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Sustainable hydrogen: still a long way to go?

6 episodes
  • 1
    Hydrogen: for the hype or for the climate?
  • 2
    “Turquoise hydrogen” a viable solution without CO2
  • 3
    Storage: a major hurdle for the hydrogen industry
  • 4
    Will hydrogen fuel the future of mobility?
  • 5
    Why hydrogen emits CO2
  • 6
    Hydrogen, the future of combustion
Épisode 1/6
Cécile Michaut, Science journalist
On July 8th, 2021
4 mins reading time

Key takeaways

  • Numerous states and companies are placing their hopes in hydrogen to fight against global warming.
  • But hydrogen (H2) production requires input from other sources of energy which emit CO2.
  • Currently, 95% of hydrogen is produced using fossil fuels because it is cheaper. Whereas the remaining 5% is produced by electrolysis, which requires electricity from the grid (also originating from fossil fuels).
  • To really turn it into green fuel, major investments in R&D will be needed, in combination with strong regulatory incentives.
Épisode 2/6
Cécile Michaut, Science journalist
On July 8th, 2021
3 mins reading time
Laurent Fulcheri
Laurent Fulcheri
Research director at PERSEE, MINES-ParisTech

Key takeaways

  • Black, brown and grey hydrogen are made from fossil fuels, and blue hydrogen is a similar process combined with CO2 capture and storage to reduce emissions.
  • Green hydrogen is produced via electrolysis of water, but it requires large amounts of electricity from the grid or renewable energy.
  • Turquoise hydrogen uses both electricity and methane, but with 4–7.5 times less electricity than electrolysis depending on the technology used – making it a hopeful technology for the future.
  • Moreover, if the methane comes from biogas it has captured CO2from the air, meaning it actually has a negative carbon footprint.
Épisode 3/6
Johnny Deschamps, Professor at the Chemistry and Processes Unit (UCP) at ENSTA Paris (IP Paris)
On July 8th, 2021
3 mins reading time
Johnny Deschamps
Johnny Deschamps
Professor at the Chemistry and Processes Unit (UCP) at ENSTA Paris (IP Paris)

Key takeaways

  • Although hydrogen is attracting interest, we often forget that its storage represents a significant challenge for its widespread use.
  • In its liquid state, hydrogen requires cryogenic tanks that keep it at -253°C, which requires a considerable amount of energy.
  • Other storage techniques are being developed, such as storage by adsorption or in compressed form, but for the moment no solution is economical or practical enough to be used in a sustainable way.
Épisode 4/6
Olivier Perrin, Partner in the energy, resources and industry sector at Deloitte and Alexandre Kuzmanovic, Director at Monitor Deloitte in the field of energy, resources and industry, with a focus on the aerospace sector
On July 8th, 2021
4 mins reading time
Olivier Perrin
Olivier Perrin
Partner in the energy, resources and industry sector at Deloitte
Alexandre Kuzmanovic
Alexandre Kuzmanovic
Director at Monitor Deloitte in the field of energy, resources and industry, with a focus on the aerospace sector

Key takeaways

  • Transportation, being responsible for a considerable part of GHG emissions, is indeed one of the main targets of the hydrogen industry.
  • Fuel cell powered vehicles could reduce GHG emissions by 80% if the hydrogen used is blue and 15% if it is grey, compared to current vehicles.
  • Their deployment in EU countries is planned within the next ten years, but this project remains very expensive.
  • Hydrogen as a fuel will not only be used for terrestrial mobility but could also find its place in space exploration.
Épisode 5/6
Didier Dalmazzone, Professor of Chemistry and Processes at ENSTA Paris (IP Paris)
On July 8th, 2021
4 mins reading time
Ddidier Dalmazzone
Didier Dalmazzone
Professor of Chemistry and Processes at ENSTA Paris (IP Paris)

