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Hydrogen – the green energy of the future

Hydrogen – the green energy of the future

Did you know that space travel would not be possible without hydrogen? The space industry has actually been using this versatile gas since the 1960s. Over the following decades, intensive research has been conducted on hydrogen as an energy carrier, with the goal of weaning us off our dependence on oil and coal. But how much have hydrogen applications actually evolved?

Do we need hydrogen?

Hydrogen is highly versatile, which is what makes it so important for our modern lives.

For example, we can use it as an energy carrier. That means we can drive turbines with hydrogen to produce electricity, which then flows into our normal power grid. That’s possible because hydrogen is easy to store.

Industry is also reliant on hydrogen: for example, for the production of fertilizers. Hydrogen is also used in copper production in the so-called “polarization process.” But we also need this gas for hardening fats in foodstuffs. And we use huge amounts of it, over 500 billion cubic meters every year.

In addition, hydrogen can be used as a fuel, as illustrated in our example of the space rocket. It will also be used as a fuel in future vehicles equipped with fuel cells such as cars, busses or forklifts.

How is hydrogen produced?

Today’s industry has a huge thirst for hydrogen. The so-called gas reformation process is used to satisfy about 95 percent of this demand. However, the problem with this method is that it releases CO2. Research has therefore focused on finding new, more environmentally friendly methods of production – like water electrolysis. In this process, hydrogen is produced along with oxygen from water and electrical current.

The Siemens SILYZER is an innovation that enables water electrolysis to be implemented on a large scale.

What’s so “green” about hydrogen?

Hydrogen is often described as the fuel of the future, and rightly so – because both its production from electricity from renewable sources and also its consumption are sustainable and environmentally compatible.

Energy is needed for electrolysis, and we have more than enough of that at certain times, because solar and wind energy is not always generated precisely when it can be consumed. As a result, valuable energy unfortunately goes unused – but we can use this excess energy to obtain hydrogen through electrolysis. This is an exceptional concept, because it allows us to optimal use of the energy we generate with no waste whatsoever. What’s more, the production of hydrogen from electrolysis is also totally CO2 -free.

The whole process is sustainable from the very beginning, because the construction, operation, and dismantling of PEM electrolyzers is virtually pollutant-free.

Hydrogen from PEM electrolysis: a twofold benefit for humans, the climate, and the environment.