There are many great use cases of hydrogen fuel cells powering vehicles such as trucks, buses, ships, trains, airplanes, and to a lesser extent, cars†
While hydrogen is a green substance in action – just like green electricity – historically, sourcing has not. In 2020, 96% of the hydrogen used was produced from fossil energy sources. But now a German company has found a way to convert waste into usable green hydrogen that can generate electricity.
Remember how you make hydrogen?
Energy suppliers usually extract hydrogen from water using heat and chemical reactions. However, this has traditionally been an energy-intensive process that, unless involving the use of renewable energy sources, causes harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
But German energy storage company H2 industries announced the construction of Egypt’s first waste-to-hydrogen facility and the world’s first project of its kind.
The company is developing a project to convert organic waste from the Suez Canal Economic Zone into usable hydrogen. This includes plastic, agricultural waste and sewage sludge
The company will convert this hydrogen into a “carrier fluid” to transport and use to fill storage tanks, just like diesel, but without the respective carbon emissions.
Energy suppliers can then use the residual heat from the H2-Industries process to generate power with steam turbines and generators.
Huge price drops for green hydrogen production
According to the company, the project aims at a production capacity of 300,000 tons of green hydrogen per year. This means that the plant can dispose of four million tons of municipal solid waste annually.
Importantly, one of the major advantages for the development of green hydrogen is the cost. Price has traditionally been a huge barrier to promoting green hydrogen innovation.
The Suez Canal project will produce green hydrogen at half the cost of current production technologies, making costs even lower than current levels for low-carbon and gray hydrogen production.
In addition, the CO2 emissions captured during processing can yield cheap synthetic diesel (eDiesel) or sustainable aviation fuel (SAF).
It is fair to say that green hydrogen innovation is currently concentrated in research and development rather than commercial applications.
But a project of this magnitude makes commercial viability closer to reality. Hopefully, other space stakeholders can use the project results to further boost their own sustainable green hydrogen projects.
Without this (and the necessary hydrogen filling stations) we will never get beyond research into real use cases.