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Facts & Figures
10 key facts to take with you anywhere about the value of hydrogen.
In 2022, demand for hydrogen is estimated at between 8.4 and 8.7mt.
Demand for hydrogen has grown more than threefold since 1975.
NASA fuels its spaceships with hydrogen and the resulting water is so pure that the astronauts drink it.
More than half of the total EU, EFTA, and UK hydrogen consumption takes place in just four countries: Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, and Spain.
To meet REPowerEU goals, investments between €86-126 billion will be needed.
Decarbonisation with hydrogen will require $15 trillion between 2022 and 2050.
Portugal produces the most affordable renewable hydrogen in the EU at €3.50/kg.
Despite increasing capacity for clean hydrogen in Europe, 99.3% of hydrogen was produced by conventional, polluting methods.
The European Hydrogen Backbone proposes 39,700 km of hydrogen pipelines by 2040.
Global hydrogen demand is forecast to more than double by 2030.
Busting 5 Myths
No. Hydrogen is a gas: it is the most abundant element in the universe, and here on Earth it typically needs to be extracted from water or organic compounds. We use renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power to extract hydrogen more sustainably with water vapor as a by-product and zero emissions. ‘Today, the production of ‘grey’ hydrogen (from natural gas) still dominates the international landscape, but ‘green’ hydrogen from renewables is taking off. Learn more about the different colours of hydrogen here.
Sources: American Public Power Association
Colors of Hydrogen
Colors of Hydrogen
Green hydrogen is mainly produced by splitting water – also know as water electrolysis – using electricity generated from renewable energy sources.
There are no CO2 emissions associated with this type of hydrogen production nor with its usage. When used in a fuel cell, the only by-product of its use is the pure water that was originally used in its production.
Although ‘green’ hydrogen often refers to hydrogen produced using electricity generated from renewable energy sources, it can also refer to hydrogen produced via different methods using other renewable sources such as biogas, biomethane, or bio-waste. These methods are less common than water electrolysis but also result in either very low or zero emissions.
Turquoise hydrogen is extracted by using thermal splitting of methane via methane pyrolysis. This process is a relatively new method of hydrogen production and is still at the experimental stage.
This form of production results in the removal of solid carbon, rather than CO2 emissions. This solid carbon can be used in the production of car tires, plastics and batteries, and is considered a critical raw material.
The process uses natural gas as a feedstock, and if the energy for splitting the methane comes from renewable sources, the process is close to carbon neutral.
Source: Fossil fuels
Grey hydrogen is currently the most common method of hydrogen production. It is produced from fossil fuel and commonly uses the steam methane reforming (SMR) method. During this process, CO2 is produced and released to the atmosphere.
While not as environmentally damaging as black or brown hydrogen, this process produces far more emissions than green hydrogen.
White hydrogen refers to naturally occurring hydrogen in its most natural state. It is generated by a natural process inside the Earth’s crust, with projects already being set up to produce white hydrogen in industrial quantities.
Its extraction process is similar to natural gas, requiring drilling deep underground to tap into naturally occurring hydrogen wells. It is considered by some to be a cheaper alternative to green hydrogen.
Pink / Red / Purple
Pink, red, and purple hydrogen are all generated by splitting water using electricity generated from nuclear power plants.
Pink hydrogen is generated through the electrolysis of water, decomposing water into oxygen and hydrogen.
Alternatively, red hydrogen is produced through the high-temperature catalytic splitting of water, with the chemicals used in the process reused in a closed-loop production cycle.
Finally, purple hydrogen is made though using nuclear power and heat through combined chemo-thermal electrolysis splitting of water.
Source: Natural gas
Blue hydrogen is derived from natural gas, however, most of the CO2 emitted during the process is captured and stored underground (carbon sequestration) or is extracted as a solid and is able to be reused.
When considering the CO2 emissions of ‘blue’ hydrogen, it is important to acknowledge the potential methane leakage upstream of the hydrogen production plant.
With this in mind, the term ‘blue hydrogen’ can be considered too broad. Instead, when referring to hydrogen produced from natural gas, it is more accurate to refer to it using the actual carbon footprint associated to its production.
Black / Brown
Black and brown hydrogen is produced from coal, with the colours referring to the type of bituminous (black) and lignite (brown) coal used in the production process.
Hydrogen is produced through the gasification of coal. This is an extremely polluting process, with CO2 and carbon monoxide produced as by-products and released into the atmosphere.