Hydrogen is one of the future fuel oil executives and environmentalists can help both

Credit: Chart: The Conversation / CC-BY-ND Source: European Commission

Tehran, 1943: Joseph Stalin, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, sponsored by the young Petri dish Paflavi, agree on plans for two frontal attacks on Hitler, sketching the eastern and western parts of Europe. It was not a mistake to hold a meeting in Iran with individual consultations with the Shah. Gulf Oil was an important resource for the Allied war effort. Since then, oil has flowed under the surface of political conflict.

Fast-forwarding towards today, political adversaries and energy professionals are once again paving the way for trouble. This time around, we focused on long-term energy shifts as different countries try to delay and eventually stop climate change.

The 2015 Paris Agreement was a groundbreaking diplomatic effort. 196 countries have pledged to prevent average temperatures from rising above 2 C (3.6 F), aiming for less than 1.5 C (2.7 F). To reach that goal, scientists argue that the use of fossil fuels must reach net zero emissions by the middle of the century.

The genius of the Paris Climate Agreement has agreed with all major political parties, especially Russia, China, India, Brazil, and major greenhouse gas emitters, including members of OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

The current challenge is to implement the diverse solutions needed to bend the global warming curve. The Paris Agreement is not a treaty. Each country sets its own goals and decides on its own strategies to achieve them. Each signator has its own political, economic structure, energy resources and exposure to climate change.

President Joe Biden hosts a virtual climate summit with international leaders on Earth Day, April 22, 2021, and engages in rigorous diplomatic efforts with Russia, China and other countries to develop feasible solutions. The commitments of each country are still inadequate.

As an energy economist, I am familiar with the evolving response of each country to climate change, changes in corporate investment, and different visions for the future. Hydrogen is one of the technologies that is attracting attention from groups in all fields.

Various visions for the future of energy

As the world’s population and economy grow, energy demand is expected to grow by as much as 50% over the next 30 years, so it is important to make appropriate long-term investments.

Hydrogen is one of the future fuel oil executives and environmentalists can help both

Energy demand is in megatons of oil equivalent. The OPEC scenario is for 2045. Credits: Table: Conversation / CC-BY-ND Source: John Ballantine using data from IEA, Exxon, BP, OPEC

Energy companies and policy makers have very different visions for their future. Their long-term scenario shows that most people expect fossil fuel demand to be stable and perhaps declining for decades. However, many are also increasing their investment in cleaner technologies.

The International Energy Agency has a history of underestimating demand and clean energy, although countries often seek future scenarios, with the most optimistic scenario being renewable energy global energy demand by 2040. It is predicted to meet about one-third of the energy. It will be in a world with higher carbon taxes and more wind, solar, electric vehicles, carbon recovery and storage. More environmentally friendly technologies may approach maintaining warming below 2 ° C, but they are not perfect.

Meanwhile, Exxon predicts a path that will rely on fossil fuel-based economies for slower transitions to electric vehicles, stable oil and gas demand, and global warming. Exxon is also investing in carbon recovery and storage and hydrogen, but believes that oil and gas will supply half of the world’s energy supply in 2040, with less than one-fifth of renewable energy.

OPEC, whose members are most exposed to climate change and dependent on oil and gas, also sees oil and gas as dominant in the future. Nonetheless, some Gulf countries are investing heavily in alternative technologies such as nuclear, solar, wind and hydrogen, and are trying to move away from oil.

BP proposes a more focused shift to cleaner energy. That “quick scenario”, coupled with the growing hydrogen economy, predicts flat energy demand and more dramatic fluctuations to renewables. The company predicts that its renewable energy will grow from 2.5 watts in 2019 to 50 GW by 2030, reducing oil production by 40%.

Others are also exploring the potential of hydrogen. Just as utilities move from coal to natural gas, hydrogen can facilitate the move to cleaner energy with sufficient investment.

This fuel is getting the attention of the industry, so let’s take a closer look at its potential.

How realistic is hydrogen as a climate solution?

Hydrogen can serve as a basic energy source for fueling cars, buses and planes, warming buildings and balancing wind and solar power in the grid. Germany sees it as a potential alternative to anthracite coke in steelmaking. It also uses processes known to energy companies to provide future markets. It can be liquefied, stored and transported via existing pipelines and LNG carriers, with some changes.

However, so far, hydrogen has not been widely used as a clean energy solution. First, we need policies to support the transition, in addition to upfront investments in carbon capture capacity, pipeline changes, industrial boilers for heat rather than gas, fuel cells for transportation, and so on.

Second, in order for hydrogen to be “green,” the grid emissions must be zero.

Most of today’s hydrogen is made from natural gas and is known as “gray hydrogen.” It is produced by decomposing hydrogen from carbon atoms into methane using high-temperature steam.Gray hydrogen results in the same amount of climate warming CO unless isolated carbon dioxide is stored or used2 As natural gas.

“Blue hydrogen” uses the same process, but uses only about 10% of CO because it captures and stores carbon dioxide.2 It is released into the atmosphere. “Green hydrogen” is manufactured using renewable energy and electrolysis, but it costs twice as much as blue and depends on the cost of electricity and available water.

Many utilities and energy companies, including Shell, BP and Saudi Aramco, are actively seeking a transition to a mixed economy, focusing on blue hydrogen as an interim step. Europe has set ambitious net-zero energy targets that incorporate a mixture of blue and green hydrogen in combination with wind, solar, nuclear and integrated energy grids due to its reliance on imported natural gas and high electricity costs. ..

China, the world’s largest energy user and greenhouse gas emitter, is instead investing heavily in natural gas, which accounts for about half of coal’s carbon dioxide emissions. Russia, the second largest producer of natural gas after the United States, is expanding gas production and exports to Asia. Some of that gas can eventually turn into blue hydrogen.

Increasing blue and green hydrogen as a clean energy solution requires significant investment and long-term changes to the energy infrastructure. In my view, it’s not a silver bullet, but it may be an important step.

Finding a solution in messy politics

Of course, investing in technology can’t separate the world’s messy politics. People and leaders around the world still have different views on the urgency of the climate crisis and the need for more environmentally friendly energy investment.

Perhaps the gathered leaders will find some commonalities as the sea rises and temperatures break records. The key to achieving Paris’ goals is for countries to invest now in a cleaner future.

British energy giant pivots towards cleaner fuel

Provided by conversation

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