The idea that we should replace hydrocarbons with hydrogen is not new, but it has been enjoying a renaissance over the past year or so. As countries get serious about tackling climate change, hydrogen is being billed as the missing piece to the decarbonisation puzzle.
On the face of it, hydrogen seems like the holy grail of energy. It’s easy to make as you simply pass an electrical current through water to split it into hydrogen and oxygen – a technique known as electrolysis. If the electricity comes from renewable sources, then this process is essentially emissions-free. When the hydrogen is burned or passed through a fuel cell, the only by-product is water. It also offers a solution to the intermittency of wind and solar power as it can be used as an energy store.
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