Green hydrogen is produced by electrolysis of water using green renewable energy. But most hydrogen now is grey hydrogen produced from fossil methane with high emissions. Those emissions could be reduced by around 85 to 90% by costly CCS to result in blue hydrogen, but green hydrogen is clearly the lowest carbon option.
Green hydrogen has some very beneficial future uses (e.g. as a near-zero-carbon alternative to coking coal for making iron and steel from iron ore, and for larger and longer-term energy storage than batteries). But the gas industry is pushing governments to subsidize hydrogen for the wrong reasons (prolonging fossil gas extraction and use) and the wrong purposes (which can be more economically and cleanly achieved by other means), and they have a preference for blue hydrogen (with us subsidizing the CCS) rather than green hydrogen. (See links below by e.g. UE, Liebreich, Rosenow, Toke, Carbon Brief, CEO).
In summary it appears that direct use of renewably-generated electricity, or if not possible then via batteries, is cheaper and more efficient than using green hydrogen for those purposes where the former can be used (e.g. heat pumps for space-heating instead of hydrogen via gas pipes). This makes sense because conversion of electricity to hydrogen results in energy loss. But for purposes where that direct use cannot be used (or via batteries), then green hydrogen will be very useful. Michael Liebreich puts it well in the quote below, but I’ll first quote Jess Ralston (Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit), said: “Hydrogen can power cars, but electricity seems to have won that technology race. It could heat homes, but electric heat pumps are emerging as a better bet.”
My interest in green hydrogen is it’s big potential for replacing coal for making iron and steel from iron ore. Steel-making produces around 7% of global energy-related CO2 emissions – largely from use of coal in blast furnaces, and is thus a top priority industry to decarbonise as soon as possible [news on this front here].
30nov20 Carbon Brief has now published a thorough Q&A / review, including reference to Liebreich’s work (scroll down for link).
Michael Liebreich has written an excellent insightful 2-part assessment on the future for hydrogen ‘Liebreich: Separating Hype from Hydrogen‘ examining 1 The Supply Side and 2 The Demand Side. See October 2020 below.
In reverse chronological order (i.e. most recent at top)
Need to be aware of carbon-footprint differences between green, blue, and grey hydrogen (also production cost differences – but these will be changing over time). Also to be aware that the nuclear industry is claiming that nuclear-generated electricity is better for electrolysing water (not green hydrogen but another colour), and would like you to ignore the many big down-sides of nuclear.
20jan21 Orsted makes green hydrogen investment decision – reNews – Renewable Energy News
Orsted has taken final investment decision on the Danish demonstration project H2RES, which will use offshore wind energy to produce renewable hydrogen. The project is expected to produce its first hydrogen in late 2021 and will be Orsted’s first renewable hydrogen project in operation. The demonstration project at Avedøre Holme in Copenhagen (pictured) will have a capacity of 2MW. The facility is expected to produce up to around 1000kg of renewable hydrogen daily, which will be used to fuel road transport in Greater Copenhagen and on Zealand. …
Amazing stat from @ChiefExecCCC to explain why converting all home heating to hydrogen would be “impractical” Switching all boilers to hydrogen ‘is impractical’ | Business | The Times
Dec2020 The hydrogen hype: Gas industry fairy tale or climate horror story? The European Commission and its quest to let the gas industry write the book on hydrogen in Europe – Corporate Europe Observatory hydrogen-report-web-final_0.pdf (corporateeurope.org) Sickening (sick green) to see the EC happy for the words “green” and “clean” to be applied to projects using hydrogen from dirty fossil gas (i.e. grey(?) or blue hydrogen). (?) as yet to read all of this report just part).
30nov20 Does the world need hydrogen to solve climate change? | Carbon Brief Simon Evans, Josh Gabbatiss
What is hydrogen and how could it help tackle climate change?
Which countries are exploring the use of hydrogen?
How much hydrogen is needed to limit climate change?
Why is hydrogen being ‘hyped’ again now?
How is low-carbon hydrogen produced?
Does ‘blue’ hydrogen have a place in a net-zero future?
