At the Meeting of Hydrogen
Overview on hydrogen
All the indicators go in the same direction to say that hydrogen will have a key role to play in the French energy transition but also worldwide. Mobility, heat, electricity storage: the applications are numerous, and make it possible to value an energy produced by renewable sources. Hydrogen has now become a preferred storage medium for renewable electricity on more towards Power to Gas. Using hydrogen to store energy has emerged as a theoretically viable solution, but difficult to put into practice due to technical and financial constraints. But the situation is changing, on the one hand because the technology is more and more mature, on the other hand because the need to give up fossil fuels make hydrogen an economically viable solution in the medium term.
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Hydrogen: not a primary energy but a method of storing energy
It is worth remembering that hydrogen is not a source of energy strictly speaking. It is an energy vector, a way to stock energy that can be released on demand, with particularly low losses. The principle is simple: energy is used to produce dihydrogen (H2), most often under pressure. Then this hydrogen can either feed a fuel cell, releasing electricity, or be burned directly, producing a heat energy and/or kinetic. Hydrogen is a green solution and sustainable only in the case where it is produced at from a renewable energy source. In the light of the development of intermittent renewable energies, the production of dihydrogen can also be a response to peaks in the production of these energies.
Hydrogen, a method of storing electricity
The applications are based on two axes. The first is to use hydrogen to store electricity. Many experiments are in progress. Also, hydrogen could be used in a residential setting as a source of cogeneration, since its combustion produces both electricity and heat. If no practical application of this cogeneration has yet been presented, researchers are actively working on the subject.
Hydrogen used in mobility
The second axes is that of mobility, probably the one where the future of hydrogen promises the greatest upheavals. Combined with an electric motor, it can offer higher yields than a Lithium-Ion battery, explaining the research frenzy in this technology, especially for the automobile and rail transport. Used as the main fuel, it seems the best (if not the only) renewable fuel capable of delivering enough power to operate an airliner.
But many obstacles remain to the industrial development of these solutions. Hydrogen remains dangerous, particularly in its gaseous form under pressure, and its storage and transport raise serious logistical problems.
France relies on hydrogen to make its energy transition a success
In early 2019, the French government has earmarked a substantial budget of 100 million euros to promote the democratization of hydrogen in the sectors of energy, transport and industry.The Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME) is responsible for deploying these loans and supporting projects throughout the country. Also, it is good to note that 95% of the hydrogen consumed in France comes from polluting fossil fuels. This practice is totally inconsistent with the goals of the French energy transition. The idea of the French government is to encourage the significant production of hydrogen from renewable energy sources because that is where the country will achieve energy transition with hydrogen.