Hydrogen; Green, Grey and Here to Stay

Hydrogen; Green, Grey and Here to Stay

Hydrogen is the key fuel for enabling a low carbon world. It is an energy vector which allows the transfer of energy from sources such as excess solar or wind to where it needs to be used such as in mobility applications (including cars, vans, trucks, busses and trains amongst others).

There are several methods for producing hydrogen which include established industrial processes all the way to innovative small scale pilot projects.

Currently, the most common method of producing hydrogen on an industrial scale is through Steam Methane Reforming (SMR). With natural gas as its building blocks, hydrogen derived through this method has questionable green credentials, hence the grey hydrogen moniker. Hydrogen produced through this route still offers localised emission free power; and whilst it is certainly not a long term solution to hydrogen production, it is currently the most cost effective method and an excellent facilitator to bring hydrogen fuel cell systems to market using competitively priced fuels.

The pinnacle of hydrogen production is through the electrolysis of water using renewable power, in a nut shell, splitting water.

Renewable energies such as wind and solar suffer from the issue of not having stable generation that the grid can rely on. For instance if the wind is blowing hard offshore overnight when electricity demand is low the wind turbines are often turned off as the energy has nowhere to go. A better solution would be to use the excess energy to create hydrogen; which can then be stored, transported (through the gas grid ultimately) and used for applications such as energy in the home and for transportation.

Hydrogen stations worldwide are still pretty thin on the ground but they are scheduled to grow at a pace that does at least support the number of vehicles that can use the technology, this has always been a bit of a chicken and egg situation. By the end of 2017 there were 328 hydrogen refuelling stations world-wide concentrated in areas where vehicles are available, with 139 being in Europe.

A comparison with new charging infrastructure for pure battery electric vehicles is often made, pointing out how many fewer hydrogen refuelling stations are being installed compared to charge points. The key here is that a single hydrogen station dispenses fuel like a petrol or diesel pump and can service many vehicle per day with refuelling times of a few minutes unlike the pure battery charges which all take significantly longer regardless of whether the charger is “super” or not.

In the future hydrogen will become a significant part of the energy mix, this is often dubbed the “Hydrogen Economy”. Bramble Energy’s PCBFC technology can enable the hydrogen economy to become more cost effective and in line with the traditional fuels that hydrogen will replace.

To learn more about how Bramble Energy’s PCBFC can help us make the hydrogen economy a reality, sign up to our newsletter for quarterly updates HERE, keep an eye on our website www.brambleenergy.com and of course follow us on social media @brambleenergy. Have any comments or questions? Get in touch at enquiries@brambleenergy.com