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    Technology: Green hydrogen takes off and its role in global energy transition

    December 2, 2022 - CE Noticias Financieras



      The use of hydrogen as an energy source refers to its use as a heat source when burned in combination with oxygen. This reaction generates zero carbon emissions.

      However, production currently relies mostly on fossil fuels. The challenge is to move towards green hydrogen from electrolysis processes. The development of this technology also requires further advances in storage capacity.

      The International Energy Agency (IEA) reported that hydrogen demand reached 94 million tons (Mt) in 2021, recovering above pre-pandemic levels (91 Mt in 2019) and containing energy equivalent to approximately 2.5% of global final energy consumption.


      Most of the increase came from traditional uses in refining and industry, although demand from new sources grew to about 40,000 Mt. This is 60% more than in 2020, although it must be recognized that this is from a low baseline.

      Some new processes for obtaining hydrogen are showing signs of progress.

      For example, steel project announcements for the use of pure hydrogen in the direct reduction of iron are growing rapidly, just one year after the first demonstration plant was commissioned.

      The first fleet of hydrogen fuel cell trains started operating in Germany. There are also more than 100 pilot and demonstration projects for the use of hydrogen and its derivatives in shipping.

      Major companies are already entering into strategic alliances to secure the supply of these fuels. In the energy sector, the use of hydrogen and ammonia is attracting more attention. Announced projects accumulate up to almost 3.5 GW of potential capacity by 2030.


      If all the projects currently underway were realized, by 2030 the production of green, low-carbon hydrogen could reach up to 24 Mt per year, with 9 to 14 Mt based on electrolysis and 7 to 10 Mt on fossil fuels through Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS) technology.

      In the case of electrolysis, the commissioning of all ongoing projects could lead to an installed electrolyzer capacity of between 134 and 240 GW by 2030, with the low end of the range similar to the total installed renewable capacity in Germany and the high end across Latin America.

      The goal of zero net carbon emissions by 2050 requires 100 Mt of green hydrogen production per year by 2030. However, at the current pace, 34 Mt is projected to be reached.

      You can also read: Zinc refinery to increase production value by up to 18%.

      A significant portion of projects are currently in advanced planning stages, but only a few (4%) are under construction or have reached the final investment decision.

      Key reasons include uncertainties about demand, lack of regulatory frameworks and lack of available infrastructure to deliver hydrogen to end users.

      The challenge for hydrogen efficiency, in terms of carbon, is that electrolyzers using low-emission electricity are needed to produce low-emission hydrogen.

      Currently, electrolyzer manufacturing capacity is almost 8 GW per year and, according to industry announcements, this figure could exceed 60 GW by 2030.

      In Latin America, the most advanced countries for hydrogen production are Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina. In that order, according to the H2LAC Index.

      This ranking was made by the consulting firm specializing in transport and sustainable energy Hinicio with the results of surveys conducted in 21 countries. Public policies play a determining role.


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