Why Hydrogen…and why now?
Hydrogen is considered a key component of decarbonizing the world’s energy systems by replacing hydrocarbon fuel sources such as gasoline, diesel, and natural gas. While hydrogen has been produced and used in the petrochemical and oil industries for decades, its widespread use as an energy carrier has been limited.
However, global pressure to accelerate the transition to hydrogen is driving the development of the entire hydrogen supply chain from new hydrogen production methods, to hydrogen transportation and end use.
The most common, and lowest cost method for producing hydrogen is through the Steam Methane Reforming (SMR). This process uses natural gas as the feedstock and produces hydrogen and carbon dioxide. Capturing and storing the carbon dioxide from this process is required to minimize the greenhouse gas emissions.
Transporting hydrogen from where it is produced to end users is also a challenge. Trials are underway to blend hydrogen into existing natural gas pipeline networks for delivery to residential and commercial customers. Research work is underway to determine if hydrogen can be transported long distances in existing natural gas transmission pipelines.