Perspective on the hydrogen economy as a pathway to reach net-zero CO2 emissions in Europe†
The envisioned role of hydrogen in the energy transition – or the concept of a hydrogen economy – has varied through the years. In the past hydrogen was mainly considered a clean fuel for cars and/or electricity production; but the current renewed interest stems from the versatility of hydrogen in aiding the transition to CO2 neutrality, where the capability to tackle emissions from distributed applications and complex industrial processes is of paramount importance. However, the hydrogen economy will not materialise without strong political support and robust infrastructure design. Hydrogen deployment needs to address multiple barriers at once, including technology development for hydrogen production and conversion, infrastructure co-creation, policy, market design and business model development. In light of these challenges, we have brought together a group of hydrogen researchers who study the multiple interconnected disciplines to offer a perspective on what is needed to deploy the hydrogen economy as part of the drive towards net-zero-CO2 societies. We do this by analysing (i) hydrogen end-use technologies and applications, (ii) hydrogen production methods, (iii) hydrogen transport and storage networks, (iv) legal and regulatory aspects, and (v) business models. For each of these, we provide key take home messages ranging from the current status to the outlook and needs for further research. Overall, we provide the reader with a thorough understanding of the elements in the hydrogen economy, state of play and gaps to be filled.
- This article is part of the themed collections: Recent Open Access Articles, Energy Frontiers: Hydrogen and Energy and Environmental Science Recent Review Articles