Top 10 Hydrogen Trends to Witness in 2024
In this blog, we aim to break away from the usual exploration of what clean hydrogen is. Why is it gaining traction over fossil fuels and alternative renewable energy fuels? How is regulatory support further bolstering this low-carbon fuel? Therefore, we’d solely focus on the key hydrogen trends that will reshape the landscape in 2024.
Let’s dive into the top 10 trends influencing hydrogen’s trajectory:
- Fuel Cells
Renewable energy systems (RES) cannot generate constant power throughout the year. Thus, hydrogen fuel cells have emerged as instant power-generating devices, supporting the instant demand response and mitigating the gap between power generation fluctuations.
Fuel cells stand at the forefront of revolutionizing road, marine, and aviation transportation towards sustainability, as the automotive sector is one of the major contributors to global warming. Moreover, other industries are also gradually shifting to hydrogen fuel cell technology by reducing their carbon footprint and adhering to environmental regulations.
- Renewable Hydrogen
Renewable hydrogen, also known as green hydrogen or clean hydrogen, is a catalyst for large-scale decarbonization efforts. Unlike traditional hydrogen production approaches, green hydrogen production, which involves renewable energy-powered electrolysis, eliminates GHG emissions. Electricity produced by solar concentrators and wind turbines provides threshold energy to initiate electrolysis for green hydrogen production. Apart from mobility, various enterprises are engaged in replacing conventional fuel-consuming technologies to decarbonize their business operations and foster a green economy.
- Advanced Electrolysis
Advanced electrolysis technologies; including PEM (proton exchange membrane), SOE (solid oxide electrolyzers), and AEM (anion-exchange membrane); enhance the scalability of hydrogen production. These innovative technologies not only reduce operational & capital expenditures but also avoid the use of precious metal catalysts, thereby leading to the mass production of clean fuel pivotal in decarbonizing hard-to-abate sectors.
Apart from hydrogen, its chemical intermediates, such as e-methanol, can also be used as low-emission fuel for powering internal combustion engines. Moreover, by-products of hydrogen production, including methane and methanol, reintroduce hydrogen into circulation. The waste-to-hydrogen conversion is also a critical step toward decarbonization, as this type of conversion addresses the waste crisis besides maximizing the utility of renewable energy and ensuring a sustainable future.
- Hydrogen Carriers
Transporting hydrogen in gaseous or liquid form is inconvenient due to the handling & operational constraints of pure hydrogen storage containers. To resolve this issue, hydrogen carriers are formed by reacting hydrogen with metals, such as magnesium, and these carriers can be stored for a longer duration and are easy to transport. However, research & development is underway to extract the pure gas from the carriers in order to recover 100 percent hydrogen.
- Carbon Capture, Utilization & Storage (CCUS)
To reach net zero by 2050, even hydrogen production technologies should be decarbonized. Mass production of blue hydrogen using steam reforming, which combines natural gas and heated water in the form of steam, releases carbon dioxide as a by-product. Incorporating CCUS technologies into hydrogen production significantly reduces its environmental impact by storing or utilizing these gaseous CO2 emissions in other industrial processes, such as fertilizer production and enhanced oil recovery (EOR).
- Hydrogen Distribution
The hydrogen economy is nascent, as extremely limited end-use storage, transportation, and distribution infrastructure has been developed so far. Regional distribution of hydrogen is done through newly equipped pipelines or retrofitted natural gas pipelines within the confines. Hydrogen, in liquid and gaseous forms, is also transported across states through trains and ships. Also, a substantial number of hydrogen refueling stations need to be installed to mitigate the refueling challenges of fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs).
- Hydrogen Liquefaction & Compression
Developing robust containers that can store hydrogen intact throughout the travel duration is essential for bolstering the hydrogen economy. Cryogenic tanks store liquid hydrogen at -253 C, ensuring no leakages and preserving purity. Depending on the type of materials in the walls and carrying capacity, cryogenic tanks are segregated into four distinct types: type I, type II, type III, and type IV. Compressed hydrogen in gaseous form involves pressurizing the gas at around 350-700 bar and storing it in suitable gas storage tanks and cylinders.
- Combined Heat & Power
Decarbonizing the Combined Heat & Power (CHP) sector is also a part of a sustainable future. Transporting hydrogen to industrial and residential spaces through existing natural gas pipelines is not feasible. According to safety standards, natural gas blended with up to 10% hydrogen in the mixture can be safely transported through existing pipelines. Moreover, hybrid heat pumps and novel combustion boilers employ hydrogen for sustainable heating.
- Hydrogen Propulsion
Due to its decent energy-to-density ratio, liquid hydrogen holds the potential to be used as a clean fuel for space propulsion, leading to decarbonizing the aerospace industry. This involves using hydrogen fuel to launch satellites and jets with liquid oxygen-hydrogen systems.
Are you eager to know how the hydrogen economy is evolving and set to revolutionize your sector over the next 5 to 10 years and how Ingenious e-Brain can help you identify new play areas that may synergize with your existing technological know-how, products, and services, thereby positively impacting your revenues? Then, reach out to our consultants by emailing at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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