In recent years, countries around the world are promoting the development of hydrogen energy industry at an unprecedented speed. According to the report jointly released by the international Hydrogen Energy Commission and McKinsey, more than 30 countries and regions have released the roadmap for hydrogen energy development, and the global investment in hydrogen energy projects will reach 300 billion US dollars by 2030
Hydrogen energy is the energy released by hydrogen in the process of physical and chemical changes. Hydrogen and oxygen can be burned to generate heat energy, and can also be converted into electricity by fuel cells. Hydrogen not only has a wide range of sources, but also has the advantages of good heat conduction, clean and non-toxic, and high heat per unit mass. The heat content of hydrogen at the same mass is about three times that of gasoline. It is an important raw material for petrochemical industry and power fuel for aerospace rocket. With the increasing call to deal with climate change and achieve carbon neutrality, hydrogen energy is expected to change the human energy system.
Hydrogen energy is favored not only because of its zero carbon emission in the release process, but also because hydrogen can be used as an energy storage carrier to make up for the volatility and intermittence of renewable energy and promote the large-scale development of the latter. For example, the “electricity to gas” technology being promoted by the German government is to produce hydrogen to store clean electricity such as wind power and solar power, which cannot be used in time, and to transport hydrogen over a long distance for further effective utilization. In addition to the gaseous state, hydrogen can also appear as liquid or solid hydride, which has a variety of storage and transportation modes. As a rare “couplant” energy, hydrogen energy can not only realize the flexible conversion between electricity and hydrogen, but also build a “bridge” to realize the interconnection of electricity, heat, cold and even solid, gas and liquid fuels, so as to build a more clean and efficient energy system.
Various forms of hydrogen energy have multiple application scenarios. By the end of 2020, the global ownership of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will increase by 38% compared with the previous year. The large-scale application of hydrogen energy is gradually expanding from the automotive field to other fields such as transportation, construction and industry. When applied to rail transit and ships, hydrogen energy can reduce the dependence of long-distance and high load transportation on traditional oil and gas fuels. For example, at the beginning of last year, Toyota developed and delivered the first batch of hydrogen fuel cell systems for marine ships. Applied to distributed generation, hydrogen energy can supply power and heat for residential and commercial buildings. Hydrogen energy can also directly provide efficient raw materials, reducing agents and high-quality heat sources for petrochemical, iron and steel, metallurgy and other chemical industries, effectively reducing carbon emissions.
However, as a kind of secondary energy, hydrogen energy is not easy to obtain. Hydrogen mainly exists in water and fossil fuels in the form of compounds on the earth. Most of the existing hydrogen production technologies rely on fossil energy and can not avoid carbon emissions. At present, the technology of hydrogen production from renewable energy is gradually maturing, and zero carbon emission hydrogen can be produced from renewable energy power generation and water electrolysis. Scientists are also exploring new hydrogen production technologies, such as solar photolysis of water to produce hydrogen and biomass to produce hydrogen. The nuclear hydrogen production technology developed by the Institute of nuclear energy and new energy technology of Tsinghua University is expected to start demonstration in 10 years. In addition, the hydrogen industry chain also includes storage, transportation, filling, application and other links, which are also faced with technical challenges and cost constraints. Taking storage and transportation as an example, hydrogen is low density and easy to leak under normal temperature and pressure. Long term contact with steel will cause “hydrogen embrittlement” and damage to the latter. Storage and transportation are much more difficult than coal, oil and natural gas.
At present, many countries around all aspects of the new hydrogen research is in full swing, technical difficulties in stepping up to overcome. With the continuous expansion of the scale of hydrogen energy production and storage and transportation infrastructure, the cost of hydrogen energy also has a large space to decline. Research shows that the overall cost of hydrogen energy industry chain is expected to drop by half by 2030. We expect that the hydrogen society will accelerate.
Post time: Mar-30-2021