Hydrogen is a versatile energy carrier that will serve the transition to a zero-carbon economy in many industries. It is already widely used in the chemical and refining industries. The first implementations can also be found in the metallurgical, energy, glass and cement industries.
The most mature and widespread applications of hydrogen can be found in the field of transportation - from forklifts, cars, buses and trains, ships to airplanes and space rockets. The development of this technology will be supported by EU funds, which has focused on hydrogen in its energy transition strategy.
About 90 percent of hydrogen is produced and used in the fertilizer and refining industries. Hydrogen is also produced as a by-product in the chemical industry. The future lies in producing hydrogen from renewable sources - primarily by electrolysis, but also by biomass gasification
Only 15 percent of global hydrogen production is used off-site and transported as compressed gas or cryogenic liquid. This implies investment in infrastructure - from storage, pipeline transmission to liquefaction or transport as compressed gas.
Hydrogen valleys are regional ecosystems. The development will be based on the local production of hydrogen, which is transported over short distances. The basis is local demand based on the production of energy from renewable sources. This changing perspective will include education, research and development, implementation and industrial applications.
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Climate changes, which can be seen with the naked eye in the form of droughts or floods, mean that agriculture needs a revolution. The current situation, i.e. the war in Ukraine, also contributes to introducing changes. Farmers obliged by the European Union are looking for ways to achieve sustainable agriculture. Hydrogen technologies have proven to be helpful.
Agriculture, in particular livestock farming, makes a major contribution to this. During the Central European Hydrogen Technology Forum, experts from Podlasie region discussed the growing role of hydrogen technology in agriculture. Among other things, they wondered how the decarbonisation of Polish agriculture can be achieved with the help of renewable energy sources and whether this is possible at all.
- As far as carbon dioxide emissions are concerned, they are not yet so high and can be reduced by simple and acceptable means, e.g. the new CAP perspective and eco-schemes, there is a way to encourage farmers - also financially - to use low-emission technologies, especially in agrotechnics and cultivation - explained Wojciech Mojkowski, Director of Podlasie Agricultural Advisory Centre in Szepietowo. - I think that we are a bit too schematic in our approach to animals. Cattle emit differently in a meadow and in dairy processing plants. This is multiplied by different coefficients. Nevertheless, the problem will exist. In Wielkopolska it is easier to take joint initiatives. On the national scale it may be a problem - he added.
As we know, Poland is one of the largest food producers in Europe, but it does not fully use its energy potential. Agricultural biogas plants seem to be a good solution here, but we have few of them compared to other countries. We do not have biomethane plants at all. Moreover, not all farmers are convinced of such innovative projects.
A big problem is to change the mentality of people living in the countryside. They need to understand that they have to adapt to the changes that are taking place around the world. Failure to adapt will be disadvantageous for them and their farms
said Wiesław Kamieński, an expert from the Polish Agricultural Hydrogen Valleys (Podlasie Foundation for Regional Development)
German scientists have shown that European fertiliser manufacturers can contribute to a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions if they use new hydrogen technologies for this purpose. It concerns the production of ammonia. Production can be adjusted to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by almost 19% by 2030 compared to current levels. The Frankfurt-based Society for Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology (Dechema) has carried out a study on behalf of the European umbrella association Fertilizers Europe that proves this.
Hydrogen is needed to produce ammonia, but so far it has been obtained conventionally, i.e. by processing fossil raw materials such as coal.
This results in very high carbon dioxide emissions, which have a negative impact on the environment. Researchers analysing this phenomenon have shown that if, during the production of hydrogen, carbon dioxide were captured and stored by means of so-called 'carbon capture and storage' (CCS), emissions would fall significantly.
In addition, it turns out that such 'blue hydrogen' represents a considerable saving. On an annual basis, it can amount to up to 3,000 kilotonnes of carbon dioxide emissions less. An even greater reduction in emissions is possible by partially replacing such hydrogen with green or yellow hydrogen produced on site. The former is obtained by electrolysis of water using green electricity, and if ordinary electricity is used, yellow hydrogen is obtained.
Turquoise hydrogen was also considered, which in turn is produced by methane pyrolysis. The engineers of the German Dechema assumed that by 2030 the production of ammonia by conventional methods and using "blue hydrogen" would be about the same. On the other hand, the use of yellow and green hydrogen produced on site, as well as green and turquoise pipeline hydrogen, is likely to result in significantly higher production costs.