According to the UN, more than 70 countries have committed to a ‘Net Zero’ emissions target over the next few decades. With increasing energy demands globally, there is a clear and obvious requirement for new and sustainable sources of clean energy.
Over the last 20 years, Deeter Electronics have continually designed, developed and manufactured a wide variety of sensors specifically for this reason: to meet the demands of the ever-changing global markets. We are heavily involved in projects around the globe where there is a huge demand for the detection and monitoring of hydrogen.
What exactly is hydrogen?
Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, and it can offer a clean energy solution to sectors that are traditionally difficult to decarbonise, including many industrial processes, shipping, and heavy-duty vehicles.
How is hydrogen produced?
To harvest hydrogen, it must first be separated from other elements that are contained within water and fossil fuels. Whilst this process requires energy, at the point of use, hydrogen itself is emission free.
The immediate challenge, however, is how to increase the production of hydrogen while keeping the price down. According to the Hydrogen Council, a Net Zero global demand for hydrogen, which is currently estimated at 90 million metric tons for the current usage, could increase to 660 metric tons by 2050.
Once produced, hydrogen is allocated a specific colour based upon the method that has been used to extract it and scientists have assigned the following colours to distinguish the difference:
Grey: generated from natural gas or methane through a process called ‘steam reforming’ (method for producing syngas (hydrogen and carbon monoxide)) by reaction of hydrocarbons with water, producing greenhouse gas emissions.
Blue: using the steam reforming process, a high proportion of the carbon generated is captured and stored underground. It is classified as low carbon hydrogen.
Green: produced by splitting water by electrolysis using electricity from renewable sources e.g. wind. This method only produces hydrogen and oxygen and no carbon and is therefore classified as carbon free hydrogen.
Currently, the most common form of hydrogen is ‘grey’. However, if this was replaced by blue or green hydrogen, the overall carbon emissions would be significantly reduced.
The fact that hydrogen is available in such vast quantities means it can be used as a fuel source in several sectors and its versatility allows it to be compressed or liquified, making it cheaper and easier to transport.
A global increase?
The abundance of hydrogen has also led to the beginning of a global hydrogen market, with Europe leading the way thanks to strong government support and ambitious decarbonisation policies. As a result, it is one of the fastest growing markets and potentially the largest. The German government alone are setting up two new funds with a total of €550 million to support the development of the global hydrogen economy through cooperation, especially with emerging and developing countries.
As well as the developments in Europe, parts of Asia, North America and the Middle East have had some of the biggest projects announced recently that will expand their market and in turn make the global hydrogen market far larger. It was announced in January 2023 that the Indian Information Minister has approved an incentive plan of 174.9 billion rupees ($2.11 billion USD) to promote green hydrogen in a bid to cut emissions and become a major exporter in the field.
In 2022 alone, approximately 680 large scale hydrogen project proposals were put forward. These projects boast a value of $240 billion (US) in direct investment through to 2030, an increase of 50% since November 2021. Despite only roughly 10% having reached final investment stage, the appetite for the projects is clear for everyone to see. Of the projects that have been proposed, Europe is home to over 30% of the global investment and North America currently provides 80% of global operational low carbon hydrogen production capacity.
How can we help?
It is evident that hydrogen is quickly becoming a viable and sustainable fuel source. Storing, transporting, and measuring liquid hydrogen will be key to supporting this market. Our ever-expanding Hazardous Area product range, coupled with our wide ranging ATEX/ IECEx certification, allows us to work with our customers in these challenging and changing times. With 77 Zener Barrier variations recently added to our product line, alongside our DCS-IS Intrinsically Safe Capacitive sensors and Ex d certified analogue and digital liquid level sensors, Deeter Electronics remain well placed to continue supporting these projects and this developing market around the globe. Designed by our in-house team of engineers, all of our products are manufactured in the UK, enabling us to support global requirements with industry leading production times.
Contact our experts today to discuss how we can help you.