The production of green hydrogen may be cost-competitive with natural gas-based hydrogen by 2035, according to a new study from the Norway-based accredited registrar and classification society DNV GL.
Hydrogen contains no carbon atoms, being pure hydrogen, so it represents a clean-burning fuel. Electrolysers can produce hydrogen by splitting the hydrogen atoms from the oxygen atoms in water by using low-cost excess wind or solar power that may otherwise go to waste. The produced hydrogen could then be used to supplement electricity generation in periods when renewable sources cannot meet demand.
DNV GL states that the cost-competitiveness of green hydrogen will be driven by the advent of cheaper electrolysers, an increasing amount of excess renewable energy as the sector grows, and the introduction of carbon taxes.
DNV GL does believe, however, that conversion into heat or battery storage will be cost-competitive earlier, although their predictions are less optimistic than those of Germany-based think tank Energy Brainpool, which in 2018 study stated that by the 2030s, hydrogen could compete with natural gas as an energy source.
Some projects for renewable-to-hydrogen production are already at the planning stage, with a demonstration project in Yokohama, Japan that has already been running since 2017.
The use of hydrogen is just one of the possible cleaner new fuels we may be using in future. For example, ExxonMobil, the energy giant behind Mobil UK stockists, is researching oil production through algae, which consume carbon dioxide while growing, thus offsetting their lifecycle carbon footprint of the resulting fuel.