Hydrogen is an ultra-light gas that can be used to fuel cars, trains and ships without producing any pollution at all. Could hydrogen be the missing link of carbon neutrality? At ENGIE, we are convinced that it is. Five reasons to believe in hydrogen.
As an element of water, which is potentially an inexhaustible resource, green hydrogen ticks all the boxes of the energy transition:
Hydrogen is easy to transport and store, and it can be distributed on demand.
Hydrogen does not produce any CO2, sulphur oxide or fine particle emissions. Just steam.
Hydrogen can be used to store and add value to electricity overcapacity, and it is more efficient than even conventional storage systems, like batteries! It forms the bridge between all the energy systems (electricity, gas, oil, etc.) and can cover most existing uses of energy.
Hydrogen is considered to be the “fuel of the future” and it releases three times more energy that gasoline! (1)
Green hydrogen can be stored and transported on demand, forming an ideal fit with electricity. How? Thanks to Power-to-Gas, a solution for the future that transforms electricity from renewable energies into hydrogen gas for storage. This green hydrogen can then be injected into the distribution networks when the renewable energy sources do not produce enough electricity, so that supplies can continue and peaks in demand can be covered. According to the French environmental agency’s estimates (ADEME), the potential of Power-to-Gas in France could reach 30 TWh per year by 2030!
Grey hydrogen is already widely used in industry all over Europe. This hydrogen is produced by “cracking” gas, a process that emits large quantities of CO2. In almost 94% of cases in France, grey hydrogen is used as a raw material in a number of chemical processes that also emit CO2: the production of ammonia, the refining of oil, the production of steel and cement, etc. Replacing this “fossil” hydrogen with green hydrogen would decarbonize industry on a massive scale and protect the environment in the long term.
Hydrogen-powered vehicles do not produce any carbon or fine particle emissions, while offering a range of up to 700 km. This fuel is three times more powerful than gasoline and boasts an unmatched storage capacity. It takes 4 hours to recharge an electric bus. It takes 20 minutes to recharge a hydrogen-powered bus... Who can say more? (2)
How can the carbon footprint of a sector that accounts for 3% of worldwide CO2 emissions, 15% of sulphur oxide emissions and 17% of nitrogen oxide emissions be reduced? (3) The International Maritime Organization wants to halve the sector’s carbon emissions by 2050 (compared with 2008). To achieve this goal, heavy fuel oil will have to be replaced by solutions that produce fewer emissions. The power of green hydrogen could be a future solution for the decarbonization of maritime transport. Today, the renewable hydrogen produced by Power-to-Gas technology seems to be the only 100% green solution capable of meeting the needs of the shipping sector.
HOW IS ENGIE DEVELOPING GREEN HYDROGEN?
The process has already started. The recovery plan revealed by the French Government in 2020 includes a €7 billion budget for hydrogen, compared with €100 million two years ago. The same budget in Germany totals €9 billion! ENGIE already made a move in this direction a few years ago. Since we are convinced that green hydrogen is the missing link of the energy transition, in 2018, we created a Business Unit entirely dedicated to hydrogen. More than 100 experts in green hydrogen are working every day on the decarbonization of industrial processes and mobility! Our ENGIE Lab CRIGEN research centre is also working on ambitious research programmes on the production and use of green hydrogen for shipping.