• 12 hours Are Bitcoin’s Environmental Risks Overblown?
  • 19 hours Why The Gold Rush Ran Out Of Steam
  • 3 days Coinbase IPO Explodes, But Fails To Keep Its Momentum
  • 4 days China Slaps Alibaba With Record $2.75B Antitrust Fine
  • 5 days The Pandemic Has Culled The Middle Class
  • 6 days Legacy Automakers See Massive Spike In Sales
  • 7 days Tesla's Biggest Competitor Is Going Cobalt-Free
  • 8 days Stocks That Could Benefit From Biden’s $2.5 Trillion Infrastructure Plan
  • 10 days The Mafia Has Expanded Its Influencer Under COVID-19
  • 11 days How Fintech Will Get Skeptics Into Crypto
  • 12 days Monday Markets Rise On Stellar Jobs Report
  • 15 days Not Even Bribery Allegations Can Crush Cannabis Boom
  • 19 days Canada May Become Leader In Booming Battery Market
  • 20 days Nearly 42% Of All Amazon Reviews Are Fake
  • 21 days Kidnapping Is Big Business In Nigeria
  • 22 days COVID Fraud Amounts To Nearly $570M
  • 24 days Art Is Now An Algorithm
  • 26 days TikTok Threatens America, Tesla Threatens China
  • 26 days Small-Cap Energy Sectors With Big Upside
  • 29 days Coinbase Valued At $68 Billion Ahead Of IPO
China Approves Massive Coal Company Merger

China Approves Massive Coal Company Merger

China has approved the merger of two…

The Coronavirus Crisis Can’t Put A Lid On Coal Production

The Coronavirus Crisis Can’t Put A Lid On Coal Production

Despite massive disruptions caused by…

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