5 Hydrogen Energy Advantages Explained

Hydrogen energy advantages are; emission reduction, relatively-high efficiency, multiple potential sources, operational flexibility, and versatile usage.

This article discusses hydrogen energy advantages, as follows;





1). Emission Reduction (as one of the Hydrogen Energy Advantages)

At the point of use, hydrogen energy is environment friendly.

The term 'point of use' is stated above to indicate that in some cases, processes involving hydrogen energy prior to the point of use, may not be environment friendly.

This is especially so where the hydrogen fuel is derived from biomass or water through processes that are powered by unclean, unsustainable or non-renewable energy resources like fossil fuels.

The above explanation is what differentiates green hydrogen energy from hydrogen energy; where the former refers to hydrogen energy whose entire context (including sources, production process, and utilization) is environment friendly.

Green hydrogen reduces carbon emissions, so that its usage can be seen as a measure for effective decarbonization of the energy sector.

In addition to the potential of hydrogen to reduce CO2, it is capable of reducing all forms of greenhouse emissions. This is because hydrogen fuel is emission-free (with regards to all emissions that can reduce air quality) at the point of usage.

Provided its sources and production are emission-free, hydrogen energy can reduce the risk of air pollution and protect the ecosystem from unfavorable environmental impacts of energy consumption and electricity generation.

As part of efforts to achieve energy sustainability, hydrogen energy can be used in power plants to generate electricity [1]. However, large-scale usage and absolute sustainability can only be made possible through further development of hydrogen energy technologies.





2). Relatively-high Efficiency

The energy efficiency of hydrogen fuel is relatively high, due to the pathways utilized in its production, and its performance when used as an energy source.

Hydrogen is an efficient energy source, and one of the most efficient fuels, because it produces water is the main byproduct of its breakdown during consumption, and has fair performance in terms of its energy density, which is claimed in some studies to be up to three times that of fossil fuel [4].

The efficiency of hydrogen energy is about 60% on average, mostly ranging between 50% and 70%.

Hydrogen energy efficiency impacts various technologies that harness power from hydrogen, such as hydrogen fuel cells.

While hydrogen fuel cells are not 100% efficient, they have average efficiency of about 60%, and could sometimes be up to 80% efficient in practical application.





3). Multiple Potential Sources (as one of the Hydrogen Energy Advantages)

Hydrogen is not an unlimited resource, but is highly abundant on Earth as well as in other parts of the universe.

As a secondary source of energy, hydrogen fuel can be produced from any of various primary sources that include water, biomass, and fossil fuel [2].

There are also various methods by which hydrogen fuel can be produced.

Production of hydrogen in bulk is often achieved through steam reforming of hydrocarbons like methane, which could be performed in the presence of a catalyst [3]. Alternatively, it is possible to produce hydrogen fuel electrolytically using clean and renewable energy resources like solar and wind to power the production process.

The presence of multiple sources that can be accessed domestically implies that local production of hydrogen energy is possible.

However, the selection of sources and production methods is to be done with consideration of the environmental and socioeconomic implications of each option.





4). Operational Flexibility

Although hydrogen energy storage is not very flexible, other aspects of hydrogen energy handling provide a fair degree of flexibility.

This is because the use of hydrogen energy comes with multiple options of primary sources, production mechanisms, and modes of consumption.

The flexibility of hydrogen energy makes it a promising choice in the energy transition scheme.

Hydrogen Energy Advantages: Multiple Production Mechanisms indicate Operational Flexibility (Credit: Alexpreeves 2021 .CC BY-SA 4.0.)
Hydrogen Energy Advantages: Multiple Production Mechanisms indicate Operational Flexibility (Credit: Alexpreeves 2021 .CC BY-SA 4.0.)






5). Versatile Usage (as one of the Hydrogen Energy Advantages)

Hydrogen is a versatile fuel or energy carrier because of the possibility of producing and utilizing it for various purposes, with various technologies, and under diverse conditions.

Hydrogen energy can be used for power generation, heating, as well as in electric cars and hybrid vehicles.

Aside its practical applications, hydrogen energy plays multiple socioeconomic roles in sustainable development, circular economy, green economy, environmental and human health protection, among others.

Hydrogen Energy Advantages: Versatile Usage (Credit: Sachi Gahan 2007 .CC BY-SA 2.0.)
Hydrogen Energy Advantages: Versatile Usage (Credit: Sachi Gahan 2007 .CC BY-SA 2.0.)






Hydrogen energy advantages are;

1. Emission Reduction

2. Relatively-high Efficiency

3. Multiple Potential Sources

4. Operational Flexibility

5. Versatile Usage






1). Pambudi, N.; Itaoka, K.; Kurosawa, A.; Yamakawa, N. (2017). "Impact of Hydrogen fuel for CO 2 Emission Reduction in Power Generation Sector in Japan." Energy Procedia 105:3075-3082. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.egypro.2017.03.642. (Accessed 8 January 2023).

2). Qazi, U. Y. (2022). "Future of Hydrogen as an Alternative Fuel for Next-Generation Industrial Applications; Challenges and Expected Opportunities." Energies 15(13):4741. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3390/en15134741. (Accessed 8 January 2023).

3). Sulaiman, A.; Hassan, M.; Djama, M.; Khaleel, A. (2016). "Hydrogen Production by Steam Reforming of Commercially Available LPG in UAE." Chemical Engineering Communications 204(2). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/00986445.2016.1245186. (Accessed 8 January 2023).

4). Tashie-Lewis, B. C.; Nnabuife, S. (2021). "Hydrogen Production, Distribution, Storage and Power Conversion in a Hydrogen Economy - A Technology Review." Chemical Engineering Journal Advances, Volume 8, 15 November 2021, 100172. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ceja.2021.100172. (Accessed 8 January 2023).

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