Decarbonization needs to happen across many different sectors. We all agree on that. So, what if we had one molecule with a myriad of possibilities for applications? We do. It is hydrogen.
A multi-faceted energy resource and a proven pathway to decarbonization - even in industries which has traditionally been difficult to transform.
Blue hydrogen has the potential to address GHG emissions as a fuel substitute in sectors currently responsible for more than 65% of global emissions. And not only is blue hydrogen a tool to hit low or almost zero emissions it also allows you to keep energy transition costs under control because much of the existing energy infrastructure can be used.
Source: Kearny Energy Transition report
"With increased scale of hydrogen deployment and subsequent falling costs of hydrogen and various technologies, from a total cost of ownership (TCO), hydrogen could be the most competitive low-carbon solution in more than 20 applications by 2030, including long haul trucking, shipping, and steel".
Here are some exciting options for blue hydrogen to play a vital role in reaching a net-zero future.
Keeping the mobility sector on track
Let's first define what we mean by mobility. It's every new application that moves people or goods with the use of blue hydrogen. Industries like marine, aviation, road transport, and even space are looking at replacing fossil fuels with blue or green alternatives.
Demand for low-carbon solutions is increasing every day. The number of cars, buses, and trucks on the roads grows yearly and presents massive potential for using hydrogen as a fuel for less GHG emissions. In this segment, fuel cell cost and the availability of refueling stations will be essential for a successful business case.
Shipping and aviation both have opportunities to decarbonize with hydrogen-based fuels. Ammonia and methanol can address the environmental targets in shipping, and sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) is an attractive option for the aviation industry and is widely supported by policies and legislation.
Source: The future of Hydrogen by IEA
Turn on the heat. With hydrogen in buildings and industry.
The existing pipelines for gas can be used, making the shift to hydrogen-based energy relatively simple. The demand for this application of blue hydrogen rapidly grows for many good reasons. Blending hydrogen into existing natural gas networks can help reduce emissions. Long-term heating could include the direct use of hydrogen in boilers or fuel cells, depending on the infrastructure and the needed safety measures.
Blue hydrogen could also be used for power generation. Ammonia can be co-fired in coal-fired power plants to reduce CO2 emissions. Or hydrogen can be used in gas turbines or fuel cells.
The business case is often attractive since much of the existing power production infrastructure can be used. Demand for hydrogen-based power is projected to rise tremendously over the next decade.
Let hydrogen carry the energy
Energy is critical for maintaining and developing industrialized societies, and hydrogen and especially its derivative, ammonia, are ideal energy carriers to store and transport energy from one place to another.
There are several ways to transport the hydrogen and the all-important energy. By road or train or in pipelines up to distances of approximately 1,000 km and simple to transport within borders.
With hydrogens ability to deliver and store large amounts of energy it has the potential to become a preferred carbon-free energy carrier in the future net-zero energy system.
A new, clean feedstock for heavy industries
Blue hydrogen is an excellent enabler for decarbonizing heavy industries like refineries, petrochemical plants, ammonia plants, steel, cement production, etc. Their manufacturing processes can change for the better, with clean hydrogen being the potential game-changer. For example, replacing fuel gas with hydrogen for heat generation will contribute tremendously to reducing CO2 emissions.
Hydrogen is also very efficient for fueling high-temperature industrial processes needed for producing products like steel and cement. And if the hydrogen is manufactured and carbon is captured at the same site as the end-product, the environmental and economic benefit is huge. According to a report from the International Energy Agency it sees CCS contributing up to 55 percent of potential emissions reductions in the industry by 2050.
Let’s act today
Major countries, regions, and organizations already have hydrogen strategies in place and all the new applications for hydrogen will undoubtedly spur the demand to far more than what is currently supplied. In fact, the International Energy Agency's 2030 forecast points to the need for more than 200Mt hydrogen meaning that expanding the hydrogen production capacity is vital to efficiently play a role in the energy transition.
Here is the good news: The technologies to produce the blue hydrogen at scale are ready. Let’s partner to take the lowest energy route to ultra-low carbon intensity hydrogen and bring the emissions down.