6 Challenges and 3 Trends in Hydrogen Energy Development

At present, the global hydrogen energy industry is in the early stage of development, and its share in end-use energy consumption is still very low. Despite the fact that the combined economic output of countries with a hydrogen energy industry has already accounted for 75% of the world’s total. The hydrogen industry has yet to form a full industry chain and synergy. However, it limited by various constraints. The hydrogen energy industry has not yet formed a whole industry chain and synergy. And has not been able to comprehensively promote the progress of production and life, mainly due to the following reasons:

6 Challenges

① The key materials and equipment components for hydrogen energy are demanding, complex and costly. And the technology gap between different countries and sectors is obvious. Especially for China, some key technologies are still monopolized by foreign countries.

② Hydrogen production by electrolysis of water is the most promising way to realize the large-scale production of green hydrogen. However, its cost is too high, mainly caused by the price of electricity, and in the short term. It still can’t completely replace hydrogen production from fossil fuels with high carbon emissions.

③ Restricted by the distribution of renewable energy resources in China. There is often a large time and space dislocation between the hydrogen production end and the hydrogen use end, and a perfect hydrogen storage and transportation network channel has not yet formed.

Compared with the petrochemical energy industry, hydrogen energy is an emerging energy source. At present, the overall layout of the corresponding infrastructure is lacking. Therefore, at present, it is difficult to form an effective linkage between the upstream and downstream of the whole industrial chain system of hydrogen energy, which is not yet sound.

⑤ The current demand for hydrogen is too single-direction, mainly focusing on hydrogen fuel cells and their transportation carriers. At present, the maturity is low, the scale is not large, and the demand has not fully developed.

⑥ Hydrogen energy technical standards are imperfect, with fewer technical standards involving hydrogen quality. It storage and transportation, hydrogen refueling stations and safety. We urgently need a set of sound international, national or industry standards as a way to regulate the healthy development of the hydrogen energy industry market.

The same as the current construction of the natural gas industry. China is building a hydrogen energy industrial system of hydrogen production, hydrogen storage, hydrogen transportation, hydrogen refueling and hydrogen use. In view of the challenges in technology, economy and layout planning of the hydrogen energy industry, combined with the various links of the industrial chain. There are 3 major trends in the future development of hydrogen energy as follows:

① In the production of hydrogen

The economic advantages of green hydrogen can realize through the synergistic reduction of power cost and equipment cost. Compared with Japan, South Korea and other countries. China is a vast country with vast deserts, Gobi, deserts, grasslands and sea resources. Can provide abundant solar, wind, tidal energy and other renewable energy resources. It has an inherent advantage in the development of green hydrogen. And it can accelerate the realization of the “Hydrogen China” strategy.

② In hydrogen storage and transportation

Long-distance storage and transportation of hydrogen will be dominated by hydrogen blending through natural gas pipelines or new pure hydrogen pipelines. Short and medium distances are to be developed with a combination of various storage and transportation technologies, such as ammonia. And adapted to local conditions. With technological breakthroughs at the hydrogen production end, it will cross-linked through the hydrogen transmission network. The concept of a green “hydrogen economy” will transformed into a reality with the large-scale popularization of hydrogen energy in downstream areas such as industry, transportation and construction.

③ In the application of hydrogen

With the industry focus and technology development, the expectation is high that hydrogen fuel cells will lead to changes in transportation applications. Green hydrogen will gradually replace gray hydrogen in all types of chemical fields that require hydrogen, such as oil refining, ammonia, methanol production, and the steelmaking industry. In many other traditional energy-intensive industries, hydrogen will also replace fossil energy as an energy carrier for energy supply. In the building sector, distributed cooling, heating and power cogeneration systems using green hydrogen energy are also an important way to save energy and reduce emissions. At the same time, more hydrogen energy application scenarios will gradually developed.

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