Hydrogen has a key role to play in the future energy systems, but “it’s no silver bullet,” European pro-hydrogen speakers said in an industry webinar on Thursday.
According to Christoph Jugel, head of energy systems at the German Energy Agency, green hydrogen – the fuel produced from renewables power and water – “isn’t the silver bullet to solve all our problems, but it has a special role to play” in the energy transition.
He said the advantages of using hydrogen and green power fuels include the ability to utilize existing infrastructure; to lower emissions from traditional fossil fuel combustion in different appliances; and to produce locally and trade globally.
“Hydrogen offers a global chance – it’s the new kids on the block,” Jugel said in a webinar attended by Kallanish Energy.
Jejs Jensen, the CEO of Danish industry association Hydrogen Denmark (Brintbranchen), noted that hydrogen offers “golden opportunities” to Europe.
“The North Sea will still be a source of tremendous energy resources,” said Jensen. He noted offshore wind and hydrogen together have the potential to maintain the North Sea’s energy relevance in the UK, Denmark, and Norway.
The benefit of having a zero-emission, fossil-free fuel to power industries and the transport sector is huge and governments in Europe and Asia are already eying. Their support for a hydrogen strategy is developing and becoming more mature, as more alliances between the public and private sectors prove the safety and viability of hydrogen.
Yet, the “general lobbying” of hydrogen as a silver bullet to a carbon-free energy transition “doesn’t cut with ministers,” said George Freeman, a member of the UK Parliament and former minister of state for the Future of Transport.
Ministers and the government in the UK seem to be taking a more pragmatic approach to the development of hydrogen. Although there has recently been an increase in spending on a hydrogen strategy, the UK has established a “very strong” electric vehicles and batteries sector.
Freeman believes “the problem is that in the UK clean energy means electrical… We haven’t had a mixed approach.” Another barrier in the country, and in many other places, is the high up-front cost compared to other technologies and the issue of technical distribution.
The MP is pushing for the creation of five hydrogen hubs in coast cities across the UK to supply the transport sector.
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