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Renewable energy

Clean power for the hydrogen economy

Clean energy to meet climate change targets

Renewable energy leverages off the availability of our local resources from regenerated or naturally replaced energy streams to produce electricity, and ideally, with zero-emission sources. Many countries are rapidly scaling up their investment in clean energy to reduce dependence on dirty and expensive fossil fuels. Nations are working closely to slow down climate change with green power and align to COP26 climate change goals to protect communities and natural habits. When hydrogen can be produced using renewable electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen, new market opportunities open up in mobility, energy-intensive industries, domestic situations, and commercial enterprise.

Renewable energy systems

The main sources of renewable energy available to us are:

  • Solar (from the sun).

  • Wind (over land and sea).

  • Hydroelectric (run-of-river, storage dams, tidal, pumped storage).

  • Geothermal (hot springs, geysers, steam vents, mud pots, underwater hydrothermal vents).

  • Biomass (wood, biofuels and biomass waste).

Key sectors for decarbonisation powered by renewables

There are a number of sectors spanning industry and transport where renewable electricity and access to the grid can support energy-intensive processes in the hydrogen value chain with green hydrogen. These industries include:

  • Ammonia

  • Aviation

  • Buildings

  • Cement

  • Ethylene

  • Power

  • Rail

  • Road transport

  • Shipping

  • Steel

  • Synfuel

The use of platinum group metals in electrolysers and fuel cells are critical for decarbonising these sectors. Current pure hydrogen demand is dominated by refining and ammonia production. However, current hydrogen strategies are skewed towards passenger vehicles & refuelling stations. National policies to support hydrogen demand is moving fast.

Electrolysis represents only 2% of total global hydrogen production. Fossil-fuel powered electricity is near twice the CO2 intensity of direct coal power without CCUS. The commercial development of CCUS is a stop-gap measure to make green hydrogen economically viable sooner.

Regions with good renewable resources or nuclear power plants may find electrolysis an attractive option, especially if they currently depend on relatively high-cost natural gas imports. Renewable energy accessibility is the primary driver of electrolysis costs. As solar and wind costs decline, hydrogen can be produced at a low price in regions where resource conditions allow, and power requirements for electrolysers are falling in all renewable energy cases as sources reach maturity.

Discover how SFA can help your sector

Green H2 Consulting

Clean Energy, Electrolysis and Fuel Cells

Green Hydrogen Reports

Clean energy, electrolysis and fuel cells

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SFA (Oxford) provides bespoke, independent intelligence on the strategic metal markets, specifically tailored to your needs. To find out more about what we can offer you, please contact us.

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