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Green hydrogen: the main vector of the energy transition

Green hydrogen: the main vector of the energy transition

The issues of decarbonization, achieving climate neutrality and reducing the dependence of Italy and the whole of Europe on gas supplies from non-EU countries are, in recent months, at the center of important debates involving the whole continent.

The European Union, through the "European Green Deal", has undertaken the commitment to become, by 2050, the first continent with zero climate impact, and to achieve this ambitious goal it is essential to intervene in a structural and targeted way on the production chain and energy transport.

To implement truly effective actions, it is important to move towards the choice of energy sources that do not have a negative impact on the environment. In this panorama, hydrogen is becoming the protagonist, as an energy vector that can store and supply large quantities of energy without generating CO₂ emissions during its use and favor the penetration of non-programmable renewable sources, such as wind and photovoltaic in the energy system, acting as a network balancer.

Hydrogen is a bridge to the renewable world

The belief that hydrogen will be destined to play, from now on, an increasingly central role in the European energy supply chain, is increasingly widespread, as demonstrated by the fact that the EU has long since adopted the so-called "Strategy for hydrogen for a climate neutral Europe”.

This document emphasizes how hydrogen is a raw material whose use guarantees countless advantages, since it can be used as a fuel, as a vector and as an energy accumulator. This means that hydrogen can be optimally exploited in many different areas.

Hydrogen can be used, for example, as a fuel for heavy transport vehicles, which are difficult to convert to an electric motor, or to power the most energy-impacting industries, i.e. those that require large amounts of energy to operate. which must be stored, preserved and used as needed. Hydrogen makes it possible to meet these needs much more effectively than traditional renewable energy sources are able to do, and these are just some of its potential sectors of application, ranging from industry to construction, to the entire energy chain.

Furthermore, hydrogen can be distributed through the gas network that already exists throughout Europe, so its large-scale use would not require major infrastructural investments and would indeed reduce the costs associated with any conversion or disposal of the gas pipelines we use today.

In addition, hydrogen also has another fundamental characteristic: its consumption does not produce CO2, so its emissions are zero and its use does not generate atmospheric pollution. This is precisely the reason that prompted the EU to define hydrogen as "essential to support the European Union's commitment to achieving climate neutrality by 2050 and the global efforts to implement the Paris Agreement, while pursuing the "zero pollution" objective ", and to invest heavily in the research and production of hydrogen sector, with the aim of increasing the percentage of hydrogen in the European energy mix, taking it from the current scarce 2% to 13 -14% by 2050.

What is green hydrogen

Given this state of affairs, it is natural to ask why, today, hydrogen represents only such a small fraction of the energy mix used in Europe and in the world. The answer to this question is simple: it is certainly true that the consumption of hydrogen produces no emissions, but the same cannot be said of its production process, which not only emits CO2 into the atmosphere, but which up to now has been almost always carried out starting from fossil fuels.

The need to use fossil sources (typically natural gas) to produce hydrogen (which is defined as "gray") has meant that, until now, this energy vector could not be defined as truly "green", but for some time the situation has changed favorably, thanks to the entry on the scene of the so-called green hydrogen. Unlike gray hydrogen, green hydrogen (also called "clean hydrogen" or "renewable hydrogen") is obtained through the electrolysis of water. The process does not emit greenhouse gases and is therefore completely neutral from the point of view of emissions.

In short, green hydrogen would allow to obtain all the advantages guaranteed by the use of gray hydrogen without the problems associated with its production methods.

The importance of hydrogen in the European energy landscape is also evidenced by the recent adoption of the REPowerEU plan, which provided and a series of large-scale interventions aimed at making Europe more independent from an energy point of view, as well as reducing energy waste and pushing for the use of ever cleaner energy. In this context, it was once again underlined that one of the objectives that Europe sets itself is to encourage the use of renewable hydrogen, especially in particularly polluting areas: the plan, for example, establishes that by 2030 around 30 % of the primary steel produced in the EU will be decarbonized, thanks to the use of green hydrogen.

The trend, therefore, seems to be very clear now, and renewable hydrogen will in all likelihood be one of the key players in the energy transition that our continent will face in the coming decades.

ROBUR and hydrogen

Robur is constantly engaged in research and development and in the improvement of sustainable technologies aimed at reducing energy consumption.

In fact, let's try to think about it: a thermally powered Robur absorption heat pump alone is capable of reducing the gas consumption of a good boiler by 40% ... immediately, thanks to the use of renewable energy from the air, from the ground or from the water. Therefore, already today, we can concretely participate in the reduction of energy consumption.

And a hydrogen heat pump ... coming soon! Follow us.

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