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Converting green power into green hydrogen with proton exchange membrane electrolysers
© Siemens Energy

Converting green power into green hydrogen with proton exchange membrane electrolysers

One of the most significant challenges that we face in the world is to decarbonise the economy. If we are to meet the target agreed upon in the Paris Agreement, renewable energy will play an increasingly important role worldwide. It is at the heart of a sustainable, decarbonised energy future. Over the coming years its share in global power generation will continue to grow but integrating these intermittent energy sources in existing grids and industrial processes is a challenge.

The solution to that conundrum comes in the form of hydrogen, one of the most common elements in the universe. Almost all of our chemical fuels are based on hydrogen, although in a bound form as hydrocarbons or other hydrogen compounds. To limit climate change caused by the global increase in CO2 emissions, solutions must be found for generating carbon neutral and, therefore, sustainable fuels. This requires, among other things, that hydrogen is produced using renewable energy sources.

Hydrogen, not just a fuel of the future

What is special about hydrogen? Hydrogen is an energy carrier. Although abundant, it is not freely available and requires energy to separate it from water or from natural gas. So as a result, producing hydrogen via electrolysis can help time shifting energy as well as balancing intimate intermittent renewables as a storage mechanism. This time shifting can be short or long term. So unlike batteries, which are more short term intraday, hydrogen can be stored across seasons and even longer time periods.

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