Sep 6, 2023
The "Hydrogen Factsheet" from the Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan provides a comprehensive overview of hydrogen's role in the energy sector.
The "Hydrogen Factsheet" from the Center for Sustainable Systems at the University of Michigan provides a comprehensive overview of hydrogen's role in the energy sector. Some key points include:
Hydrogen's Role and Production: Hydrogen is a versatile feedstock and energy carrier used across various sectors. In 2020, global hydrogen production was 90 million metric tons, with the U.S. contributing about 10 million metric tons. The primary method of hydrogen production is steam methane reforming (SMR) of natural gas, which results in CO₂ emissions. Electrolysis, which splits water into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity, offers a decarbonization pathway if powered by renewable or nuclear energy.
Hydrogen Technologies: Hydrogen can be produced through several methods, including SMR, electrolysis, and gasification. The color-coding system classifies hydrogen based on its production method: grey for SMR, blue for SMR with carbon capture, and green for electrolysis using renewable energy.
Distribution and Storage: Transporting hydrogen is challenging due to its low volumetric energy density. It can be transported via pipelines, tube trailers, or liquid tankers. Storage options include compression, liquefaction, and potential underground storage methods.
End-Uses: The largest consumers of hydrogen in the U.S. are petroleum refineries and ammonia synthesis. Hydrogen has potential applications in various sectors, including steel production, high-temperature heat applications, residential heating, and transportation. However, its use in light-duty vehicles is debated due to efficiency concerns.
Environmental Impacts: Current global hydrogen production results in about 1 Gt of CO₂ emissions. Electrolysis, which accounts for less than 5% of global production, can lead to zero emissions if powered by clean energy sources.
U.S. Hydrogen Strategy: The U.S. is investing in the hydrogen economy, with the Infrastructure, Investment, and Jobs Act allocating $9.5 billion for hydrogen. The U.S. Department of Energy aims to establish regional clean hydrogen hubs to foster production, consumption, and infrastructure development.
The factsheet is a valuable resource for understanding the potential and challenges of hydrogen in the transition to a sustainable energy future.
Read the fact sheet here: