Much has been mentioned that Mexico could be a leader in the production and export of green hydrogen, for which it is already charting the way and although it is still in its first steps, it is projected a great potential for this clean fuel.
The GIZ (German Agency for International Cooperation) points out that it has re-emerged as a key fuel in the fight against climate change, given its potential to eliminate dependence on fossil fuels in various sectors.
What is green hydrogen?
Linde, a leading hydrogen producer, defines it as a clean fuel produced from renewable energy sources in a process called electrolysis.
It explains that when hydrogen liquefaction uses energy derived from renewable sources such as wind turbines, solar panels or hydroelectric installations in combination with electrolysis, no carbon dioxide is emitted from the production of electricity.
How is it obtained?
Electrolysis consists of using an electric current to break down the water molecule into oxygen and hydrogen by means of electrodes, according to Spain's Acciona.
It details that when it is needed to convert it into energy, the hydrogen stored in specific tanks is channeled to a fuel cell, where it is united again with oxygen from the air and electrical energy is obtained, then the only residue left by the process is water.
What are its applications?
GIZ notes that rapid growth is expected in the short term for green hydrogen as its applications expand into other sectors.
Applications can be grouped into:
Conventional: refers to those applications implemented in industrial processes, such as oil refining, ammonia production, methanol, oil sands and metals. In addition, the application of green hydrogen is contemplated to reduce the carbon footprint in industrial processes where it does not participate or has limited application, such as ceramics manufacturing and cement production.
Transportation: In this type of application, hydrogen is more mature as a fuel for cars, buses and trucks. Such vehicles are propelled by electricity generated by fuel cells powered by hydrogen.
In maritime and air transport applications are in earlier stages of development.
Stationary: Refers to any use of hydrogen whose operation occurs at a fixed location, whether for primary power, backup power, electricity or heat.
Large-scale stationary applications include the delivery of electricity and heat to large consumers, while smaller-scale applications may be used in small businesses, residential fields or telecommunications systems.
Mobile: In mobile applications, fuel cells can be used to charge electrical equipment and batteries. It is mainly useful where access to grid power is not available.
As gas: Injection of hydrogen into existing gas pipeline networks is an alternative being evaluated in several countries. This would allow it to be used in different commercial, industrial and residential applications.
Mexico's position in green hydrogen
Green hydrogen is not being produced in Mexico so far, but it is expected that by the end of this year the first molecules will be obtained from small-scale projects and by 2025, there will be large projects.
The GIZ has estimated that with the renewable energy (solar and wind) that exists in the country, there is a capacity to install up to 22 terawatts of electrolysis producing about 1,400 million tons of green hydrogen.
The German Agency has said that Mexico would be the second most competitive exporter to Asian destinations and the third to European markets due to its low cost of green hydrogen production.
The company H2V2 Mexico, refers that green hydrogen would also boost innovation, the creation of more than 3 million jobs, the strengthening of energy security and the arrival of investments for more than 60,000 million dollars.
In Mexico there is still no public policy for green hydrogen, but there are initiatives from the private sector, in 2022 the Mexican Hydrogen Association presented a study and a Roadmap to promote this industry.