How much is low-carbon hydrogen going to cost?
How would hydrogen use affect global geopolitics?
How could hydrogen help different sectors reach net-zero?
(Transport, Road transport, Shipping and aviation, Rail, Industry, Electricity, Heat for buildings).
30nov20 The fuel that could transform shipping – BBC Future by Jocelyn Timperley, who tweets:
@jloistf “The figures show hydrogen and e-fuels need to be deployed first where there are no alternatives – in aviation and shipping.” E-fuel would be wasted on cars while it’s badly needed to decarbonise planes and ships – study | Transport & Environment [7dec20] My recent @BBC_Future piece explores the ups and downs of using hydrogen in shipping.
4nov20 How much hydrogen will be needed to replace coal in making steel? | Carbon Commentary Chris Goodall.
3nov20 Hydrogen homes is a terrible idea Gabriel Levy in The Ecologist.
26oct20 IGas plans to produce hydrogen at south east sites BY RUTH HAYHURST IGas has announced a partnership with a US company to turn methane extracted from sites in south east England into hydrogen.
26oct20 IGas and BayoTech to team up for hydrogen development By Mark Lammy in ENERGY VOICE. UK onshore oil and gas firm IGas Energy has entered into heads of terms with US manufacturer BayoTech to produce hydrogen from some of its assets.
But this is grey hydrogen. 😦
14oct20 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. Global Website | MHI Group Undertakes Investment in HydrogenPro of Norway, Leading Producer of Advanced Electrolyzers — Move Will Contribute to Creation of a Sustainable Society through Hydrogen Energy — Note that MHI is also partnering with Voestalpine to produce H2-DRI plant to produce iron & steel from iron ore using hydrogen instead of steel. For more on latter and the decarbonistaion of steel-making see my Steel-making news in 2020, focusing on its decarbonisation | henryadamsblog (wordpress.com)
7oct20 This is what we need to do to make Europe’s hydrogen economy a reality – EURACTIV.com By Maria João Duarte | Mitsubishi Power Europe “However, this begs the question of who will invest in CCS for hydrogen production when, according to the strategy’s estimates [EC Hydrogen Strategy], renewable hydrogen will become cost competitive in 2030. Eight years is a very short period of time when investing in major infrastructure like CCS plants.“
16oct20 Liebreich: Separating Hype from Hydrogen – Part Two: The Demand Side– Michael Liebreich in BloombergNEF. – A “must read”, like Part 1:
8oct20 Liebreich: Separating Hype from Hydrogen – Part One: The Supply Side – Michael Liebreich in BloombergNEF. Very insightfully forward-looking, interesting read. I like almost all of it but I’m not so keen on blue hydrogen (unless gas industry pays for the CSS), and not as optimistic as ML is re SMR’s (though he is not exactly over-optimistic but giving them a chance) (my view – with SMR’s – only if nuclear industry pays, not us, and pays for everything).
7oct20 Zero Carbon Humber Partnership submits £75 million bid to advance UK’s first net zero industrial cluster – Hamish Penman in ENERGY VOICE. “Twelve leading companies and organisations across the Humber have jointly submitted a bid worth around £75 million to accelerate decarbonisation in the UK’s most carbon intensive industrial region. … The bid’s anchor project is the Equinor-led Hydrogen to Humber (H2H) Saltend project, which will establish the world’s largest hydrogen production plant with carbon capture at px Group’s Saltend Chemicals Park.”
Links eg Drax, British Steel at Scunthorpe, Equinor at Saltend, Centrica Storage at Easington. But blue hydrogen not green.
2020 Heating in Great Britain: An incumbent discourse coalition resists an electrifying future RichardLowesBridgetWoodmanJamieSpeirs
… In response to the threat of electrification, the coalition presents decarbonising the gas grid with replacement gases as the optimal route for heat decarbonisation. However, much analysis suggests a significant need for heat electrification and our review highlights major uncertainties with a decarbonised gas pathway. Incumbents are over-selling ‘green-gas’ to policy makers in order to protect their interests and detract from the importance and value of electrification. …
7oct20 With Coal Dead, Department Of Energy Lobs Green Hydrogen Brick At Natural Gas CleanTechnica – article re US (& Netherlands).
