Hydrogen economy: a clean model for energy transition
The hydrogen economy is a model for a sustainable economy that aims at turning this gas into a critical element for decarbonization and reduction of dependence on oil and natural gas. This model seeks to address climate change and implement the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN. In addition, it prevents the increase in the temperature of the planet, which will be more than 1.5 degrees in the coming decades if we do not remedy it now (BBVA, 2021).
The Green hydrogen, a carbon dioxide (CO2) – free energy source, could solve some current challenges, such as energy storage or mobility efficiency. This element has the advantage that it can be produced locally, from resources already available (sun, wind, or biomass).
Learn about the basic principles of integral sustainability and the benefits of a model focused on the hydrogen economy.
Principles of integral sustainability giving way to the green hydrogen economy
Integral sustainability encompasses a process of change and transition, which considers environmental concerns and economic development. It seeks for new ways of producing and consuming without negatively affecting future generations. It states that humanity’s issues must be addressed holistically to achieve well-being without negatively affecting future generations.
To achieve this goal, integral sustainability has basic principles that promote energy change and take into consideration the fact that the planet’s resources are limited. These principles are:
- The integration of measures for the prevention of climate change.
- The improvement of the living conditions of populations around the world through urbanism and biodiversity.
- The making of a renewable energy transition: wind, solar and green hydrogen. This gives way to a model focused on the hydrogen economy.
- The bet on sustainable mobility, that is transportation with no CO2 emissions, for example, with the use of electric transport or fuel-cell vehicles.
Benefits of a model focused on the green hydrogen economy
According to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB, 2021), green hydrogen is the latest innovation in renewable energy. It is a clean energy source benefiting the environment, societies, and businesses. Its use contributes to achieving, the goal of a net carbon footprint equal to zero.
These are the benefits of a green hydrogen economy for the transition to industrial decarbonization.
1. Green hydrogen is non-polluting
Green hydrogen is made from electrolysis with renewable energies such as the sun and wind. . It only releases water (H2O) into the environment in the form of steam and produces no CO2 emissions (Smink, 2021). This is a 100% sustainable process favoring the hydrogen economy and generating a clean energy source.
2. It can be easily stored and transported
Green hydrogen can be compressed and stored for long periods. It is easily transported via pipelines and processed for an increasing number of uses. It can be used to generate electricity for domestic or industrial use, where necessary.
3. It promotes transport decarbonization
The use of green hydrogen in mobility is essential for the decarbonization of transportation. This is key to a sustainable energy model focused on the hydrogen economy. A vehicle that runs on renewable hydrogen does not generate carbon emissions, it only expels water, which results when this element is combined with oxygen.
4. It can be produced locally from numerous sources
Green hydrogen can be produced locally with resources such as the sun, wind, biomass, or water. It can be consumed locally and reduces dependence on petroleum and natural gas derivatives (Beneyto, 2021).
Companies, such as Iberdrola are launching very ambitious green hydrogen projects to foster the energy transition and decarbonize sectors such as industry or transportation.
5. It has numerous domestic and commercial uses
One of the benefits of green hydrogen is that it is easily stored and transported. For this reason, it can be used in many ways, replacing existing fossil fuels, which are used to provide electricity. In addition, it can be used in conjunction with other resources, such as solar panels. It is also helpful to store surpluses, it saves costs and it is careful with the environment.
The green hydrogen economy is a model representing a clean and effective alternative to the use of fossil fuels. It allows for the decarbonization of industrial production sustainable mobility, and a movement towards integral sustainability. It is a new paradigm of sustainable, carbon-free energy that can be incorporated to the struggle against climate change.
ReferencesBanco Interamericano de Desarrollo (BID). (2021, 19 de agosto). Bienvenidos a la nueva economía del hidrógeno.
BBVA. (2021). El hidrógeno como elemento clave para una economía libre de CO2.
Beneyto, L. (2021, 28 de junio). Hidrógeno verde, la próxima gran revolución energética. ETHIC.
Huerta, M. (2020, 8 de octubre). 10 razones para apostar ya por el hidrógeno verde. Verde y Azul.
Mallarach, J., Albareda-Tiana, S., Fernández, M. y Vidal-Raméntol, S. (2017). Barreras para la sostenibilidad integral en la Universidad. Revista Iberoamericana de Educación. vol. 73. 253-272. 10.35362/rie730301.
Naciones Unidas (UN). (s.f.). Sostenibilidad.
Smink, V. (2021, 31 de marzo). Hidrógeno verde: 6 países que lideran la producción de una de las “energías del futuro” (y cuál es el único latinoamericano). BBC News Mundo.