Will hydrogen be the fuel that powers our cars and provides energy for our factories and our cities of the future? The answer is yes, says a study recently completed by McKinsey consultants for the Hydrogen Council*, according to which hydrogen could constitute around one fifth of energy consumed worldwide in 2050.
In 2050, annual demand for hydrogen could increase tenfold, according to McKinsey consultants. For ENGIE, the development of its green mobility and energy storage operations will make a major contribution to greening the energy mix over the next 30 years.
Hydrogen, spearheading the energy revolution
One year after the Paris Climate Agreement took effect, the Hydrogen Council – of which ENGIE is a founding member – has revealed the decisive role that hydrogen can play in the emergence of a more sustainable world.
According to a study entitled Hydrogen, Scaling Up*, produced by McKinsey consultants for the Hydrogen Council, hydrogen could reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 6 gigatonnes, compared to current levels. This would mean a contribution of 20% to maintaining global warming at below 2° C compared to the pre-industrial era. This ambition comes at a cost of between $20 billion and $25 billion per year, or a total of around $280 billion by 2030. By way of comparison, $1.7 trillion is already being invested annually in the energy sector, which included $650 billion in the oil and gas sector and €300 billion in the production of renewable electricity.
But the “rise of hydrogen” also constitutes an economic opportunity, because it will generate revenues of $2.5 trillion and more than 30 million jobs by 2050.
Backed up by ecological and economic arguments, hydrogen seems to offer a genuine future solution. Or rather solutions, in the plural, because there are multiple field of application!
ENGIE, producer of renewable hydrogen
ENGIE is taking action to accelerate the development of this highly promising sector.
In industry, the EffiH2 offer developed by ENGIE Cofely enables the production of “green” hydrogen (resulting from renewable energies) produced by the electrolysis of water and manufactured directly on-site (instead of being transported). The benefits are reduced transportation costs and a significantly lower environmental footprint.
In the field of transport, the first première hydrogen-powered bus line in France, run by a consortium consisting of ENGIE subsidiary GNVERT and Van Hool, will come into operation in the city of Pau in September 2019. The principle is simple: green hydrogen is transformed into electricity by fuel cells, thereby becoming a “zero emission” fuel because it only emits water vapor. It also allows greater range (up to 500 kilometers) compared to battery-powered electric vehicles, and reduces charging time to just a few minutes. According to the Hydrogen Council, 10 to 15 million cars and 500,000 trucks could be hydrogen-fueled by 2030.
One of the great strengths of hydrogen is its storage capacity. If renewable energy is produced in too large quantities, it can be transformed into hydrogen and be stored and reused at any time, in the form of gas or electricity. The “power-to-gas” process means that hydrogen introduces genuine flexibility into the energy system. In France, ENGIE is one of the pioneers in this area, through two large-scale experimental projects: the Jupiter 1000 demonstrator and the GRHYD project in Dunkirk.
ENGIE is in no doubt as to the major role that hydrogen is going to play in the energy transition, and recently created a new entity totally dedicated to renewable hydrogen.
*Source: Hydrogen, Scaling Up, Hydrogen Council, November 2017.