1oct20 Is hydrogen the silver bullet for decarbonising gas networks? “National Grid’s long term strategy manager, Danielle Stewart, discusses the role for hydrogen as the UK gas grid plots its path to net zero over the coming decades” …
29,30sep20 Heating homes with hydrogen: Are we being sold a pup? Hydrogen has an important role to play in the clean energy transition, but there are better options for decarbonising heating in our homes. By Jan Rosenow
17sep20 BP pushes ‘blue’ hydrogen at the expense of renewable hydrogen using inflated projections for hydrogen market David Toke.
BP is trying to boost production of ‘blue’ hydrogen from natural gas and limit output of ‘green’ hydrogen from renewable energy. It is trying to do this using grossly inflated projections of future hydrogen use and thus claim there will not be enough renewable energy to sustain a global net zero economy. However green groups are fighting back against such efforts.
BP’s Chief Economist Spencer Dale claims, in Petroleum Economist that ‘the production of blue hydrogen helps overall global supplies of hydrogen to grow relatively quickly without relying too heavily on renewable energy’.
In reality BP’s push to convert its natural gas production into ‘blue’ hydrogen is likely to squeeze ‘green’ hydrogen out of a market that will be much smaller than what BP claims. …
16sep20 Scottish green hydrogen scheme gears up to fuel ferries, buses and trains Wind and solar farms will produce the gas alongside Scottish Power, ITM Power and BOC – Jillian Ambrose, The Guardian.
6&7aug20 @DaveToke tweet: Indeed. A problem is that politicians can’t see past the messages given by the existing powerful fossil fuel energy groups trying to preserve their position with bad policy choices
Domestic hydrogen use is not a rational choice for GB in economic, energy and climate terms. Customers should not have to pay for this. Let’s have a GB version of the Danish FutureGas project for a much more transparent airing of the costs, impacts and alternatives. @exeterepg twitter.com/mikefostereua/…
There was some debate in response to ProfCM’s tweet, some agreeing some disagreeing…
5aug20 Britain’s National Grid plans to test hydrogen heating for homes
LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s National Grid (NG.L) is planning a 10 million pound ($13 million) project in the north west of England to test how hydrogen could be used to heat homes and bring down greenhouse gas emissions from industry, it said on Wednesday. … [I would have liked some clarity on whether the hydrogen will all be green hydrogen – from the wind farms nearby; i.e. no grey or blue hydrogen sneaking in here]
29jul20 In-depth: Hydrogen ‘required’ to meet UK net-zero goal, says National Grid – Carbon Brief. The UK will need hydrogen to meet its goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, according to the latest National Grid “future energy scenarios”. Hydrogen “could be the solution to many of the hardest parts of the transition to net-zero”, National Grid says, particularly in long-distance freight, shipping and heavy industry.
The annual “future energy scenarios” (FES) sketch out four possible futures for the UK’s energy system until mid-century. This year, there are major changes with three of the four pathways reaching net-zero by 2050. In previous years, most FES scenarios missed the UK’s climate goals.
The three routes to net-zero vary in their level of societal change and reliance on hydrogen, but all require large gains in energy efficiency and heavy electrification of transport. They also see a massive rise in wind and solar power, while fossil gas use for electricity and heating is phased out.
Crucially, however, the report warns that reaching net-zero “requires immediate action across all key technologies and policy areas, and full engagement across society and end consumers”. … …
19jul20 Can a hydrogen boom fuel a green recovery for Britain? Julian Coman, in The Observer. “The UK has lost its lead in windpower and batteries, but there is one eco fuel that could transform its post-Covid fortunes…”
A fairly good piece worth reading, but with some important points missing e.g.:
1. Equinor & other fossil gas co.s are wanting to hijack this new market to prolong extraction and burning of fossil gas (as the piece implies though weakly) but it will want us to pay for the costly CCS to turn grey into blue hydrogen (and CCS is likely to be only c.85 to 90% efficient at CO2 removal), whereas our money should support green hydrogen and other green projects instead of greenwashed fossil-“green”,
2. It doesn’t mention that hydrogen could be used instead of coal in the not-far-from-Humber/Hull Scunthorpe Jingye/British Steel works.
