Hydrogen is critical because it can eliminate pollution from hard-to-decarbonize industries.

Water and significant quantities of renewable energy (so-called renewable hydrogen or green hydrogen); and natural gas and CO2 capture and storage are the two most widely discussed methods for producing hydrogen (also called low-carbon hydrogen or blue hydrogen).

There has been much discussion over which of these approaches Europe should pursue, but a new study released today shows that both should be used if Europe is to meet its zero-emissions targets.

“The research shows that hydrogen plays an important role in Europe’s transition to climate neutrality by 2050,” says Gunhild Reigstad, a co-author of the study and a scientist at SINTEF Energy.

“According to the findings, this transformation would necessitate unparalleled efforts on both fronts: hydrogen produced from natural gas with CO2 capture and hydrogen produced from renewable energy. With its natural gas wealth and dedication to CO2 storage, Norway is well positioned to develop a new hydrogen export industry. Norway will become a major renewable hydrogen producer in the future, once the infrastructure is in place and the hydrogen demand has expanded, thanks to its emphasis on offshore wind power.”

The authors of the study have discovered that hydrogen has the potential to contribute much more to the decarbonisation of the EU’s energy system than previously expected – with a market for hydrogen estimated at 100 million tonnes by 2050.

According to a new study conducted by SINTEF and European partners, all hydrogen technologies will be critical in helping Europe achieve its zero-emission targets by 2050. The analysis also indicates that, in order to achieve these targets in a cost-effective manner, 1000 times as much CO2 would need to be stored by 2050 as the first step of the Longship project anticipates.

Here is a summary of the study’s key finds:

  • Hydrogen will be crucial to bring the EU to zero emissions, particularly in sectors where electrification and efficiency gains are challenging.
  • Hydrogen can unlock decarbonisation in hard-to-abate sectors, such as transport.
  • Renewable hydrogen and low-carbon hydrogen are both necessary to reach net zero emissions. Natural gas and CCS (CO2 capture and storage) will be crucial, even with large investments in renewable energy.
  • Of the two scenarios examined by the study, the one with the strongest focus on renewable energy requires larger investments in the hydrogen value chain, representing a total system cost of an additional 70 billion euros per year.
  • To reach Europe’s 2050 climate targets in the most cost-effective way, we need to store 1400 megatons of CO2 per year. This is almost 1000 times more than the storage capacity planned for the first phase of Norway’s Longship project. Meanwhile, it is estimated that the Norwegian Continental Shelf has a storage capacity of 70 000 megatons of CO2.

The study was carried out by partners SINTEF and IFP Énergies Nouvelles (research) and Deloitte (project management) on behalf of Hydrogen4EU’s financial partners. The whole study can be found at www.hydrogen4eu.com

Arnes Biogradlija
Creative Content Director at EnergyNews.Biz

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