Will green hydrogen be the next revolution in the world of renewable energy or will it be just an idea that will never achieve its goals? Well, before we move on, let's consider the continuous increase of regional and global agreements to achieve the decarbonization of energy and thus try to stop or even slow down the curve of global warming that threatens humans, our way of life, and all other living beings on the planet.
Now, of all the processes that generate carbon emissions in the world, in which of these could green hydrogen be used?
In the latest study released by the Hydrogen Council last January, applications were identified in the transportation sector, heat and power for buildings, heat and power for manufacturing, and last but not least, raw materials for manufacturing. All evaluated applications account for 60% of global carbon emissions.
Okay, wait a minute, but... if this is so... Why don't we see all vehicles powered by green hydrogen or why don't I have a smart power unit at home that heats it up and provides me with on-demand electricity by using hydrogen? Well... the answer is the same as always... the root of all evil, money. For a new technology to be accepted, it needs to scale up, that is, to build enough units of generation, conversion, etc.
The processes must be optimized and everything must fit more or less with the existing energy transmission networks. This not only takes time, but it also needs regulatory support to enhance it in those countries where hydrogen will be implemented.
But, apart from the logical benefit of not destroying our planet and our way of life, why would a government go for hydrogen over the typical method? Well, there is no better common interest than money. There is one operation that you may not have thought of... Selling green hydrogen.
Imagine that, out of the blue, you become the leader of a country with great renewable energy resources, which has the inherent characteristic of being irregular. You don't want to oversize the renewable network and thus ensure a feasible return on your investment, but ... what if you could store the energy? Or better yet, what if you could sell the surplus in the form of gas or liquid to someone else? Hydrogen allows that. Ta-da!
Are there any governments currently thinking about doing this crazy thing of selling hydrogen? Well, yes, Australia wants to sell it, Japan and Singapore want to buy it, just to give a few examples. Europe has also created its own roadmap recently...
Only through an economic alignment of interests can we know if a new industrial, commercial or social process is going to prosper.
My prediction is that green hydrogen is here to stay and that we are facing the rebirth of a technology that can have an impact. Only time will tell which countries and regions have been able to take advantage of the opportunity that green hydrogen provides to attract investment and earn foreign exchange from its sales.
As a side note, in a recent PwC study, it was stated that the regions with the greatest potential for hydrogen exports are GCC, Australia, Canada, Chile, and Argentina. Will they seize the opportunity?