“ I don ’ t think green hydrogen is the answer to any problem other than decarbonising grey hydrogen , which is used to make fertiliser , petrochemicals and some industrial processes ”
However , others in the energy industry foresee green hydrogen as a vital part of a decarbonised system with a variety of uses including transport and grid balancing . Green hydrogen demand will likely come from existing industry up until 2030 , although the “ potential is way bigger ” in the future , says Nerea Martinez , a senior analyst at Delta-EE .
“ If we can get the cost down and scale then future growth is much larger in new sectors post 2030 . There ’ s a very big opportunity elsewhere but it ’ s not as attractive in the short term because of the cost of entry ,” she says . Green hydrogen can also replace natural gas for power generation to fill in the gaps of intermittent producers like solar and wind , but it would be “ down the priority list ”, Martinez says . “ To reach completely net zero it has a role to play .”
Pablo Borondo , an analyst at Aurora Energy , says that while the EU ’ s targets for green hydrogen are “ very ambitious ”, they are also needed “ if you ’ re serious about reaching net zero and diversifying energy supply ”. In the first decade hydrogen will likely be used to substitute grey hydrogen but this may leave another 10mt to further decarbonise other industries from 2030 , Borondo reckons . One of the key sectors will be primary steel production , followed by the transport sector – heavy duty road , maritime and aviation – “ where electrification isn ’ t always viable ”, he adds .
Green hydrogen can also be used to balance the grid when intermittent renewables dominate generation . While storage systems
Montel Magazine 3 – 2022 such as batteries and pumped hydropower will play a major role in balancing the system , hydrogen “ is still probably well fitted for additional flexibility at those times of the year when you have a week with no wind and small solar ”, Borondo says . “ In total hydrogen would play an important role for fully decarbonising the economy . This discrepancy between over optimistic and sceptic is mainly for specific uses .”
The European Parliament recently relaxed rules around producing green hydrogen using power from the grid . Yet Marta Lovisolo , policy advisor at Norwegian environmental group Bellona , is sceptical and says there is an overlap between the proponents for gas and hydrogen .
“ The issue is that we make the rules easy so that we can make a lot of hydrogen because it ’ s a ‘ magic solution ’ that can solve all our problems , but the reality is that we will realise in a few years that this has been increasing emissions , increasing costs for consumers , creating new dependencies .”
There is “ definitely , very clearly an overlap ” between hydrogen and gas lobbies , “ especially gas distributors need an excuse to keep their grid functioning and keep public investment going ”, she says . While hydrogen will “ definitely ” be part of the solution of a fully decarbonised grid , policymakers should focus on installing enough renewable power to meet EU climate goals , she says . “ What we ’ re seeing today is diversion of renewable power , it ’ s not even helping to deploy more renewables .” n 23