Hydrogen is a colorless, non-toxic gas, even when it is known as green hydrogen. It is the most abundant element: it is estimated that 90% of all atoms are hydrogen atoms, comprising about three-quarters of the total mass of the universe.
How is hydrogen generated?
There are no natural deposits of hydrogen on earth, it must be extracted from other compounds through a chemical process. The vast majority of industrial hydrogen is currently produced from natural gas through a process known as methane steam reforming, or SMR. Producing hydrogen in this way is sometimes referred to as brown, gray, or even blue hydrogen.
Green hydrogen production
Hydrogen can also be produced by electrolysis of water (using an electrical current to break water, H2O, into its component elements of hydrogen and oxygen). If this electrical current is produced by a renewable source (for example, photovoltaic solar energy or a wind turbine), the clean hydrogen produced is known as green hydrogen.
What are the bi-products of hydrogen generation?
Steam methane reforming (SMR) reacts methane in natural gas with steam at high temperature in the presence of a catalyst. This produces hydrogen and, ultimately, carbon dioxide, CO2. Since natural gas is relatively cheap, the hydrogen produced is also relatively cheap. However, the standard SMR process has the considerable disadvantage of releasing large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. It is well known that CO2 is a very important greenhouse gas. It is less well known that methane itself has a global warming potential that is 85 times greater than CO2, so any small leakage of methane gas from its source and throughout the process is also a significant contributor to climate change. Unlimited hydrogen production using SMR is an important theme in our attempts to prevent a climate disaster.
Definition of Green Hydrogen
If renewable energy (eg from solar panels) is used to generate electricity for electrolysis of water, then green hydrogen can be generated without harmful emissions.
Our ability to produce large quantities of green hydrogen will play an important role in providing an alternative to fossil fuels as we transition to low emissions and work towards a clean and healthy environment. With electric cars becoming more popular, we must rethink our strategy for generating electricity if we are going to support the largest number of electric vehicle drivers who will be on the road and need to charge their electric cars. By using green hydrogen, we can envision a sustainable future in handling this increased demand.
Green hydrogen (hydrogen produced from renewable energy resources) could provide developing countries with a carbon-free energy carrier to support national sustainable energy goals, and needs further consideration by policymakers and investors. Developing countries with good renewable energy resources could produce green hydrogen locally, creating economic opportunities and increasing energy security by reducing exposure to oil price volatility and supply disruptions.
Support from development finance institutions and concessional funds could play an important role in the implementation of first of their kind green hydrogen projects, accelerating green hydrogen uptake in developing countries and increasing capacity and creating the necessary policy and regulatory enabling environment.
This report seeks to advance understanding of green hydrogen opportunities and challenges in developing countries by describing examples of green hydrogen pilot applications that have already been implemented in developing countries, bringing to light potential use cases and strategic value, also highlighting the risks and the implementation of technology. challenges.