Our Senior Programme Manager spoke with Aliaksei Patonia, a Visiting Research Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, following the recent publication of his co-authored report with Dr. Rahmat Poudineh ‘Cost-competitive green hydrogen: how to lower the cost of electrolysers’.
Aliaksei outlined the difference between grey, blue and green hydrogen, and the general benefit of using hydrogen as a fuel source, due to it emitting water and not carbon when burned. But while it is true that hydrogen is an effective fuel source, Aliaksei explained how we should not solely look at hydrogen as a fuel source, pointing the many other ways that hydrogen can be utilised other than as fuel, and how this has led to it being dubbed the ‘swiss-knife of decarbonisation’.
While global energy prices had already reached unprecedented levels in Europe by the beginning of February, the current conflict in Ukraine has brought the topic of the global energy transition to the forefront of global discourse, with many saying the conflict will ‘turbo-charge’ development in this area.
Right now, the higher financial cost of green hydrogen is holding it back from being a viable option. As such, Aliaksei and his colleagues at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies are working on creating the ‘business case for hydrogen’, looking at how a hydrogen economy could be created in the future. If green hydrogen is to be a viable option, we cannot just focus on the production side of it – it is essential that we also focus on both the consumption and infrastructure, because if there is no demand for it, then what is the purpose of producing it and if there is the demand for its production, we need to be able to effectively store it.
Aliaksei explained that while money solves many problems, it is not the only essential ingredient needed to scale up green hydrogen technology. In addition to direct financial support of and fiscal incentives for green hydrogen producers and manufacturers of electrolysers, we need the creativity and enthusiasm of experts and leaders in this space to develop ways to lower the cost of electrolytes and renewable energy, so that green hydrogen can take a ‘centre stage’ role in the global energy transition.