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Solar plus Hydrogen can become a big growth area over the Coming Years

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Solar Plus Hydrogen

While the power industry has seen a lot of greening in the past few years with solar and wind energy accounting for most of the capacity additions in most countries, the transport and the heating sector still have a long way to go. But the plummeting cost of solar energy is making it possible to develop new use cases. While there are tons of solar applications such as solar pumps, mini-grids, backpacks, etc. a new growth area is “hydrogen”.

Europe has made hydrogen a key piece of its green stimulus plan to deal with the coronavirus epidemic. Hydrogen has a huge amount of potential to act as a storage medium which could help in the integration of intermittent renewable energy sources such as solar and wind energy. Hydrogen is already used extensively in industries for making ammonia but the hydrogen is derived from fossil fuel sources. But with solar energy costs falling as low as 2 cents/kWh in some geographies, it is feasible now to generate hydrogen using solar energy. Hydrogen is generated by the electrolysis of water which can separate water into oxygen and hydrogen. The hydrogen gas can then be used for both heating and transportation purposes. The existing gas infrastructure in the form of storage and pipelines can be used by hydrogen. There are already pilot projects which have taken place to use hydrogen as seasonal storage while Korea and Japan have big plans to use hydrogen gas in transport using fuel cell vehicles.

To take advantage of the European green project plans, Spanish utility giant Iberdrola plans to build large integrated solar plus hydrogen plant in Europe. This plant will develop a 100 MW solar plant whose energy will be used to generate hydrogen gas through the electrolysis of water. The gas will be used for the production of ammonia in Fertiberia’s fertilizer plant. This plant will require an investment of USD 174 million. While the current production cost of hydrogen gas using this method is expensive at USD 6/kg, it is expected that as the technology matures and scales up the cost will fall further.

PG

Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to greensneha@yahoo.in

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