Experts perceive environmental, economic drawbacks of use of green hydrogen

The dependence on green hydrogen in place of heat pumps for heating needs in Europe is perceived to have pitfalls. It would double energy bills, lead to loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, diminish GDP by 1%, increase air pollution to lead to premature deaths, and derail the climate targets of the European Union for 2030.

Importantly, if gas boilers are replaced with heat pumps, and combined with home renovations to elevate energy efficiency, this would be the best approach for carbon-free residential heating. This is the analysis of 222-page report presented by UK-based analyst Cambridge Econometrics in alliance with the European Alliance to Save Energy and European Climate Foundation.

In fact, even a combination of green hydrogen and heat pumps would not be friendly for consumer’s pockets and the Earth than using only heat pumps.

On the other hand, larger the uptake of heat pumps, greater are the socio-economic benefits, states an executive summary presented by the European Climate Foundation.

In terms of performance, heat pumps are a highly efficient heating approach, which has advantages of reducing household energy bills and improves Europe’s energy independence goals. A large installation of heat pumps for individual heating systems as well as district heating networks, combined with high renovation rate can reduce energy bills of households by half by 2050. Conversely, hydrogen boilers lead to high energy consumption due to their less energy efficiency than heat pumps, and require as much as six times more renewable energy.

Green Hydrogen pins hope to help save the climate

In the fight against climate change globally, green hydrogen has emerged as a savior. It is recognized as a potential wonder fuel that could help the most polluting industries of the world slash carbon emissions.

Meanwhile, hydrogen itself provides many uses. However, governments and companies are focusing on produce hydrogen in climate-friendly manner to make it truly green.

Interestingly, hydrogen is an abundantly available resource with no emissions when it burns as a fuel. This is all the more reason governments and enterprises are extolling its virtues. Furthermore, the use of hydrogen as a fuel for spacecraft has prompted industry stakeholders to tout it as fuel of the transport industry in the future. For example, airbus plans to start operations of the world’s first hydrogen-powered commercial plane by 2035. In fact, several large automakers already manufacture vehicles using hydrogen fuel cells.

And, transport policymakers are making note of this. Plans are in the making to manufacture hydrogen-powered trains in Italy and Germany.

So much so, presently, some of the industries that are highly polluting particularly consider hydrogen as a promising alternative to fossil fuels. For example, steelmakers such as the German Thyssenkrupp are experimenting to create hydrogen-powered furnaces.

Potential of green hydrogen well accepted, production in clean way debated

To sum this, there exists broad consensus that hydrogen fuel has huge potential benefits, however, the process of producing it in a climate-friendly manner still remains a subject of heated debate.

In fact, for centuries, scientists have understood how hydrogen can be generated from water via electrolysis. The process involves passing an electric current through water, breaking it into hydrogen and oxygen.

However, the process requires power, which currently is largely produced by burning coal and gas.