Hydrogen, and green hydrogen in particular, have great potential as clean energy solution whether it be as a fuel source or for renewable energy storage. Hydrogen was even included in many pledges made working towards decarbonization during this year’s United Nations Climate Conference, COP26. Keep reading to learn just what green hydrogen is, and it’s potential to aid in environmental efforts.
What is Green Hydrogen?
Hydrogen is classified using a color system that is based on the way it is produced. From least to most environmentally friendly, the colors are: brown, grey, blue, green. Green hydrogen is the only climate-neutral type of hydrogen produced. Climate-neutral refers to the net zero amount of greenhouse gas emissions that occur during green hydrogen production. This means that emissions are balanced so that they are less than or equal to the emissions that get removed through earth’s natural absorption. Green hydrogen production is also a carbon-neutral process.
Hydrogen is produced with an electrolyzer through a process called electrolysis of water. During this process, electricity is used to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. Electricity used in this process can come from renewable power sources such as wind, geothermal or solar. Green hydrogen is produced using one of the renewable sources previously mentioned. Using renewable energy sources to power electrolysis eliminates almost all carbon emissions, making the green hydrogen production process a clean one.
What can green hydrogen be used for?
Green hydrogen can be used in a variety of applications across many industries. It can be used as an energy storage solution. Hydrogen energy storage has the capability to store large amounts of energy for extensive amounts of time, especially in comparison to lithium-ion batteries. Green hydrogen can also be used in various transportation sectors, including air, marine and road. It can also be used to generate electricity and drinking water.
Benefits and drawbacks
Green hydrogen offers many benefits to those who use it. It is completely sustainable, meaning that there are no polluting gases emitted during its combustion or production. It is also easy to store for later uses. Green hydrogen is also versatile, with the capability of being transformed into electricity or gas for various applications. Finally, it is very transportable and can travel through the same gas pipes and infrastructure that natural gas can.
With its many benefits, green hydrogen also has some drawbacks. The first being its high cost which is related to the use of renewable power sources during its production. However, there are financial incentives and funding options that can help offset this cost. As the world works to combat carbon emissions and renewable energy technology becomes more plentiful and accessible, it should also become a cheaper and more realistic solution for many.
Other drawbacks include high energy consumption, meaning that hydrogen production requires more energy than other fuel production. There are also safety issues involved because hydrogen is a flammable and volatile element that requires that certain measures be taken to avoid leakage and explosions.
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