Hydrogen could replace gas

Hydrogen could replace gas
BloombergNEF is predicting that hydrogen could be cost-competitive fossil fuels by 2050 if governments proceed with escalating cost of carbon pollution.

The report identifies the blocking hydrogen from the grid has been an economic one decision, but as hydrogen creates no greenhouse gases when burned it may yet have its day - if emission prices rise to $55 per tonne of carbon dioxide, the report found, it would become economically viable in several countries. The weighted carbon price today is $22.59 per tonne, according to the IHS Markit Global Carbon Index.

However, there remain some issue. Because pure hydrogen burns at a higher temperature it also produces higher levels of nitrogen emissions, levels that would push it over regulatory limits. For hydrogen to be fully realised as a combustion fuel the technology for reducing NOx emissions will need to be refined first, as will several components for new or existing turbine plants given the differences in flow rate.

The goal of burning hydrogen, with water as the only product and the ability to then recycle that water through cleanly generated electricity back into hydrogen and water is the stuff of dreams – and it just might be getting a bit closer.

The need for a form of ‘bridging energy’ will become more important, as will storage. As Tuomo Hatakka, head of Business Area Heat at Vattenfall noted as the company attempts to convert a Dutch plant to hydrogen: “Being able to guarantee energy supply stability will become even more important in the future with the increased amount of energy provided by weather-dependent wind and solar power. Gas-fired power plants will be able to provide the necessary flexibility in the future, on the condition that carbon dioxide emissions are reduced.”

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