The world is in a hurry. Accelerating the renewal of the energy matrix is at the top of the global leaders’ priorities, as was exhaustively discussed last month at the COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Not only because of the damage caused by the use of fossil fuels but also in view of the risk to energy security that the European continent is going through, amidst the war scenario between Russia and Ukraine. A good number of European countries depend on gas exported from Russia. Energy independence – if clean – is the way forward.
Considered the fuel of the future, green hydrogen appears as a solution that carries the possibility of providing benefits both from an economic and environmental point of view. But to carry the green label, it is essential that hydrogen be produced and transported without the use of fossil fuels or other environmentally harmful processes.
Projects to study the feasibility of green hydrogen production have proliferated around the world, with Europe leading the way, but countries like Brazil are racing to increase the supply of green hydrogen from wind energy generated by offshore wind turbines.
To stay on top of this global demand, we present some important information about what green hydrogen is, how it is produced, and how it can help decarbonization:
Green hydrogen is an energy source that can be used in liquid or gaseous form. It can replace fuels derived from fossil sources such as gasoline, diesel, gas, and coal.
It is obtained from a water molecule, which is composed of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Using a process called electrolysis, it is possible to split this molecule and separate the hydrogen from the oxygen. This process, however, requires a lot of electrical energy.
In the case of green hydrogen, the electricity used for electrolysis comes from renewable sources, such as solar and wind power. Electrolysis can also occur through the use of natural gas energy, which results in gray hydrogen, or coal-fired energy, which is black hydrogen, for example.
Hydrogen is a major contender to replace fossil fuel derivatives in sectors that have difficulty electrifying activities to reduce emissions by using electricity from wind and solar sources. This is the case, for example, in transportation and steelmaking.
Despite all advantages, green hydrogen is more expensive to produce than grey hydrogen and its implementation still requires significant investments. These are some of the difficulties that research, government policies and private investment have the challenge of overcoming.
Source: Acciona | Valor Econômico