Hydrogen's role in renewables
To address climate change, many countries around the world have set targets to increase the use of renewable energy. While the rising share of renewable electricity (such as wind and solar technologies) has positive implications for lowering CO2 emissions and promoting the clean energy transition, managing the electricity grid will become increasingly challenging. Electricity production from renewable sources is intermittent – the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow. At certain times, generation will exceed power demand, while at other times, generation will fall short and power will be needed from backup power plants. For renewable power systems to be successful at large scale, we need smart grids, intelligent load management, grid extension and energy storage to balance demand and supply in electricity systems.
Harnessing the power of the wind: Hydrogen plays a key role in scaling renewable power systems.
Power-to-X (P2X) technologies
Power-to-X (P2X) technologies provide solutions to these challenges by offering methods to convert renewable electricity into energy carriers. P2X refers to technologies that use electricity from fluctuating renewable energy sources to synthesize gaseous hydrogen or hydrocarbons. Like electricity, hydrogen is an energy carrier – not a source of energy. It must therefore be produced.
Hydrogen offers several key benefits that increase its potential to replace fossil fuels. And hydrogen is versatile to use: It can be converted back to power, but can also be used as fuel for cars, a material for many industrial products (such as hardened fats) or even be converted to synthetic natural gas. Hydrogen makes all these markets accessible for renewable power. Green hydrogen produced via electrolysis can be transported via the natural gas grid or used to power fuel cell electric vehicles. The green hydrogen can also be provided to the chemical industry as a key feedstock material for many applications or converted to synthetic natural gas.
P2X technologies use electricity from fluctuating renewable energy sources such as solar.
Hydrogen energy storage
Energy storage is a necessary building block for realizing and operating energy systems with high penetration of renewables. Government agencies, researchers and industry are working together to develop a framework for the deployment of energy storage and advancing technology development and demonstration, in order to make energy storage economically viable by the end of the decade.
H2 Explained: Hydrogen's role in renewables.
Hydrogen is the most versatile means of energy storage as it can be stored in many different ways: from a few grams in handheld cartridges to thousands of tons in an underground cavern. This gives hydrogen the unique potential to store renewable energy both on small and very large scales, for a very long time. It can also be transported over long distances, from regions with an abundance of renewable energy to regions that need to use it.
With our vast experience in producing and handling hydrogen and our participation in leading P2X projects, Linde is among the frontrunners enabling renewables through hydrogen energy storage.