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Green Hydrogen Could Be the Key to Energy Transition

By Adalberto Garcia - AES
President and CEO Mexico


By Adalberto García | President and CEO - Tue, 01/24/2023 - 09:00

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The future of energy is one of the most important topics of our time. Climate change is no longer a far-distant problem. We are now suffering consequences and it is essential to attend and solve this tremendous problem together. It is very relevant that leaders from all over the world recently gathered in Egypt at the COP27 to exchange ideas, technologies, and advances to solve and prevent oncoming disasters that are consequences of global warming.

It is a fact that humans need energy for practically everything, from day-to-day habits in a household to big industries around the world. This necessity will not be reduced anytime soon and today’s production of energy relies too much on fossil fuels. The biggest challenge is to prevent climate disaster, which makes it essential to transition to renewable and cleaner solutions in the production of energy. 

Green hydrogen could be the technology that increases the use of renewable sources and makes us stop relying so much on oil and coal. One of the main reasons for the  huge expectations around this source is that it produces energy without emitting toxins to the atmosphere. It can be stored and distributed as well, which is one of the main problems with renewable energy like solar and wind today due to intermittency and dependence on climate conditions.

Green hydrogen technology works through a process called electrolysis, which is clean, efficient, and free of toxic emissions. It is created by splitting water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen with an electrolyzer that is powered by renewable energy, such as wind or solar. Hydrogen is one of the vastest elements in nature and has the capacity to create more energy than other resources, such as gasoline, and it only emits nontoxic vaporized water.

Green hydrogen is a versatile and reliable source of energy that has the potential to revolutionize the industry through many of its benefits. Firstly, it could help reduce global carbon emissions by replacing the use of fossil fuels. This would have a significant impact on climate change and would assist the goals of the Paris Agreement. Secondly, it could create new jobs in the energy industry, as it requires significant investment in research, development, and infrastructure. Finally, it is hugely versatile because it can be transformed into electricity or synthetic gas that can be used in all types of industries. It is definitely a game-changer for today’s world. 

What do we need to start using it in Mexico? There are several steps we could take, such as:

  • Incentives: Green hydrogen technology is still expensive to use, and we have other energy sources at a much lower cost today. If companies have incentives that reduce this cost, the transition to the environmentally friendly source could be much faster.

  • Investment: The country needs major investments to develop the infrastructure needed to produce it. In comparison, the European Union is investing $430 billion euros by 2030 to achieve the goals of its Green Deal.

  • Government regulations: Public companies need to work hand in hand with the private sector to accelerate the use of this technology, making it less expensive in less time by creating new policies that could make the transition more cost-effective for public and private companies.

If we start taking the steps mentioned above, this technology can be easily integrated into Mexico’s renewable generation of energy. Wind and solar demand will no longer depend on climate conditions because it can be stored to supply it anytime, even when atmospheric conditions are not ideal. The possibility for storage and distribution of green hydrogen will make it easier for industries to migrate to these new energy sources. 

National and international companies have a huge role to play in accelerating the future of energy by producing green hydrogen on a large scale and cost-effectively. Here are some ways they can contribute to this transition: 

1. Invest in green hydrogen technology: It will help reduce the cost of production and make it more accessible and affordable for consumers. This could involve the research and development of technologies, investing in existing startups, or simply purchasing existing technology from existing vendors. 

2. Support new infrastructure: Companies can support the development of infrastructure by investing in the facilities required to produce green hydrogen, which can include renewable energy sources, storage systems, and transportation networks. 

3. Create campaigns of public awareness: Involve the public through seminars, educational materials and marketing actions that will let them know the benefits of this energy source  for the environment so that   it becomes a priority for all.

In a  promising development that will accelerate the advances of this technology, Air Products and The AES Corporation have announced plans to invest approximately US$4 billion to build, own and operate a green hydrogen production facility in Wilbarger County, Texas, with plans to begin commercial operations in 2027. This mega-scale renewable power to hydrogen project includes approximately 1.4GW of wind and solar power generation, along with electrolyzer capacity capable of producing over 200 metric tons per day (MT/D) of green hydrogen, making it the largest green hydrogen facility in the US. 

As the world works to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and transition to renewable sources, many experts consider green hydrogen the key to a sustainable, carbon-free future. It will help to lower emissions, create jobs, and reduce energy costs for consumers in the long run. This could lead to a cleaner and more sustainable energy system that is better for both the environment and the economy.

The future of energy is here. Working together to accelerate this incredible technology will help make this world a better place for all, together.

Photo by:   Adalberto García

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