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The Future of Hydrogen Energy

Jul 31, 2023

Hydrogen energy is produced by electrolyzing water using electricity, ideally generated from renewable sources such as solar or wind power. In the future, renewable hydrogen is expected to play a vital role in decarbonizing various sectors, including transportation, industry, and power generation. Businesses that proactively explore renewable hydrogen now can position themselves ahead of the curve by researching its potential to reduce carbon emissions.

The Future of Hydrogen Energy

The Future of Hydrogen Energy

Demand for renewable hydrogen is expected to experience moderate and steady growth through niche applications until 2030. However, after 2030, the growth rate is projected to accelerate significantly, particularly from 2035 onwards. By 2050, the demand for hydrogen could range between 150 to 500 million metric tonnes per year.
Growth will be influenced by global climate goals, advancements in sector-specific initiatives, energy efficiency measures, direct electrification, and the adoption of carbon-capture technologies. These findings highlight the potential for businesses to capitalize on the rising demand for renewable hydrogen and the importance of strategic planning to align with future market trends and climate ambitions.


Is Hydrogen the Fuel of the Future?

Hydrogen has the potential to become the fuel of the future due to several key advantages. It is energy-dense, meaning it contains a large amount of energy per unit of weight, making it an efficient fuel source. Additionally, hydrogen combustion does not directly produce carbon dioxide emissions, making it a clean and environmentally friendly option.
Moreover, hydrogen is abundantly available, as it can be derived from various sources, such as water, biomass, or renewable electricity. This accessibility ensures a long-term and sustainable supply. Hydrogen can also be stored, allowing for flexibility in energy distribution and utilization. It can be converted back into electricity or used as fuel in various sectors, including transportation.


Factors that Affect Demand and Implementation

Various factors influence renewable hydrogen demand. First, the need for green technology plays a significant role, as sectors like transportation, industry, and power generation increasingly seek clean alternatives. The global energy demand and the shift towards decarbonization create a growing need for renewable hydrogen. Additionally, changes in renewable electricity pricing affect the competitiveness of hydrogen production.
The use intensity of hydrogen within different sectors determines the scale of demand. Moreover, technology deployments, such as electrification and carbon capture and utilization/storage, shape the feasibility and efficiency of hydrogen production and utilization. Lastly, the establishment of a supportive regulatory framework is crucial in fostering the growth and adoption of renewable hydrogen as a viable energy solution.

Current Situation

Currently, most of the hydrogen produced globally is “gray:” derived from natural gas and lacking environmental sustainability. In contrast, “green” hydrogen, produced through electrolysis powered by renewable electricity, offers a better long-term solution for decarbonization. However, it is pricier than gray hydrogen.
The production of green hydrogen is most attractive in regions with abundant and low-cost renewable resources like the Middle East, Africa, Russia, the US, and Australia. Production costs are expected to decline over time due to falling renewable energy costs, economies of scale, ongoing projects, and technological advancements.


Importers and Exporters of Renewable Hydrogen

Countries with vast untapped land and abundant renewable energy are already creating strategies to produce green hydrogen and export any surplus they generate. On the other hand, countries with limited available land, dense populations, and limited renewable resources are more likely to rely on imported green hydrogen.
These findings align with public statements of intent to sell renewable hydrogen. Examples are Morocco’s plans to export to Germany or Australia’s intention to supply Japan.


Businesses Must Start Researching Now 

Implementing hydrogen renewable energy requires businesses to thoroughly research the technology to ensure a successful transition. Firstly, in-depth research allows companies to understand the various hydrogen production methods, storage options, and potential applications, enabling them to make informed decisions based on their specific needs and goals.

Secondly, research helps businesses identify any potential challenges associated with adopting hydrogen energy, thereby enabling them to develop effective risk mitigation strategies. Moreover, studying existing hydrogen projects and success stories from other companies provides valuable insights and lessons that can guide businesses on the right path.

Research on Using Hydrogen Renewable Energy

Research focused on using hydrogen renewable energy is essential to explore its diverse applications across various industries. In the transportation sector, studying hydrogen fuel cells can lead to the development of eco-friendly vehicles with longer ranges and shorter refueling times. Similarly, in the energy sector, research can improve hydrogen production methods, optimizing electrolysis and steam methane reforming processes.

Investigating hydrogen storage solutions, such as underground caverns or metal hydrides, ensures efficient and safe utilization. Additionally, research can enable the integration of hydrogen into industrial processes, like steel and chemical production, reducing carbon emissions significantly.

Research on Improving Hydrogen Renewable Energy

As new research about hydrogen renewable energy emerges, businesses must remain vigilant in staying up-to-date with the latest innovations and findings. One significant concern highlighted by recent studies is that hydrogen may lose its environmental edge if it seeps into the atmosphere. When hydrogen escapes, it can lead to a reduction in the concentration of molecules that help destroy greenhouse gases, contributing to global warming.

To address this issue, businesses need to invest in research focused on preventing hydrogen leakage and improving containment methods during production, storage, and transportation. Developing advanced technologies and stringent safety protocols can minimize hydrogen losses, ensuring its role as a clean and sustainable energy source remains uncompromised.

How We Can Help at SAAB RDS

Decarbonization is one of the most important factors driving the future of energy through the use of technologies that target the reduction and elimination of hydrocarbon-based fuels from the value chain. In the quest to decarbonize the economy, hydrogen has been identified as a modality that can replace as much as 10% of the total final energy consumption by 2050, but a lot of research still needs to happen to streamline hydrogen production, storage , and transportation. One key research line is for example reconverting ammonia to o hydrogen, as are scaling up many of these technologies to the industrial level.

To facilitate this research, SAAB RDS offers comprehensive solutions tailored to energy research, with special focus on renewable energies. Whatever your research project, we can support you with the right solution to accelerate your discovery path.

Talk to us today.