Europe’s largest natural gas infrastructure company just started a new hydrogen business. According to a recent McKinsey research released by the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Energy Association, a hydrogen economy in the U.S. could sustain 700,000 employment by 2030 and provide an estimated $140 billion in income annually.
Here are five essential potentials for the fuel, along with some related obstacles, based on research by NREL, McKinsey, and others.
Substitution of current hydrogen feed stocks
The most straightforward application of Green Hydrogen Jobs may be to replace the enormous quantities of the gas now generated using carbon-intensive techniques to meet industrial demands. According to data from the International Energy Agency, 38.2 million metric tons (MT) of hydrogen were used in manufacturing ammonia, and another 31.5 MT were used for oil refining in 2018.
According to NREL, several companies are developing direct reduced iron techniques that employ gas to eliminate oxygen from ore, making steelmaking another possible application for green hydrogen.
The overall market for hydrogen feedstock in the United States was 10 MT in 2015, and according to McKinsey, this market might grow to between 13 MT and 14 MT by 2030.
In nations where the primary heating source is now natural gas, decarbonizing home and commercial heating systems is a significant problem. Mixing Green Hydrogen Jobs with natural gas to lower the carbon level of the latter is one quick, though only partially effective, the solution to the issue.
However, only regions with relatively high natural gas costs, like Europe, will likely find this beneficial. Furthermore, the amount of travel is constrained.
NREL researchers said in a report released in August that “blending up to 20 percent hydrogen (on a volume basis) is likely to be possible for natural-gas applications, although not all natural-gas pipeline systems are built of materials that can handle that concentration.”
2. Storage of energy
Utilizing green hydrogen in fuel cells to generate power is one of its most lauded applications. The AC-to-AC round-trip efficiency drops to about 35% of the hydrogen created by electrolysis using renewable energy, which significantly decreases from the battery-capable efficiency of 95%.
However, an NREL research released earlier this year revealed that, even with current technology, deploying green hydrogen for energy storage applications with a lifespan of at least 13 hours would be financially advantageous.
3. Non-traditional fuels
Hydrogen is widely employed in industry, but scaling up production for a broader range of uses presents distribution and storage issues.
Converting the extraordinarily volatile and combustible gas into a somewhat more flexible fuel, such as ammonia or methane, is one technique to get past these problems. However, as energy would be wasted during this conversion, it is most likely only worthwhile to carry out in situations where the value of the final product is high.
Because of this, according to NREL, “market potential is likely to be driven either by a desire to use carbon dioxide or by the capacity to create certain products that may be challenging to generate directly from natural gas.”
4. Fuel cell automobiles
One of the uses for Green Hydrogen Jobs that is most frequently mentioned is powering fuel-cell automobiles. However, it is still being determined if fuel-cell cars will take off as the automotive industry shifts from internal combustion engines to more affordable battery-powered automobiles.
According to Colin McKerracher, head of advanced transport at the research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance, “in the next ten years, there will likely be more appealing uses for green hydrogen than putting it in automobiles.”
The exception may be in specialized transportation fields like forklifts or heavy-duty haulage. In contrast to the 7,600 hydrogen-powered automobiles now on the road, McKinsey thinks there is an urgent demand for 25,000 forklift trucks and other material-handling fuel-cell vehicles in the U.S.
Green Hydrogen Jobs may also be utilized to create green ammonia, the primary ingredient in fertilizer manufacture, which can then be mixed into the current natural gas pipelines. According to organizations representing the hydrogen sector, green ammonia will be cost-competitive with conventionally generated ammonia by 2030.