Hydrogen is a gas (H2) that needs to be produced, today most often by steam methane reformation of natural gas (SMR). The principle: methane (or biomethane) is reacted with water to obtain a mixture containing hydrogen and CO2 , which can be captured and stored to obtain a decarbonised hydrogen.
Another solution is water electrolysis. An electrolyser separates a water molecule into hydrogen and oxygen. The electrolyze solution was till few months ago almost 3x more expensive than the SMR. But due to the high gas prices it can be competitive in few cases. Finally, the third solution is gasification. A mixture of CO and hydrogen is produced from the combustion of coal (significant CO2 emissions) or biomass.
EQUANS would like to focus on low-carbon hydrogen production projects.
For which uses?
- Mobility: in road transport, rail or aviation, hydrogen plays the role of "fuel".
- Industry: by replacing fossil fuels used in processes.
- Energy networks and district heating: compared to other renewable energies, the advantage of hydrogen is that it allows energy supply and demand to be balanced by storing electricity or delivering it (with a fuel cell).
There are now multiple different "colours" of hydrogen, to differentiate its production method and therefore its environmental interest. Grey hydrogen is produced by SMR with natural gas or by burning coal, without capturing CO2. Blue hydrogen is produced in the same way but with CO2 capture. Pink hydrogen is produced by electrolysis using nuclear electricity. Finally, green hydrogen is produced by electrolysis, using renewable energy. It is of course the latter that is enhanced by the public authorities.
Finally, EQUANS offers turnkey facilities for the in-situ production of low-carbon hydrogen for industry and mobility, decarbonised "hydrogen hub" projects for the actors of an industrial sector in the same territory, and hybrid combustion solutions (hydrogen and another fuel), to contribute to the decarbonisation of an industrial site.