Hydrogen

A key to climate neutrality

Hydrogen is an energy source and a basic material for the future. Produced with the help of renewable energy sources, this small molecule can play a key role for a climate-neutral future.

Hydrogen (H) is the smallest and lightest of all chemical elements. As the most common chemical element in the universe and is found on Earth in all living organisms. It is a component of chemical compounds, for example water, ammonia and hydrocarbons. In its pure form, i.e. as molecular hydrogen (H2), it is composed of two H atoms. In this form, hydrogen has the potential to play a key role in a future climate-neutral economy. This is because H2 has a high energy density and can be used both energetically and materially. When hydrogen is burned, no CO2 emissions are produced, only water vapour. Almost 25 per cent of the current CO2 emissions in North Rhine-Westphalia could be prevented by hydrogen alone, according to the Hydrogen Roadmap NRW.

 

Bringing hydrogen into application

The main challenge is to produce green hydrogen, i.e. hydrogen produced with the help of renewable energy sources, economically in sufficient quantities. This is because chemically-unbound, pure hydrogen is basically non-existent in nature. Likewise, appropriate infrastructure is needed to be able to use hydrogen on an industrial scale. North Rhine-Westphalia has very favourable starting conditions to develop a hydrogen economy. It already has infrastructure that is unique in Europe. This includes, for example, large hydrogen production plants, the first hydrogen pipelines and a diverse research landscape.

 

Diverse uses of H2 and high demand

Hydrogen is crucial for climate-neutral industrial production processes, e.g. in the chemical and steel industries. But it can also replace fossil fuels in the mobility sector, especially in heavy freight transport. As green hydrogen, it can store surplus electricity from renewable energy sources and can be easily transported, thus contributing significantly to sector coupling. Very high demand can therefore be expected in the future. The Hydrogen Roadmap of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia forecasts an annual increase in demand from around 16.5 terawatt-hours today to 104 terawatt-hours for NRW alone. There is also likely to be considerable additional demand from the chemical industry, which uses H2 as a basic material.

Your contact

Dr Stefan Herrig

Project Manager Industry and Production

Phone: +49 209 408 599-10

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Akram El-Bahay

Project Manager Energy Sector

Phone: +49 211 8220 864-37

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Tania Begemann

Project Manager Industry and Production

Phone: +49 209 408 599-11

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