You may have heard many debates on hydrogen energy. Some people think that hydrogen is an energy carrier and some think that it’s an energy source. So, here comes the question: Hydrogen, energy source or energy carrier?To answer this question, we must know what is an energy carrier and energy source. Energy carriers are used to deliver energy, move and store in a form that can be easily used. A well-known example of an energy carrier is Electricity. A source from which useful energy can be extracted or recovered either directly or by means of a conversion or transformation process (e.g. solid fuels, liquid fuels, solar energy, biomass, etc.). Now let’s come to the answer of the main question. Hydrogen is an energy carrier, not an energy source and can deliver or store a tremendous amount of energy.Hydrogen as an important energy carrier in the future has a number of advantages. For example, a large volume of hydrogen can be easily stored in a number of different ways, including underground hydrogen storage, compressed hydrogen in tanks, or through chemical compounds that release hydrogen after heating.
Hydrogen is also considered as a high efficiency, low polluting fuel that can be used for transportation, heating, and power generation in places where it is difficult to use electricity. In some instances, it is cheaper to ship hydrogen by pipeline than sending electricity over long distances by wire. Hydrogen use today is dominated by industries such as oil refining, ammonia production, methanol production and steel production. There is significant potential for emissions reductions from clean hydrogen because all of this hydrogen is supplied using fossil fuels.Hydrogen fuel can be used in many different types of transportation either with a fuel cell or in an internal combustion engine to eliminate or significantly reduce emissions. Fuel cell powered vehicles that turn hydrogen into electricity are quiet, efficient and offer the environmental benefit of only emitting water.
In transport, the competitiveness of hydrogen fuel cell cars depends on fuel cell costs and refueling stations while for trucks the priority is to reduce the delivered price of hydrogen. Shipping and aviation have limited low-carbon fuel options available and represent an opportunity for hydrogen-based fuels. If we see the past, we get to know about a timeline.At the early stages, we used to have oil and natural gas as the carriers of energy and now we have electricity as the energy carrier. So, here comes a question that, why did we skip our hydrogen economy after oil and natural gas, and went straight to electricity? For hydrogen both, it’s generation and release of its carried energy requires a process that invariably involves electricity. Now, if we have to make an investment on electricity economy to get the hydrogen economy then it does make sense to skip the hydrogen economy. Now, if we consider the investment made on electricity economy, then here comes a challenge. The greatest challenge for the production of hydrogen, particularly from renewable resources, is providing hydrogen at a lower cost.
IEA analysis finds that the cost of producing hydrogen from renewable electricity could fall 30% by 2030 as a result of declining costs of renewables and the scaling up of hydrogen production. In the longer term, solar energy and biomass can be used more directly to generate hydrogen as new technologies make alternative production methods cost competitive. Producing hydrogen from low-carbon energy is costly at the moment.Currently cons are dominating but, we should believe in innovation, innovators will definitely do something to make the pros to dominate. So, Hydrogen is very promising as a future energy carrier.