Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 32 n° 259

Nobel Peace Prize winner about the widespread use of hydrogen

Posted by fidest press agency su lunedì, 6 luglio 2020

The world energy industry has reached a fundamentally new level of socio-economic development recently, when the key question has switched from “What do we use for fuel?” to “How do we fuel?”. The industry offers many different energy options from coal to tidal energy. At the same time, humanity makes its choice, turning away from the cheapest and most affordable sources that used to be the trend thirty years ago, to the most environmentally friendly and energy-efficient energy sources. The key global players such as the European Union, Japan, USA, China and Russia are now busy establishing conditions for investment in the development of new energy technologies. One of the most promising options may be the widespread use of hydrogen as fuel and energy storage.
Hydrogen, the first element of the periodic table, seems to have been specifically created to become the ideal fuel. It is the most common element in the entire universe. Its calorific value reaches 120 MJ/kg. It should be noted that methane (the energy resource with the second-best calorific value) yields only 56 MJ/kg. When hydrogen is used, pure water is formed without harmful emissions into the atmosphere, which is fully consistent with the global environmental agenda. This gas has long been used in the oil refining and chemical industries, so humanity has already gained experience working with it. According to the IEA, in total about 69 million tons of hydrogen per year are produced in the world, and 48 million tons are produced annually as a by-product. Japan, the country which is heavily dependent on hydrocarbon imports, is most actively introducing hydrogen technologies. In 2014, they adopted a roadmap for building a “hydrogen-based society”. According to the program, the use of hydrogen should increase from 200 tons in 2018 to 10 million tons in 2050. Even today, Japan already has about 2.5 thousand cars with a hydrogen engine. At the same time, Japan is planning to purchase more hydrogen from Australia. However, this gas will be obtained through oil refining.
At the other end of the world, in Chile, Enel Green Power launched the world’s first 100 percent pure commercial hydrogen-based micro-grid in 2017. The network is fueled by a set of hybrid storage devices consisting of a solar power station, as well as a system of hydrogen and lithium batteries.
Despite the vast geography and diversity of these projects, all of them run up against the need for industrial production of hydrogen, since this gas does not occur in its pure form in nature.
Recently, manufacturers have been trying to improve this technology through the construction of carbon dioxide capture and storage facilities, which turns “gray” projects into “blue”. However, this leads to an increase in capital expenditures up to 80% and boosts the cost of the resulting hydrogen about one and a half times.
Gazprom, the Russian gas concern, has offered the world its vision of developing hydrogen production, which has a number of significant advantages. It is based on the use of pyrolysis and plasma-chemical methods, which allows for decomposition of methane into hydrogen and solid carbon. The latter is a valuable material for the industrial and construction sectors, electrical engineering and electronics. Unlike gaseous carbon dioxide, solid carbon is non-toxic and easy to store. Emission of solid carbon in the process of hydrogen production will not only reduce harmful emissions, but also generate extra income.Methane pyrolysis and plasma-chemical methods for producing hydrogen from natural gas do not lead to direct CO2 emissions. These methods involve the use of methane, but given that the carbon footprint of the Russian gas supplies is minimal, the proposed hydrogen production method can safely be called “green”. Moreover, it is expected to have lower energy costs compared to electrolysis of water.According to the head of the Center for Hydrogen Energy Technologies of the Lithuanian Energy Institute, Darius Milcius, the production of hydrogen by pyrolysis has another significant advantage: the price of the gas so produced is comparable to the price of hydrogen produced by steam conversion. (abstract) (font: https://globalenergyprize.org/en/)

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