Hydrogen: A Profile
Hydrogen is the simplest kind of chemical element and comes first on the periodic table. It has no color, odor, or taste and produces water when it burns in the air. Hydrogen is an element that forms a diatomic molecule, that is, composed of two atoms of the same stuff. Because of its reactive nature, the hydrogen atom needs to bond to another atom. The reactivity of hydrogen contributes to many of its unique properties.
Hydrogen exists in many compounds, such as water, the most abundant compound on Earth. Hydrogen also exists in almost all organic compounds and makes up about 61 percent of all the atoms in the human body.
Hydrogen & Energy:
Hydrogen could become a future energy source as it can be used to create steam, electricity, and other forms of energy. Hydrogen is also considered a clean form of energy, as its only product is water, which is harmless. However, it is also volatile, making it dangerous to work with.
Grey, Blue, and then Green!
Grey hydrogen is produced from methane (CH4) by splitting it with steam into CO2 and H2 hydrogen. Grey hydrogen has increasingly been produced from coal, with significantly higher CO2 emissions per unit of hydrogen produced. It has negligible energy transition value.
Blue hydrogen follows the same process as grey, with the additional technologies necessary to capture the CO2 produced when hydrogen is split from methane (or coal) and stored for the long term. Not 100% of the CO2 produced can be captured, and not all means of keeping it are equally effective for a long time. However, by capturing a substantial part of the CO2, the climate impact of hydrogen production can be reduced significantly.
In contrast to the above two modes, carbon has no role in generating green hydrogen. Green hydrogen (GH2) is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using renewable electricity. Though green hydrogen is an ideal solution for a cleaner energy legacy, it has some major challenges before reaching its fullest commercial appeal. The challenges for commercialization that are relevant across all phases are as follows:
- High overall system costs, including capital, operational, maintenance, and running costs.
- Supply chain development across all the pillars is still in its earliest phase.
- Integration with other existing energy vectors using information and communication infrastructure.
- Need for legal and administrative adherence, certification mechanisms, recommendations, and regulations for different components of the system.
- Low user acceptance and social awareness.
- Developing after-sales service for hydrogen technology.
Sciencing.com / Special Properties Hydrogen
“Hydrogen Market Share, Size and Industry Growth Analysis 2019 – 2025.” https://www.industryarc.com/Research/Hydrogen-Market-Research-501664 (accessed Dec. 30, 2020).
Sivapriya Bhagavathy and Jagruti Thakur, IEEE Smart Grid Bulletin, February 2021, Green Hydrogen: Challenges for Commercialization.