Hydrogen Technology and Innovation key to a Zero Carbon Future

As we push towards a hydrogen and zero emission future, we must ensure we deliver the resources necessary for our universities, innovators, and industry to develop the technological solutions required to achieve the 2050 targets.

To keep ahead of the pack, as we witness more and more countries around the globe working on Hydrogen, we must be ready and take advantage of the energy potentials of hydrogen, bio-methane, and ammonia. It is critical we support and develop our national energy policy that includes a comprehensive Hydrogen Strategy that aims for a zero-carbon powered society.

When we expand the production and usage of hydrogen, it will make hydrogen a viable economic and cleaner alternative to fuels including, petrol, diesel, oil, natural gas. As we have pointed out on many occasions this has to include the development of the infrastructure, supply chain and skills needed to produce, store, operate and maintain it.

Green Hydrogen is a form of energy that does not produce carbon dioxide emissions (CO2), and as it has been demonstrated in projects such as GenComm when renewable energy including solar, wind and biomass is used to produce the hydrogen the process is almost entirely carbon-free.

We do have to tackle the hard questions and the most talked about and that is cost. There is a valid argument that states that hydrogen is not an option because it is much more expensive than fossil fuels. While this is true, we should see this as an opportunity to find and develop new lower cost innovations. We need to act now and come up with new ways of thinking to ensure future generations do not suffer because we did not have the courage or conviction to deliver real solutions.

It also makes good business sense, in a recent report from the Hydrogen Council it states, by 2050, the market for hydrogen and hydrogen-related technologies is expected to draw revenues of more than US$2.5 trillion per year and create jobs for more than 30 million people worldwide,

Yes, the costs of transporting and storing hydrogen are currently high, however, these will reduce as the demand for Hydrogen increases and production costs fall.

A viable solution will be the development of ammonia. One of the Research Papers in the GenComm portfolio of projects identified ammonia as a potential energy carrier as it is already used to make fertiliser and other industrial materials. Costs can be lowered, in a similar way we should on our wind to hydrogen solution by leveraging the existing infrastructure for shipping and storage.

Ammonia is made from nitrogen and hydrogen and will be Zero Carbon when produced from Green Hydrogen.

Ammonia is used in household cleaning and fertiliser for plants and crops, it also has the potential to become a zero-emission energy carrier transporting clean energy across the globe. As renewable energy currently travels through the electricity grid means it cannot be easily stored or shipped. If this issue can be resolved it will make renewable energy a major player.

Converting renewable energy (incl. wind, solar, AD etc.) into liquid ammonia would allow it to be transported around the world as easily as fossil fuels.  It is essential that investment is given for researchers to work on improving current systems to convert this carrier into electrical energy to cover periods when its cloudy and still ,where the sun is not shinning or the wind blowing.

The traditional manufacture of ammonia (NH3) is environmentally unfriendly however ammonia is essential, without it we cannot produce enough food for over half of the world’s population. 

At Hydrogen Ireland we are pushing the technological, research and innovation boundaries aiming to promote, alongside our industrial and business communities the importance of increasing the awareness of the benefits of Green Zero Emission Energy.

Mark Welsh, Energia

Hydrogen Ireland Board Member

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