25 Mar 2021, 13:57
Charlotte Nijhuis

Hydrogen produced with regular power mix needed for market ramp-up – industry union

Clean Energy Wire

Germany should use hydrogen made using the regular power mix – currently generated with fossil fuels as well as renewables – to get the hydrogen economy rolling more quickly, writes the labour and environment foundation of the mining, chemicals and energy industries union IG BCE in a report. What the report calls "colourful", electricity-market-based hydrogen would be better suited to get the industry going in a more cost-effective way than hydrogen made only with renewable energy, the foundation writes. Both are made through electrolysis, but truly green hydrogen would have to be produced with dedicated renewables installations, so long as the German power mix still contains fossil fuels. “If multi-source hydrogen generation is made possible, generation costs can decrease, transport costs are eliminated and security of supply increases, and a much faster market ramp-up becomes possible," said the foundation’s director Kajsa Borgnäs. Lower costs are mainly due to the higher utilisation. Electrolysers that receive their electricity from the grid have significantly more operating hours. The CO2 intensity of hydrogen made with the power mix will drop significantly with the assumed renewable energy expansion in the mid-2030s, according to the report.

Green hydrogen made with renewable energy is considered key to solving some of the energy transitions challenges, such as decarbonising industry processes or long-haul freight transport. With its national hydrogen strategy, presented in June 2020, Germany aims to ramp up hydrogen technologies and become a global leader. The German government has identified a demand of 90-110 terawatt-hours of climate-neutral hydrogen by 2030, a high proportion of which will have to be imported. Earlier this month, Germany and Saudi Arabia signed a declaration of intent to cooperate on hydrogen production and transport.

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