Decarbonising heavy industry
Heavy industry requires large amounts of energy, and whilst some industries could be electrified at best this would place significant additional demands on electricity generation and electricity grids, and in many cases is simply not practical or possible. The leading candidate for using hydrogen is the refinement of iron ore into iron for the steel industry, but others including the ceramics and chemicals industries all have a high potential for conversion to hydrogen.
Grid-level energy storage
There is an easy case to be made for using ‘excess output’ from windfarms and other large-scale renewables in remote locations to produce green hydrogen as a form of energy storage. Such sites can also be located in close proximity to ports, where hydrogen-powered shipping could provide a potentially lucrative local market. More localised use of hydrogen as an energy store, however, is far less favourable as the need for and cost of the necessary infrastructure means batteries offer lower costs and greater flexibility
Ships do not suffer from the same constraints of the weight and volume of their power sources that apply to other forms of transport, and the co-location of sources of hydrogen with ports means that hydrogen is a more favourable solution than electrification and batteries. In a one hundred percent renewable future it is highly likely that hydrogen will power the vast majority of ships.
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