Hydrogen has been touted as a carbon-free energy source for the so-called hydrogen economy. It has been proposed as a fuel for fuel cell vehicles and as an enabler for carbon capture and sequestration technology for power generation and refineries (large stationary combustion sources). Realization of the hydrogen economy has been delayed due to high costs and performance challenges of fuel cells, on-board hydrogen storage and hydrogen production and distribution infrastructure. Moreover, large volumes of hydrogen are needed to upgrade increasingly heavy and sour hydrocarbon feedstocks to transportation fuels. This session will explore priorities for hydrogen research and development and hydrogen utilization along the energy value chain.
Hydrogen has two significant characteristics as an energy carrier. The first is as a contributor to energy security. Hydrogen can be produced from various primary energies - fossil fuels, biomass, via solar and wind generated electricity etc. That is, hydrogen can contribute to energy security by providing energy source diversification.
Hydrogen is an energy carrier and can generate electricity and heat efficiently through use in fuel cells. Hydrogen is a kind of battery which can store electricity. Hydrogen can stabilize unstable renewable electricity. Therefore, hydrogen contributes to energy security as a battery. Fuel cells have a high energy efficiency and that contributes to energy conservation as well.
The second significant characteristic is the contribution to CO2 reduction. Hydrogen from renewable energy does not emit CO2. Hydrogen production from fossil fuels emits CO2 during the hydrogen production process. However, total CO2 emissions from production to energy consumption are smaller than the combustion of fossil fuels because of the high efficiency of fuel cells. Moreover, the point is that hydrogen does not emit CO2 while being consumed. Furthermore, the production of CO2 can be mitigated by CCS technology. Therefore, hydrogen utilization can contribute to CO2 reduction even if the hydrogen is produced from fossil fuel.