Solar panels and wind turbines can’t clean up everything. Making steel, for instance, calls for higher temperatures than traditional electric furnaces can deliver. That’s why plans for blunting climate change now envision a big role for hydrogen in curbing industrial emissions and for powering cars, trucks and ships. So-called green hydrogen is essentially emissions free, But meeting the ambitious plans being made for it means building a giant industry almost from scratch. To learn more, read “Why Hydrogen Is the Hottest Thing in Green Energy.” Reading this article may require a subscription from the news outlet.

Key Takeaways:

  • Replacing fossil fuels used in furnaces that reach 1,500 degrees Celsius with hydrogen gas could make a big dent in the 20% of global carbon dioxide emissions that come from industry. And some companies are betting that hydrogen-powered fuel cells will be a better choice than batteries for heavy vehicles.
  • The European Union (EU) has set the most ambitious goal for green hydrogen: building electrolyzers that are capable of converting 40 gigawatts of renewable electricity into hydrogen by 2030.
  • China plans to have 1 million vehicles powered by hydrogen fuel cells on its roads by the end of 2030. The value of its hydrogen production could reach 1 trillion yuan ($155 billion) by 2025.
  • The U.S. had 6,500 fuel cell electric cars on the road in 2019 – the world’s largest fleet – and the Biden administration has set a goal of reducing the cost of renewable hydrogen by 80% by 2030.
  • Royal Dutch Shell Plc is leading a consortium developing a project to produce up to 10 gigawatts of green hydrogen by 2040.

Path to 100% Perspective:

Power generation is undergoing fast transformation towards cleaner energy sources due to low-cost renewables. In addition, rapidly maturing energy storage technologies, together with sector coupling, are for the first time paving a route towards zero-emission electricity generation. The missing piece of the puzzle is viable long-term storage which will be needed to provide megawatts of capacity and megawatt hours of energy during long duration seasonal conditions or unexpected renewable droughts. Hydrogen-based sustainable fuels can be stored in large quantities and for extended periods at power plants for long periods of use, enabling clean capacity to be cost effectively scaled up according to the needs of grids.


photo by Dippyaman Nath on Unsplash