Hydrogen can be the cleanest and most effective alternative to fossil fuels, the trump card to decarbonise the economy. Some of the world's leading experts are convinced of this. Several governments seem persuaded by this, ready to play this card, and now even Europe with the plan unveiled yesterday aims to increase the contribution of hydrogen in its energy mix, bringing it from a share now less than 2% to around 14 % by 2050.
Betting above all on the success of the so-called "green hydrogen", produced in a completely green way thanks to the energy made available by renewables, not extracted from natural gas as is the case today for most of the hydrogen in circulation.
The keystone is represented by electrolysers combined with solar or wind fields. In this way, part of the energy produced by renewable fields instead of ending up in the network would feed the chemical reaction (electrolysis) of the water, separating the oxygen molecules from the hydrogen ones.
The product thus obtained can be stored and used to in turn produce electricity to be fed into the network, or used as gas for mobility, boilers and industrial sectors highly impacting in terms of harmful emissions.
Hydrogen could be the best chance of renewable energy
A technique that according to experts, if widespread on a commercial scale, would represent the best chance of renewable energy.
And if a large amount of electricity from renewable sources is needed to produce green hydrogen, it comforts the drop in clean energy prices in recent years. This, combined with an increase in demand for green hydrogen, could cause the price of gas to drop from 6 to 1.7 dollars per kilogram by 2050.
At the same time, the increase in carbon market prices could play in favor of clean source. A market to be completely built that requires huge investments in infrastructure. The Brussels plan is to install at least 6 GW of electrolysers by 2024 from just 135 MW today, to produce one million tons of green hydrogen.
And reaching 40 GW installed by 2040 with a production of 10 million tons. Targets that need funding for around 40 billion for electrolysers, between 220 and 340 billion for new wind and solar plants and 130 billion for infrastructure only in the next decade.
A not indifferent effort, supported by a combination of instruments such as the European Cohesion and Regional Development Funds and the Recovery Fund. An area in which the European Union aspires to have a leadership position, in which "it can lead globally", as stated at the presentation of the plan by the Commission's executive vice-president, Frans Timmermans.