What is hydrogen?
Hydrogen is a molecule composed of two hydrogen atoms bonded to each other (H2). Free hydrogen does not occur naturally on Earth, as the molecule is always part of another substance, like water (H2O). Hydrogen is not new in the economy. It is currently an important feedstock for industry, like for the production of artificial fertiliser for example.
Hydrogen and the energy transition
Currently hydrogen is mainly being produced from natural gas in a process that releases carbon dioxide. The hydrogen produced is called ‘grey hydrogen’. However, if the CO2 is captured, stored or reused, then it’s considered ‘blue hydrogen’. For the energy transition, the plan is to make use of the third category of hydrogen: ‘green hydrogen’. This type of hydrogen is produced through electrolysis using green electricity (from the sun, wind, etc.). In other words, this is a totally renewable form of hydrogen. We anticipate that green hydrogen will play a substantial role in the energy transition, while in the short term, blue hydrogen can be used to help develop the hydrogen economy and make major strides towards reducing carbon emissions.
Gasunie and hydrogen
Large-scale use of hydrogen requires a reliable network, both for transport and storage. We can take an enormous leap forward by using the gas infrastructure already in place. It is more than feasible to have the basis for the transport and storage of hydrogen to and from the major industrial areas in the Netherlands and onward to Hamburg and the Ruhr area ready as early as 2030. Working together, we can develop the hydrogen market, and before you know it hydrogen will be just as affordable as sustainable gas and sustainable electricity.