Published on 21/09/2021

The rise of hydrogen as a solution to decarbonize society

 

The use of hydrogen as an energy carrier is an increasingly popular solution for the decarbonization of industries, and particularly transportation. And for good reason – because when a hydrogen vehicle is driven, no greenhouse gases are released. This is an extraordinary technological breakthrough if you consider, for example, that a city bus running on natural gas releases nearly a kilogram of CO2 per kilometre travelled. Like electric vehicles, hydrogen vehicles also have the advantage of being silent.

Just imagine how pleasant the streets would be with waste collection trucks that make no engine noise on their morning or evening rounds. Another non-negligible advantage – which is why some of the largest car manufacturers are opting for this technology – is the recharging time. For example, the latest Toyota Mirai hydrogen car takes approximately only five minutes to fill, for a range of 600 kilometres.

Despite strong enthusiasm for this technology, like with any industrial innovation, actually deploying it takes time. While hydrogen cars are already here, automotive manufacturers are still in the process of developing heavier vehicles, like trucks and industrial vehicles. And when it comes to trains or planes, we will probably have to wait another few years before seeing them travelling with passengers on board.

Networks of hydrogen refuelling stations also need to be developed and this is one of the goals that the European Commission has set. By 2030, it will be compulsory to have hydrogen refuelling stations every 150 kilometres along major EU trunk roads.

For this, though, we need hydrogen that is produced from renewable sources

In transportation, the use of hydrogen is a new thing. It isn’t in industry however. Refineries, steelworks, and chemical and plastic manufacturing plants have long used hydrogen in their processes. And it is this same hydrogen that was first used in transportation, since this is what was available. But it is important to know that not all types of hydrogen are of equal merit and their carbon footprint is not at all the same!

Producing hydrogen from fossil fuels and/or using the steam reforming method produces huge amounts of CO2: 1 kilogram of H2 produced = 10 kilograms of CO2 emissions.

This is why, at Lhyfe, we really stress how our hydrogen is made. Our process uses renewable energy sources and the electrolysis of water, and so we emit absolutely no CO2. Better still, we give off oxygen.
We have even gone a little further by connecting directly to the energy source so that we are sure of the energy’s renewable origin.

This technological innovation needs to become more widespread and this is what we are working towards in producing this energy: today, in Bouin (France) from onshore wind turbines; in Croisic (France) from offshore wind turbines, and in Skive (Denmark) from wind and solar power. Our clients and partners are supporting us in this energy transition journey by investing in production facilities, vehicles and refuelling stations that will be completely clean. Together, we are laying the foundation stones to address the zero-emission challenge facing the next generation.