RTU in the Conversation: the Future of Hydrogen

31th of October
Foto: Elīna Karaseva, RTU

Expect the element to play a key role in meeting the world’s sustainable-energy needs, RTU researchers say in recent scientific article.

In recent years, an increasing number of countries have committed to achieving net zero emissions. By April 2022, 131 countries (covering 88% of global greenhouse gas emissions) had announced net zero targets.

Clean hydrogen can help to realize this transition of our energy system. 

The blending and transportation of hydrogen in existing gas networks are the most topical issues in decarbonization and diversification of the gas transportation infrastructure in the European Union (EU). 

Riga Technical University professor Dr. Laila Zemīte is the first listed author of a research article recently published in the Latvian Journal of Physics and Technical Sciences, in which she and fellow RTU researchers discuss the significant role hydrogen can play to decarbonize end uses in a range of sectors, including long-haul transport, chemicals, and iron and steel, where it has proven difficult to reduce emissions.

In «Blending Hydrogen With Natural Gas/Biomethane and Transportation in Existing Gas Networks, » the authors explain that hydrogen is gaining popularity very rapidly as an alternative source of clean fuel can be used efficiently and widely with natural gas or biomethane, thus reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in several segments of the energy sector as well as energy-intensive industrial processes. 

The EU natural gas network provides large capacity to integrate renewable (RGs) and low-carbon gases. But hydrogen contributes only a few percent to Europe’s energy consumption and is almost exclusively produced from fossil fuels and used in the industry – leaving obvious room for improvement. 

In the study, the researchers also detail the EU’s hydrogen outlook, and identified obstacles that currently exist in terms of wider hydrogen application in the area, including: a lack of harmonized, EU-wide regulatory framework governing natural gas/biomethane and hydrogen blending; different percentage of hydrogen acceptable for transportation and distribution in existing gas networks, and the existence of limitations preventing hydrogen bending with methane-based gaseous fuels. 

The authors add that the promotion of hydrogen networks such as the European Hydrogen backbone (EHB) are gaining momentum in Europe and can make our transition to a zero-carbon economy smoother, easier, faster, and less costly. Policies like Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions limits could also help make cleaner hydrogen more competitive.

The Latvian Journal of Physics and Technical Sciences publishes experimental and theoretical papers with a scope that includes Energy and Power, Physical Sciences, Physics and Applied Physics in Engineering, Environmental Biotechnology.

You can access the full article here.

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31th of October at 9:58

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