the funding and investment for the construction of electrolysis plants and other hydrogen infrastructure.
Though the global market for green hydrogen has just begun to grow, it could still play a more prominent role in the energy transition.
Moreover, 2023 is expected to transform the global green hydrogen industry into a large-scale reality with the help of government subsidy schemes that will virtually guarantee profitability for various renewable hydrogen projects.