Green hydrogen: the new renewable energy crop

Green hydrogen: the new renewable energy crop


Andrew Cunningham

Managing Director

Andrew Cunningham

If you thought the opportunity for farms and landowners to take advantage of the renewable energy market had passed, think again. Green hydrogen is the next big renewable energy ‘crop’ and with the hydrogen economy taking off early producers of green hydrogen will lead the pack. 

Agricultural Industry at the Forefront of Green Hydrogen Production?

At the start of the century, Governments around the globe were seriously kick-starting their renewable energy economy. They did this by offering lucrative tariffs, and other incentives for solar and wind energy producers to generate and feed renewable energy into their electricity networks. The success of these tariffs can be seen across the world. Early renewable energy investors certainly saw attractive returns, with many farms and landowners continuing to benefit from the lucrative tariffs they were able to sign up to when they invested in their installation.

Depending on where you are in the world, the opportunity for continued expansion is now more limited. Fewer lucrative deals are available and expanding generation is sometimes being hampered by local grid connection issues. A high proportion of the large installations being delivered today are being built to provide the energy required for onsite operations, not to provide energy to the wider market. 

That is all set to change. As the world looks for emission-free alternatives to replace our reliance on fossil fuels. Green, renewable hydrogen is the fuel of the future and there’s a whole new renewable energy crop for the world’s farmers, landowners and renewable developers to invest in. 

black cattle eating grass near white windmill during daytime

Green Hydrogen: The Future of Renewable Energy Storage

One of the limitations of most renewable energy is its reliance on particular weather conditions/time of day to maintain supply and the huge fluctuations in generation that can be experienced. Our reliance on fossil fuel is largely due to the ease in which we can release and use energy. Whether it’s putting petrol or diesel in our car for a journey or stoking a coal-fired power station, fossil fuel is stored energy that we call upon as and when we need it. Renewable energy is not quite as convenient, and that’s why green hydrogen is becoming so important; it provides a way of economically storing large amounts of renewable energy for future use. 

Using renewable energy to power water electrolysis and produce hydrogen provides renewable energy generators with an additional, lucrative income stream. Their wind, solar or hydroelectricity production is no longer limited. If the sun is shining, wind is blowing, or water is flowing their operations can produce renewable electricity and store any additional capacity. 

Green hydrogen is a product that is not limited by grid connection or real-time energy demands and usage. The returns that can be achieved from existing renewable energy generation are improved and generation can be expanded solely to deliver additional capacity for green hydrogen production. 

Specialist equipment is required to produce and store hydrogen on-site. However, GeoPura, with partners, has developed a supply chain that enables farmers, landowners and renewable energy developers to take advantage of this opportunity.  The GeoPura full-service offer provides maintained equipment without large initial capital outlay whilst also giving ready access to this new market. 

Electrolysis: The Link Between Renewable Energy and Green Hydrogen

Despite being one of the most abundant elements on the earth there are no natural stores of hydrogen, so all of the hydrogen we use must be generated. There are different ways of doing this, but the most common, cheapest way is to use Steam Methane Reforming (SMR). This process uses natural gas and high-temperature steam, but releases a massive amount of CO2.  So much CO2 that in many applications we may as well have carried on using the fossil fuels directly. In order for SMR to become more environmentally friendly, the carbon dioxide would need to be captured and stored which if available would obviously add further complexity, risks and costs. 

Another way of generating hydrogen is through electrolysis. Passing an electric current through water (H2O) splits it into hydrogen and oxygen. When the electric current is provided from a renewable source this process produces hydrogen with no greenhouse gas emissions, and the final product is referred to as green hydrogen. This is the energy product that we featured at the Goodwood Festival of Speed last year.

Hydrogen: Fuel of the Future

Hydrogen has been an emerging fuel for a number of years, widely used within the space industry and is extensively considered for mainstream road transport alongside electric vehicles. Hydrogen fuel cells take pure hydrogen and convert it into electricity, heat and water vapour. There are no other emissions, which is why many scientists believe it holds the key to decarbonising our economy. 

Whether you’re using a fuel cell within a hydrogen-powered machine, or as an external power source to provide electricity the opportunities are endless. 

The Siemens GeoPura Solution

Siemens GeoPura is establishing the green hydrogen energy market so we can begin to see the benefits of reducing our reliance on fossil fuel sooner. 

Siemens GeoPura offers a solution for renewable energy generators to enter the hydrogen production market with low risk and a guaranteed outlet. We provide the electrolyser, storage and purchase of green hydrogen at the production end of this supply chain whilst also delivering the technology energy consumers need to use clean, green hydrogen in their operations.

To find out more contact us today.

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