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Hydrogen: abundant energy source could soon fall in price

The idea of ​​using hydrogen energy, as well as the chemical elements themselves, has long come to mind. The first hydrogen fuel cells appeared 182 years ago.However, using hydrogen as an energy source Never took off.. In its gaseous form, it is abundant. Must be separated from water and hydrocarbons. In addition, it is costly to produce it in a sustainable way. This can all change over the next decade.

Hydrogen can replace natural gas over time. It contains enough energy in its molecule to do so. This means that it can also help eliminate coal and crude oil from energy consumption.As Marco Albera points out Hydrogen revolution, The transportation infrastructure already exists. He should know. Alverà runs the Italian natural gas pipeline company Snam. Converting a local gas pipeline to carry hydrogen will significantly reduce transportation costs.

The idea of ​​using hydrogen fuel cells for transportation is drawing attention. However, the use of hydrogen in the home and heavy industry can make a bigger difference at lower costs. Consider steelmaking, which will account for 9% of carbon emissions in 2019. Steel requires coking coal to convert iron ore to pig iron, the early stage of steel. To switch from this method to hydrogen, the cost of the latter would have to be reduced from about $ 3 per kilogram of hydrogen gas to at least $ 2. Otherwise, the additional cost makes steel uneconomical.

These prices are the so-called gray hydrogen prices. Green hydrogen produced using renewable energy costs more than three times as much. This is before investing in a special steel mill to use hydrogen effectively. More electrolyzers are needed to reduce costs. They use an electric current to separate hydrogen from water. The current world capacity is equivalent to 0.3 gigawatts. Approximately 25GW is required.

It may sound like a big leap. However, the capital expenditure required is probably $ 11 billion. It has spread to China, the United States and the EU and seems to be achievable in five years. Already, China is focusing on manufacturing more electrolyzers. The economic feasibility of hydrogen is becoming more and more convincing.

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