With global warming and carbon emissions dominating headlines, countries worldwide are turning to hydrogen-powered technology as a secure, clean, and affordable alternative to fossil fuels. In recent years, hydrogen has emerged as a promising solution to various environmental and energy challenges. Japan, as an early pioneer in this field, has taken significant steps to embrace hydrogen technology, including its role in powering the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic Games. Here are five reasons why hydrogen is gaining momentum as a viable energy source:
1. Zero Emissions on the Roads
The transportation sector, heavily dependent on fossil fuels, contributes to a substantial 20 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. Hydrogen-powered vehicles, such as fuel cell vehicles, offer a sustainable solution by emitting only heat and water as by-products. China, in particular, is making strides in hydrogen-powered transportation, with over 1,500 fuel cell vehicles in operation. Experts believe that hydrogen-powered vehicles have the potential to reshape the future of transportation not only in China but also worldwide.
2. Longer Driving Range
Hydrogen fuel cells allow vehicles to travel longer distances on less energy, thanks to their relatively short refueling time. For example, hydrogen-powered buses in China can cover over 500 kilometers on a full tank, a significant improvement over the 200 kilometers typically achieved by electric buses. In Europe, hydrogen-powered cars can travel up to 800 kilometers or more on a single tank. Toyota’s Mirai, a leading hydrogen-powered car, can complete a 3,500-kilometer journey from Northern to Southern Europe and back on just 40 kilograms of hydrogen.
3. Decarbonizing Industrial Sectors
Industries with historically high emissions, such as steel-making and chemicals production, are adopting hydrogen technology to reduce their environmental impact. The petrochemical and chemicals sector is turning to electrolytic hydrogen as a substitute for fossil fuels, while innovations in steel production, such as hydrogen-based processes, are emerging to produce steel with lower carbon emissions. Initiatives like Hybrit in Sweden aim to develop fossil-free hydrogen-powered steel plants, offering promising prospects for emissions-heavy industries.
4. Easy to Store and Use
Hydrogen’s versatility lies in its ease of storage, transportation, and use. This characteristic makes it suitable for regions with limited space for traditional renewable energy installations. Technological advancements, such as Siemens’ energy storage demonstrator in the United Kingdom, allow for the safe and effective storage and transport of hydrogen fuel. Japanese researchers have even developed hydrogen “capsules” that enable consumers to store hydrogen batteries in their pockets for everyday use.
5. Successful Use in Space Travel
Hydrogen has a long history of successful use in space travel. NASA has utilized hydrogen as a rocket propellant and fuel cell unit for auxiliary power units in space since the 1960s. The famous Apollo moon landing missions in 1967 used massive Saturn V rockets fueled by liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen, considered the most powerful rockets ever built. The innovative applications of hydrogen in space exploration have paved the way for its broader adoption on Earth.
In a world seeking sustainable and environmentally friendly energy solutions, hydrogen technology offers a secure, clean, and affordable alternative to traditional fossil fuels. As more countries and industries recognize its potential, hydrogen is poised to play a pivotal role in the transition to a greener and more sustainable energy future.
Stay tuned to Brandsynario for latest news and updates.