Jonathan N Fuller “The proportion of CO2 that can be captured is crucial to determining policy. Many trial CCS projects around the globe are quite secretive about this.”
Henry Adams Yes indeed: the higher the % capture, the more costly the CCS, and the 85% or 90% likely maximum viable capture efficiencies reported by more reliable sources may not in reality be attained… as more costly, and even those figures are obviously unacceptable.
e.g. On a huge emitter – eg DRAX gas proposals, 100% minus 85% would of course still be unacceptably large. …
I was extremely disappointed, but not unexpectedly (due to Drax’s Rebecca Heaton – being on CCCuk ctte, and other fossil-friendlies there too) at the way CCCuk reports are so over-promotional re CCS.
The (sadly-) fossil-captured APPG on hydrogen pdf states “up to 95%” https://connectpa.co.uk/…/07/Hydrogen-APPG-Report-2020.pdf
Me: It’s vitally important for the decarbonisation of steel that European countries including UK invest in green hydrogen infrastructure for enabling the steel industry to shift to fossil-free steel. Disastrous if UK go down the fossil-path.
14jul20 Carbon Brief summarizing FT piece:
10jul20 Saudi Arabia to become home to $5bn green hydrogen production facility The ‘world’s largest green hydrogen plant’ is expected to supply 650 tonnes of hydrogen every day and help save three million tonnes of CO2 every year – Energy Live News.
10jul20 Explainer: Why is the EU Commission betting on hydrogen for a greener future? Mathieu Pollet in Euronews. Includes comments from green people concerned that big fossil gas co.s are hijacking this policy. Piece Links to e.g.:
European Clean Hydrogen Alliance
9jul20 ‘Hydrogen is the rockstar of the energy system’ The European Commission has pledged to support the installation of at least 6GW of renewable hydrogen electrolysers in the EU by 2024 – Energy Live News.
8jul20 How the fossil fuel lobby is hijacking the European Green Deal In it’s first 100 days, how many times did top officials in charge of the EU’s Green Deal meet with lobbyists? Belén Balanyá
Today the European Commission is presenting its Hydrogen strategy. It aims to contribute to the European Green Deal (EGD), and “to help the EU recover from COVID-19’s economic impact”.
But while officially prioritising green hydrogen (made of renewable energy), the Hydrogen strategy keeps the door firmly open to hydrogen made with fossil fuels. Meanwhile scientists tell us that the climate emergency requires us to leave fossil fuels in the ground, and that includes gas, which is as bad as any other fossil fuel. We simply do not have time for more dangerous distractions.
So why is the Hydrogen Strategy, and more worryingly, the European Green Deal – the EU’s major new plan that seeks to make its economy ‘climate-neutral’ – courting fossil gas?
A Corporate Europe Observatory report published yesterday explores the dirty fingerprints of the fossil fuel lobby over the EGD, the number one lobby topic in Brussels. …
4jul20 After many false starts, hydrogen power might now bear fruit The Economist. Via UE: The Economist suggests that Hydrogen is finally ready if not for the big-time, then for a crucial bit-part role pointing to it’s importance for heating and energy storage. “As wind and solar power spread, matching supply with demand becomes harder. An obvious solution is to store surpluses in good times for use later, when times are bad. And one way to do that might be to make hydrogen and keep it in underground caverns, as currently happens with natural gas. This could increase capacity enormously—perhaps enough to manage not just day-to-day fluctuations but interseasonal ones as well.”
The key thing is the falling cost of making it from renewable energy. This is an interesting section: “The cost of electrolysis equipment has fallen by around 40% in the last five years in the West.” Dr Bhavnagri reckons the kit can now be had in Western countries for around $1,200 per kilowatt of capacity and that there may be scope for those numbers to fall much further. “The cost in the Chinese market is drastically lower—around $200 per kw,” he says, which will presumably bring the price down everywhere soon.
