Hydrogen & Fuel Cells
It costs less to transport molecules than electrons. The target has been set: The EU Commission aims to have replaced gray hydrogen with the green variety by 2030. Why? Gray hydrogen is based on fossil energy sources. The ambitions are high. The first projects are set to be launched in the next few months. These projects will make for an output of around 100 MW.
Where does Europe stand at the moment?
By 2030, "only" the gray hydrogen will have been replaced. However, the economy needs – and the politicians want – even more green hydrogen as a substitute for fossil fuels. And that means a lot of electrolyzers are going to be needed. Where does Europe stand at the moment?
Discussions in the media very quickly impart the impression that green hydrogen is precisely the panacea that is needed and can fully and entirely replace natural gas. That will not work. At the same time, the desire for energy self-sufficiency through hydrogen resonates through the discussion. But even in a hydrogen economy, Europe will have to think internationally. It is all about building up capacities and suppliers with a large number of partners – in North Africa, the Middle East or South America. A hydrogen economy therefore leads to a diversification of energy partners.
Green hydrogen necessitates renewable energies
Offshore wind energy plays a key role in this context. Norway or the UK could export surpluses. Chile and Argentina also have ideal wind conditions, and provide green ammonia or methanol. LNG terminals can, with a manageable technical outlay, also accommodate ammonia. Things will be more difficult with hydrogen, seeing as it will more likely have to be transported by pipeline.
Everything that can be conveniently and advantageously electrified in industry in the future will be electrified; that is more efficient, because hydrogen is an extremely valuable commodity and is being held back for processes such as steel production (replacing coal), desulphurization in the chemical industry, or perhaps for use with heavy goods vehicles.
Hydrogen production also necessitates expert knowledge in electrical engineering. For example, electrolyzers need grid converters. Many exhibitors at HANNOVER MESSE are currently benefitting from the hydrogen economy and will continue to do so.
Hydrogen necessitates pipelines
According to experts, transport via pipelines is efficient and economical over 2,000 to 2,500 km. A lot of existing pipelines could transport hydrogen, but will require technical adaptations to do so – an upgrading of the pipes. Background: the European gas network has evolved historically, different types of steel have been used, some better suited than others. New regulators or compressors have to be procured. Important to know: it costs less to transport molecules than electrons.
Hydrogen clusters will come into being. For Germany, experts reckon on five hydrogen regions in which the most hydrogen will be consumed.
In other regions of the world, too, those responsible are giving thought to hydrogen, although the discussions are not at such an advanced stage as in Europe. The EU's climate protection targets are expediting the shift towards the hydrogen economy.
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Key Technologies for Mobile and Stationary Use
The use of hydrogen across sectors – especially green hydrogen as a substitute for fossil fuels – is a central topic of industrial transformation. Since it can be used in both mobile and stationary applications, it is ideally suited for connecting different business sectors. At HANNOVER MESSE, the potential of hydrogen & fuel cells for carbon neutral generation of electricity and heat for transport and industry is pointing the way toward sustainability.
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