Are hydrogen power plants the future of global energy?

Are hydrogen power plants the future of global energy?
Darrius Drew
Ecology
It takes approx. 4 minutes to read this article

Today, independence in terms of energy resources is one of the most important factors for ensuring economic growth. Unfortunately, non-renewable fuel resources are being depleted at a faster or slower pace, causing environmental damage. Renewable energy sources are not necessarily efficient, while nuclear power is sometimes seen as dangerous. So, could the future of global energy depend on hydrogen?

The need for a new fuel

The topic of searching for the fuel of the future is definitely not new. However, we must admit that futurism is combined with science. Until recently, power plants producing electricity from hydrogen also seemed to exist rather only in science fiction films. The topic of hydrogen as a fuel of the future has returned strongly with the announcement of the European Green Deal. The ambitious goal of achieving a zero-carbon economy by 2050 must require radical action. As a result, as much as €470 billion from the EU budget is to be allocated to creating a hydrogen infrastructure Is the introduction of hydrogen as a fuel also in the plans?

Why hydrogen?

The road to hydrogen becoming the fuel of the future may be quite long, but it seems very promising. First of all, this gas can be both burned and used in a fuel cell. However, it is comforting to know that the result is only clean water. Hence, hydrogen is looked upon not only as a fuel, but also as an important ally in such economic development that does not lead to deepening global warming

Why might hydrogen not live up to expectations?

The idea that hydrogen will be the fuel of the future does not seem quite realistic to everyone. True, not only the European Union, but also China, the USA, Japan and Korea are investing billions in these issues. The market itself is expected to be worth trillions. It turns out, however, that this is not the first time that hydrogen has been the subject of a buzz.

“Hydrogen bubbles”

At least twice in history, a new era of hydrogen as a cheap, efficient and environmentally friendly fuel has been announced. The first time was in the 1970s. At that time, it was announced that the next decade would be the time of an energy breakthrough – but it ended with predictions. The next time when people were fascinated with hydrogen as a revolutionary fuel was in 2000, but it turned out that even if the appropriate technologies existed, they were too expensive to be implemented in the economy. Will it be different this time? There are many indications that it will be.

Disadvantages of hydrogen

The main problem that exists with hydrogen is not its rarity, since we are talking about the most common element in the universe. The difficulty is that obtaining its pure form is only possible on Earth with energy. It is no accident that the term “green hydrogen” is used, because it is precisely obtaining clean energy for obtaining hydrogen that is the great challenge. The need to obtain energy from renewable sources means that hydrogen is expensive compared to fuels used so far

Further problems will be associated with storing and transporting hydrogen. This requires extremely high pressure and extremely low temperatures. Transport can end in an explosion anyway. These very characteristics effectively prevent hydrogen from being widely used as a fuel in the automobile industry

But will we see hydrogen power plants?

Despite these doubts and reservations, hydrogen has the potential to transform the energy sector in the future – even in the 2050 perspective, as predicted by the European Green Deal. However, difficulties need to be overcome, and this is where hydrogen power plants may become a good solution – huge hydrogen storage facilities are expected to be built close to strategic facilities. All this may or may not necessarily happen, however

Main photo: Matthew Henry/unsplash.com

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