17jun20 ‘Renewables plus hydrogen’ – almost all that we need Chris Goodall in his Carbon Commentary.
6jul20 LEAK: ‘European Clean Hydrogen Alliance’ ready for take-off By Frédéric Simon | EURACTIV.com
jun20 EU leaked road map for hydrogen: https://www.politico.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/new-Draft-Hydrogen-Strategy-19_06-003.pdf
This link was via Dave Jones of Ember – who is in this tweet and thread concerned that too much hydrogen production from renewable electricity may be detrimental to such electricity continuing to replace fossil-produced electricity.
11jun20 Chris Goodall @ChrisGoodall2 tweeted:
German also recognises that it will need to import massive quantities of hydrogen and, alongside Rotterdam and Antwerp, has informally approached Scotland to deliver this. An extraordinary export opportunity for the UK. [he linked to:]
11jun20 Doug Parr @doug_parr
Germany looks determined to be Europe’s leader on hydrogen, with this pretty detailed plan on delivery Focus very much on offshore wind to produce green hydrogen:
11jun20 Germany plans to promote ‘green’ hydrogen with €7 billion By Florence Schulz | EURACTIV.de | translated by Daniel Eck
The German government adopted its national hydrogen strategy yesterday (10 June), with plans to ramp up production capacity to 5 GW by 2030 and 10 GW by 2040. To achieve this, €7 billion will be invested in new businesses and research. EURACTIV Germany reports.
When he presented Germany’s hydrogen strategy in Berlin yesterday (10 June), economy minister Peter Altmaier (CDU) called the 28-page document the “greatest innovation since the EEG”, a reference to the landmark German renewable energy sources act which came into force in 2000. … … By 2030, Germany aims to have generators with a total capacity of up to 5 GW, which corresponds to hydrogen generation of about 14TWh. By 2040, capacity should be increased to 10 GW. … …
“Whoever says yes to hydrogen must also say yes to wind energy. That is why we must and will consistently expand renewable energies,” Environment Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD) stressed yesterday (10 June).
Hydrogen will be used first where processes cannot be electrified – for example, in heavy goods transport, steel production, the chemical industry and aviation.
Companies in these sectors will receive financial aid if they invest in electrolysis plants to transform their production processes. To this end, a pilot programme for so-called Carbon Contracts for Difference (CfD) will be launched, which is aimed at the steel and chemical industries. … …
Indeed some of them – the ones working on hydrogen – are doing better than companies making vaccines. Bloomberg reports that ITM Power Plc in Sheffield, England, has gained 290% this year.“Clean hydrogen is one of the top priorities in our energy transition and we will be investing a lot in making clean hydrogen part of our energy mix in the future,” Frans Timmermans, European Commission Executive Vice President, told reporters in Brussels Thursday. “It’s got huge potential.”
25may20 Power giants unite to back renewable hydrogen as ‘green vs blue’ row with fossils rages Generators and OEMs join industry groups for ‘Choose Renewable Hydrogen’ as energy transition debate over role of key gas intensifies – Andrew Lee in RECHARGE. Via a Doug Parr tweet again (he has a vg eye for hydrogen news).
More on green v blue debate by DaveToke and comments below.
31mar20 Doug Parr @doug_parr tweets:
@BloombergNEF report shows green hydrogen could displace third of fossil & industry emissions, but needs $150bn in subsidy support to get there over next decade If that sounds a lot, it’s half the ANNUAL fossil fuel consumption subsidy:
30mar20 BNEF: Green hydrogen could curb third of fossil fuel and industry emissions by 2050 Cecilia Keating.
A major rollout of green hydrogen technologies could offset up to one third of global greenhouse gas emissions produced by fossil fuels and industry by 2050, according to a new report today by BloombergNEF (BNEF).
The influential analyst’s ‘Hydrogen Economy Outlook’ estimates renewable hydrogen could be produced for between $0.8 to $1.6/kg in most parts of the world within the next three decades, a cost roughly equivalent to today’s natural gas prices in Brazil, China, India, Germany, and Scandinavia.
