What’s with the Hype Around Hydrogen?

Hydrogen has been touted as the “fuel of the future” for decades, but it’s only recently that the hype around hydrogen has really taken off. Hydrogen is being explored as a potential alternative to reducing carbon emissions in a wide range of applications, from cars to trucks to planes. It’s time to look closer at the hype around hydrogen in energy production and transportation.

Hydrogen: The Ultimate Clean Fuel?

One of the main reasons for the hype around hydrogen is its vast potential as a clean, zero-emission fuel. Hydrogen produces only water and heat when burned with oxygen, with no harmful pollutants or greenhouse gas emissions. This makes hydrogen an attractive option for transportation applications, where emissions are a major concern, and for electricity to heat and cool our homes.

Advancements in Hydrogen Technology

Fuel cell technology has undergone significant improvements in recent years, making the process of converting hydrogen into electricity more efficient and cost-effective. Furthermore, advancements in hydrogen storage and transportation technologies have made it easier to store and transport hydrogen, greatly increasing its potential applications as a clean energy source and as a resource to help unlock the full potential of renewable energy.

Applications for Hydrogen

Hydrogen is being explored as a potential alternative to traditional fuels in a wide range of applications. In the transportation sector, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are being developed by major automakers such as Toyota, Honda, and Hyundai. In the aviation industry, hydrogen-powered planes are being developed by companies such as ZeroAvia and Airbus. Hydrogen is also being explored as a potential alternative to natural gas in heating and power generation.

Challenges and Limitations

Like technologies of the past, and even those that exist now, we’re still learning new things about hydrogen. One of the biggest challenges is the cost of producing and distributing hydrogen. But this is something that is being addressed by the Biden Administration and Congress. Researchers, organizations, and businesses are all working on the cost aspect through efficiencies, new technology, and building this fuel source on a commercial scale which will help overcome this challenge.

Additionally, there are limitations around the storage and transportation of hydrogen. However, there are companies, national laboratories and policymakers who are working to build out a network and the corresponding storage to support hydrogen.

Production, Conversion and End Uses

Green hydrogen production, conversion and end uses across the energy system Image: IRENA