There’s a lot of excitement at the moment about the possibility of the elemental gas hydrogen being used as a fuel. And it’s easy to see why. Hydrogen is potentially one of the best fuels around.
Kilogram for kilogram, hydrogen is the king of energy content with a whopping 2.6 times more energy content than the second-most energy rich fuel, methane.
There’s also no shortage of hydrogen.
About 50 million tonnes of hydrogen is produced each year, which is equivalent to about 150 million tonnes of ship’s
fuel, reports class society DNV GL. Hydrogen is produced through industrial processes, so production can in theory be ramped up as necessary.
It’s also the cleanest combusting fuel any industrial civilization could hope to burn.
Although hydrogen combustion may produce a little nitrous oxide (because there is nitrogen in air) there is no production of sulphur oxides or particulate matter. The other main product of hydrogen combustion is pure water.
Carbon dioxide is not emitted from hydrogen combustion (because there’s no carbon dioxide in hydrogen), which makes it a great candidate fuel to meet the demands of the International Maritime Organization for decarbonising the international shipping industry.
Green hydrogen refers to hydrogen produced by using electricity to split water into its two component gases, hydrogen and oxygen. If the electricity used to split water is sourced from renewable, non-polluting sources, such as solar or wind power, then the resulting hydrogen is basically pollutant free.
- Find out more about hydrogen as a potential marine fuel in the full version of our article “Hydrogen fuel – clean, plentiful and not ready“, published in the Shipping Australia magazine
- ENEOS Corp begins study into Aus-Japan hydrogen supply chain
- NQBP to study green hydrogen export plant at Hay Point