we believe every molecule of CO₂ entering the atmosphere is a problem – and something that blue hydrogen can help prevent in the short and medium term. Blue hydrogen’s potential to ‘move the needle’ quickly can be seen in the HyNet clean hydrogen project in the North West of the UK, which has adopted JM’s LCH technology. When this comes on-stream in 2025, production capacity will be 3 TWh, with the potential to scale to 30 TWh by 2030. In contrast, Shell Rotterdam – reported to be Europe’s biggest renewable electrolytic hydrogen production facility – will produce about 1 TWh when it comes on stream in 2025 (HyNet North West, 2022). The suitability of hydrogen production methods will also change according to location. Newly built blue hydrogen plants will often be more attractive to countries that have reserves of natural gas and the geological formations to deal with the captured CO₂. The HyNet project in the UK is a great example. On the other hand, green hydrogen will suit territories that have an abundance of renewable electricity. For example, in NEOM – Saudi Arabia’s futuristic city under construction – the country’s bountiful solar and wind resources will help produce 1.2 million tonnes of green hydrogen every year by 2026 (NEOM, 2022). And in California, approximately 1 TWh of solar electricity is wasted every year because an outdated electricity grid cannot take it. That is an amount of energy equivalent to four nuclear reactors, all of which could be stored in the form of green hydrogen – or converted into a high- density energy carrier such as ammonia. concentrate on carbon footprint, we will need to change our language around hydrogen. Defining and implementing proper low-carbon hydrogen standards is essential if all stakeholders are to know what ‘clean hydrogen’ actually means. Grouping hydrogen production by carbon intensity and not colour – as the US has proposed in its Inflation Reduction Act – gives clarity and freedom to project developers when choosing technology and seeking funding. To achieve a low-carbon hydrogen economy, we are calling for technologically agnostic Language matters For us to move away from colours and
standards to be adopted as soon as possible. These should be global, or at least regionally aligned, to facilitate a worldwide market for clean hydrogen – something that would blur the distinction between colours even more. But where there are standards, there also needs to be regulation, and important questions need to be addressed here. Implementation and adoption are key, but who will regulate, incentivise, and direct the use of these standards? Will it be left to national governments or an international agency? Numerous low-carbon hydrogen standards are already in development. While we are happy to work within any framework, we want to see the inclusion of upstream emissions (such as fugitive methane emissions and escaping CO₂). To this end, the most sensible approach seems to be a standard that covers well-to-gate emissions associated with hydrogen production. Defining and implementing proper low-carbon hydrogen standards is essential if all stakeholders are to know what ‘clean hydrogen’ actually means Having a global infrastructure standard for pipe and fittings would also help reduce the cost of introducing hydrogen to the world. To achieve net zero by 2050, the world has to increase the amount of hydrogen it is producing by a factor of 10. Just as there is no magic bullet for providing the world’s green energy needs, there is no one-size- fits-all approach to clean hydrogen production. We need a diverse network of suppliers around the world, each using the right method for them. Our language – and our preconceptions about existing technologies – must change and we need to find new ways of measuring carbon intensity. It is an incredibly exciting time to be involved with hydrogen – and at JM we are proud to be at the heart of it.
Maurits van Tol Maurits.vanTol@matthey.com
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