Increasing hydrogen energy requires all technologies to be pushed forward


No single hydrogen technology should be prioritised, says a new study, and the production, distribution, and use of hydrogen needs to be optimised.

Hydrogen could play an important role in helping reach net-zero carbon emissions and climate change targets, and all routes to making this a reality should be carefully researched, funded, and supported by policy; say the international team of researchers behind the new analysis.

Hydrogen can be used as an alternative fuel to power, transportation, and home heating, and for a range of industrial applications, such as steelmaking. Burning hydrogen produces only water vapour, so it is considered a clean fuel compared to fossil fuels like petrol and natural gas, which produce greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide and methane.

However, pure hydrogen is not found in nature, and requires energy to split it out from molecules such as water or methane. The molecular source of hydrogen, as well as the source of the energy used to extract it, can impact how ‘clean’ the fuel is overall.

The production of hydrogen from natural gas together with ‘carbon capture’ technology is known as ‘blue’ hydrogen. This process creates pure hydrogen and captures carbon dioxide, thereby preventing the latter from entering the atmosphere and contributing to global warming. When hydrogen is produced from water, using renewable energy, the result is called ‘green’ hydrogen.

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