Hydrogen: the fuel of the future, but not without some hurdles.

Hydrogène ou l'énergie du futur

Is hydrogen a clean energy source?

Hydrogen is often heralded as the fuel of the future, promising a clean and efficient solution to growing energy needs.

But why? When hydrogen (or dihydrogen, H2) is used as a source of energy, it is generally used to produce a reaction with oxygen in a fuel cell to generate electricity, water, and heat. The main by-product of this chemical reaction is water (H2O). In other words, when hydrogen is used as a fuel, it doesn’t release any pollutants or greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Obviously, this is a source of considerable optimism.

How hydrogen is being held back

Despite its obvious advantages, the widespread use of hydrogen is hampered by a number of challenges, most notably transport and storage.

The biggest challenge is transport. Hydrogen is a light gas that can easily leak out of containers, which makes it not only difficult but expensive to transport. Conventional pipelines are unsuitable for hydrogen transport because it can escape; this means that specialised infrastructure needs to be built. Also, transporting liquid hydrogen requires very specific temperature conditions, adding further logistical and economic complexity.

How to store hydrogen also poses a major challenge. Current storage technologies are both limited and difficult to manage effectively because of the high pressures or very low temperatures needed. At the moment, the investments required are difficult to justify financially, and market stakeholders are struggling to find economically viable solutions.

Lastly, the production of hydrogen currently requires a considerable amount of energy. This means that decarbonising hydrogen production is also a major concern.

The bottom line

While hydrogen does currently have its shortcomings, hopes are high for its future as a sustainable energy solution. It can be used to power vehicles, heating, and manufacturing, but also to store renewable energy.

Here at SON we’re confident in hydrogen’s potential, because to us, it’s essential to pursue an innovative energy transition and build a more sustainable future. This is why we’ve decided to act and provide a truly unique solution.

For more information, please contact us.