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Climate protection & energy transition: Hydrogen as an energy source: The time for clean gas has come | message


The alternative to fossil fuels

The federal government has agreed on a “National Hydrogen Strategy” and is giving us the task of establishing new energy sources such as hydrogen as an efficient alternative to coal, oil and gas. Because with hydrogen you can in principle do everything for which we have previously mainly used oil, coal and natural gas and that without releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere when it is converted back into energy. For example, hydrogen can be used to produce a synthetic fuel for our cars, generate electricity in fuel cells or even heat our living room. But it can also be used in the chemical industry and, for example, manufacture plastics without having to use crude oil in production. The aim is for renewable energy sources such as hydrogen to take over the tasks of fossil fuels in the long term and also to significantly reduce the impact on the earth’s climate.

There is hydrogen in every organism

The availability of hydrogen seems limitless, because the chemical element makes up about 75 percent of the mass of the entire universe. It is the lightest of all chemical elements and can be found in all living organisms. However, hydrogen never occurs alone and is always part of a larger organic compound, which creates the challenge of first dissolving it through energy-intensive chemical processes in order to make it usable as an energy carrier at all. There are several processes that are used to obtain the final product. When it comes to the energy transition and climate protection, the so-called “green hydrogen” is of particular interest because, in contrast to the other methods for producing hydrogen, it is produced in a CO2-neutral manner.

Green hydrogen

The end product of one of these processes is called “green hydrogen” and is the result of electrolysis that is carried out exclusively with renewable energies. Since it works without any direct emissions of carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases, it is called green hydrogen. This process is particularly interesting with regard to the energy transition and the desire for greener energy sources, since only CO2-neutral hydrogen can contribute to climate protection in the long term. But there is a crucial problem that initially prevents successful implementation, because the production of green hydrogen requires enormous amounts of green electricity. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), 20 to 40 percent of the energy is lost in the state-of-the-art electrolysis process. Further energy losses are lost during processing, compression and liquefaction for transport. A considerable part of the green primary energy is already lost when hydrogen is used as an energy carrier.

Isabell Tonnius / editors

Image Sources: Anusorn Nakdee /

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