Myth Busters

Busting the recurring clichés that surround the value of hydrogen.

Hydrogen energy is not all that energy efficient

While hydrogen is the most abundant element in the Universe, here on Earth, it typically needs to be extracted from
water or organic compounds. This is not particularly different from the diesel and gasoline used in combustion
engines which are produced from refining and cleaning crude oil (a process which actually heavily involves the use of
hydrogen). While hydrogen is currently extracted from natural gas and is already a multi-billion dollar global industry
used in a wide range of industrial applications, it is also produced via renewable sources such as solar, wind or biogas without the need to use fossil fuels.

Hydrogen gas is dangerous to store and use

Arguably one of the most common concerns raised when discussing the use of hydrogen is that, as a flammable gas, it can be easily ignited and as such far too hazardous to be stored either in refuelling stations or within a pressure tank. Yet, hydrogen is no more dangerous than other flammable fuels or the batteries used in electric cars. In fact, vehicles with pressure gas storage tanks are nothing new. With millions of on-the-road miles driven over the last few years, an existing global multi-billion industry transporting and making hydrogen for many decades, the automotive industry seems to be more than sufficiently convinced that hydrogen can be stored safely, with Toyota for example having received approval from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) to self-inspect and
manufacture hydrogen tanks for FCEVs.

Hydrogen is really too expensive

The price of green hydrogen has fallen in recent years and it is expected that the reduction will be even higher over the next decade, making it truly competitive against other energy solutions. António Vidigal from EDP Innovation reinforces that the cost of H2 is not so much in the technology or in the infrastructures: “The main component of the cost of green hydrogen is the renewable energy from which it is produced via electrolysis, which corresponds to 70% of the total.” It is necessary to have good renewable energy resources, and to optimize the solar and wind mix.

Hydrogen is not completely ecological

In fact, we can take on hydrogen with different colors, and you can read more here. In the production of gray hydrogen, which still dominates the international landscape, gases are released into the atmosphere. And in the case of blue hydrogen produced by the same steam reforming technique, these pollutant emissions are captured for subsequent storage, but there is a small percentage that escapes to the atmosphere in the process.

Green hydrogen however is produced 100% by renewables as shown here.

Hydrogen is too explosive!

You may think of the hydrogen bomb or atomic weapons of mass destruction when you hear hydrogen, but the process for making such bombs is the opposite to electrolysis for example which is about splitting the water molecule. Even the Hinderburg accident in 1937, often remembered for the fact that the zeppelin floated due to hydrogen, is unrelated to the gas itself.
The most accepted explanation indicates that it was the flammable components on the paint that covered the zeppelin – not hydrogen, which dissipated in seconds – that caused the fire in the aircraft structure.