• 147 days Could Crypto Overtake Traditional Investment?
  • 151 days Americans Still Quitting Jobs At Record Pace
  • 153 days FinTech Startups Tapping VC Money for ‘Immigrant Banking’
  • 156 days Is The Dollar Too Strong?
  • 157 days Big Tech Disappoints Investors on Earnings Calls
  • 158 days Fear And Celebration On Twitter as Musk Takes The Reins
  • 159 days China Is Quietly Trying To Distance Itself From Russia
  • 160 days Tech and Internet Giants’ Earnings In Focus After Netflix’s Stinker
  • 164 days Crypto Investors Won Big In 2021
  • 164 days The ‘Metaverse’ Economy Could be Worth $13 Trillion By 2030
  • 165 days Food Prices Are Skyrocketing As Putin’s War Persists
  • 167 days Pentagon Resignations Illustrate Our ‘Commercial’ Defense Dilemma
  • 167 days US Banks Shrug off Nearly $15 Billion In Russian Write-Offs
  • 171 days Cannabis Stocks in Holding Pattern Despite Positive Momentum
  • 171 days Is Musk A Bastion Of Free Speech Or Will His Absolutist Stance Backfire?
  • 172 days Two ETFs That Could Hedge Against Extreme Market Volatility
  • 174 days Are NFTs About To Take Over Gaming?
  • 174 days Europe’s Economy Is On The Brink As Putin’s War Escalates
  • 177 days What’s Causing Inflation In The United States?
  • 178 days Intel Joins Russian Exodus as Chip Shortage Digs In
AG Metalminer

AG Metalminer

AGmetalminer.com

MetalMiner is the largest metals-related media site in the US according to third party ranking sites. With a preemptive global perspective on the issues, trends,…

Contact Author

  1. Home
  2. Commodities
  3. Energy

Europe’s Great Hydrogen Debate

Europe Hydrogen

The media — at least in Europe — seems to be abuzz with talk about green hydrogen.

As an energy source, backers envision hydrogen powering everything from aircraft, to steel mills, to global shipping fleets, cars, and homes.

The catalyst (no pun intended) came from the E.U.’s recent greenhouse gas emission policy review.

Hydrogen power moves up the E.U. agenda

The review pushed hydrogen options up the agenda as the only way many industries would achieve carbon neutrality in the next few decades.

Plans old and new have been dusted down or reexamined to push the agenda in an environment awash with stimulus in the hope financial support will make some of them possible.

The Financial Times is far from alone, but its recent coverage in multiple articles illustrates the wide interest in the topic.

Hydrogen power would reduce emissions … but not without challenges

While hydrogen carries huge potential for some industries to dramatically reduce carbon emissions, steel being a major sector dear to our hearts, it isn’t without challenges beyond the pure economics.

To be considered blue hydrogen — that is, without the carbon footprint that comes from its traditional production route of splitting natural gas — it either has to come from the electrolysis of water or from natural gas combined with carbon capture and sequestration. In the latter’s case, both are established technologies but are hugely expensive.

Furthermore, the electricity needed to power the process needs to come from solar or wind power sources if it isn’t to have its own carbon footprint.

Hydrogen production’s impact on emissions

It is debatable whether Europe has the available unused landmass to build enough solar parks or erect enough wind turbines to create sufficient power to power the plethora of industries being promoted as candidates for a switch to hydrogen.

According to the International Energy Agency, almost all hydrogen is supplied from fossil fuels. Furthermore, 6% of global natural gas and 2% of global coal are going to hydrogen production.

As a consequence, the production of hydrogen is responsible for CO2 emissions of around 830 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

That total is equivalent to the CO2 emissions of the United Kingdom and Indonesia combined — hardly a clean fuel based on current industrial production practices.

Nor is hydrogen a particularly energy-intensive fuel source.

Only some 35% of the electricity generated at the solar cell makes its way through to the fuel at the point of use. In many cases, why wouldn’t you just use electricity, for example, in powering cars?

For steel production, electricity can be a direct substitute for hydrogen required as a reductant in blast furnaces by switching steel production to electric arc furnaces. Then, however, iron ore needs to be refined to pellets to make that technologically viable.

Once again, that is a potentially polluting and power-consuming process.

Hydrogen is at a crossroads once again

Hydrogen has been boosted as the fuel of the future on at least two occasions in the past, both crossroads of one sort or another.

The oil crisis of the early 1970s and the onset of the climate change campaign in the late 1980s both boosted hydrogen’s profile.

However, neither event proved successful in producing significant change with respect to hydrogen.

Will this time be any different?

By AG Metal Miner

More Top Reads From Safehaven.com:

Back to homepage

Leave a comment

Leave a comment