Key takeaways

  • Grey hydrogen, the most widespread method to produce H2, is also the process with the worst carbon footprint.
  • It is produced by natural gas steam reforming costing 1.5€/kg vs 6€/kg for hydrogen produced using electrolysis.
  • Hydrogen production would need to increase by a factor of 14 to cover 20% of the global energy consumption –not currently possible with grey hydrogen.
  • Energy from hydrogen can be used to make other fuels, directly as propellant or in a fuel cell – each with their own challenges to overcome.
Épisode 6/6
Laurent Catoire, Head of Chemistry and Processes Unit (UCP) at ENSTA Paris (IP Paris)
On July 8th, 2021
3 mins reading time
Laurent Catoire
Laurent Catoire
Head of Chemistry and Processes Unit (UCP) at ENSTA Paris (IP Paris)

Key takeaways

  • Today, most of our energy is obtained by burning fossil fuels, which are cheaper than renewables.
  • Green hydrogen (H2) could replace certain fossil fuels, in particular natural gas, in some combustion devices as fuel for gas turbines and industrial processes.
  • Some hydrogen combustion methods produce 90% less pollution in the form of nitrous oxides (NOx).

Contributors

Cécile Michaut

Cécile Michaut

Science journalist

Cécile Michaut holds a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Paris-XI Orsay. She was a lecturer for two years before branching off into science journalism in 1999. Her collaborations include Le Monde, La Recherche, Pour la Science, Science et vie, Sciences et Avenir, Environnement Magazine... She also teaches science communication and media training for several research organisations and universities. She founded the company Science et partage (www.scienceetpartage.fr), and published the book "Vulgarisation scientifique, mode d'emploi" (EDP Sciences) in 2014.

Johnny Deschamps

Johnny Deschamps

Professor at the Chemistry and Processes Unit (UCP) at ENSTA Paris (IP Paris)

Johnny Deschamps' main research activities concern the production of green hydrogen from biomass, hydrogen storage by adsorption in porous materials such as organic frameworks, energy materials and the containment of fluids and metals in porous materials. He develops original techniques for doping organic frameworks with carbonaceous materials and metals and teaches "the hydrogen industry" in several prestigious institutions in France and China.

Olivier Perrin

Olivier Perrin

Partner in the energy, resources and industry sector at Deloitte

Olivier Perrin is co-developing one of the 4 "Future of Mobility" centres of excellence for Deloitte and works more specifically on strategy and transformation issues related to the energy transition. He has more than 20 years of consulting experience and has worked with many large groups in more than 30 countries.

Alexandre Kuzmanovic

Alexandre Kuzmanovic

Director at Monitor Deloitte in the field of energy, resources and industry, with a focus on the aerospace sector

Alexandre Kuzmanovic is a consultant in strategy and business transformation in various heavy industries (mining, metals, building materials, utilities, energy production, etc.). Prior to consulting, he worked at Saint Gobain in engineering and production management functions.

Ddidier Dalmazzone

Didier Dalmazzone

Professor of Chemistry and Processes at ENSTA Paris (IP Paris)

Didier Dalmazzone is a member of the Management Committee of the Interdisciplinary Centre Energy for Climate of the Institut Polytechnique de Paris. He is in charge of the Energy Production and Management course in the 3rd year of the ENSTA Paris engineering curriculum, and is also in charge of the Master's Degree in Energy at IP Paris. His research activities on processes for the energy transition concern the hydrogen sector, CO2 capture and refrigeration.

Laurent Catoire

Laurent Catoire

Head of Chemistry and Processes Unit (UCP) at ENSTA Paris (IP Paris)

Laurent Catoire is a professor in applied chemical kinetics, in particular in combustion and in general in all reactive systems. After a DGA thesis, he has been working for 30 years on reactive systems that are little studied, poorly known but with important or potentially important applications (hypergolic systems in space propulsion, civil and military energetic materials (explosives, propellants and gas generators), energetic ionic liquids, nanothermites, aluminium combustion, metal combustion, etc).