But to reach that price point, approximately $150bn of subsidies over the next 10 years would be needed to scale up the technology and build necessary supply infrastructure, alongside joined-up policy coordination across government and new frameworks for private investment, BNEF said. …
& ‘Hydrogen Economy’ Offers Promising Path to Decarbonization | BloombergNEF (bnef.com)
21feb20 World’s largest wind farm to power UK green hydrogen plan Renew Economy. … ‘“Creating renewable hydrogen with offshore wind really has the potential to decarbonise industrial processes, and what is needed now is to scale up the electrolyser technology and bring the cost down,” explained Anders Christian Nordstrøm, Vice President for Hydrogen, Ørsted. “We’ve seen this happen in offshore wind. With industry and government working together, there has been a rapid deployment and a huge cost reduction. This project aims to do the same with hydrogen. At the right cost, this technology has the potential to play a huge role in meeting the UK’s decarbonisation targets.‘ …
FT Hydrogen energy projects win £30m of UK government funding paywall https://www.ft.com/content/fdd5b24e-51c0-11ea-8841-482eed0038b1
18,19feb20 gov.uk BEIS: Press release £90 million UK drive to reduce carbon emissions
Households and businesses will benefit from £90 million to cut carbon emissions in industry and homes. Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, UK Research and Innovation, and The Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP
… £70 million will include funding for 2 of Europe’s first-ever large scale, low carbon hydrogen production plants – the first on the banks of the Mersey, the second planned for near Aberdeen. A third project will develop technology to harness offshore wind off the Grimsby coast to power electrolysis and produce hydrogen.
Hydrogen is a low or zero-emission alternative to fossil fuels which could power future industry and transport. The investment will also fund projects to trial cutting-edge technologies for switching industrial production from fossil fuels to renewables in industries such as cement and glass production. … …
Visiting the Gigastack project in Grimsby today, Kwasi Kwarteng, Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, said:
Cleaning up emissions from industry and housing is a big challenge but today’s £90 million investment will set us on the right path as we develop clean technologies like hydrogen.This is an important part of our world-leading efforts in eliminating our contribution to climate change by 2050 while also growing our economy, creating up to 2 million green collar jobs across the country by 2030.
2. Currently difficult and expensive to produce in bulk, hydrogen could be vital in the fight against climate change as a low carbon alternative to fossil fuels used by heavy transport and industry.
3. Of the £70 million being invested in these technologies, £28 million will be for projects developing hydrogen production, including the 2 plants.
7. Breakdown of funding:
Hydrogen Supply programme – £28 million for 5 demonstration phase projects
8. Hydrogen projects awarded funding:
|Project||Leading body||Funding received|
|Dolphyn Project||Environmental Resources Management Ltd||£3.12 million|
|HyNet||Progressive Energy Limited, in collaboration with Johnson Matthey, SNC Lavalin and Essar Oil||£7.48 million|
|Gigastack||ITM Power Trading Ltd, in collaboration with Orsted, Phillips 66 and Element Energy||£7.5 million|
|Acorn||Project Pale Blue Dot Energy||£2.7 million|
|HyPER||Cranfield University, in collaboration with Gas Technology Institute and Doosan||£7.44 million|
Find more details of the Hydrogen Supply Competition projects.
And £££££ allocated for hydrogen re cement manufacturing (cement-making is very carbon-intensive).
24jan20 Zero-carbon hydrogen injected into gas grid for first time in groundbreaking UK trial Blend of hydrogen and natural gas is being used to heat homes and faculty buildings at Keele University. BBC.
2020 Mainstreaming Green Hydrogen in Europe – Material Economics] [I don’t know its date of publication within 2020]
3dec19 How ‘green hydrogen’ could make ‘green steel’ real Bloomberg QuickTake December 03, 2019 This article was written by William Wilkes, Vanessa Dezem and Anna Shiryaevskaya. It appeared first on the Bloomberg Terminal.
Read funding commitment by UK gov for research into hydrogen for use re steel-making. Yet to add link here.
June 2019 The Future of Hydrogen – Analysis – IEA
Carbon Brief on HYDROGEN pre-2020: