Hydrogen is the simplest and most abundant element in the universe, but its gaseous form H2 doesn't occur naturally. H2 can be produced through different processes: reforming of natural gas, gasification of heavy fossil fuels, or water electrolysis. All are mature technologies applied on a large scale, mostly in industrial applications.
Electrolysis, a process of splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen by applying a direct current, can produce hydrogen directly from renewable electricity, providing a way to store it in chemical form.
The need for energy storage is becoming more acute with the increase of intermittent renewable electricity generation from wind and solar, which is not aligned with grid power demand. Water electrolysis technology is currently the most flexible solution for storing renewable electricity on a large scale in the form of H2.
When produced by electrolysis with electricity from renewable sources:
- H2 allows storing low-carbon energy
- H2 facilitates the integration of high shares of intermittently generated renewable electricity in energy systems
- H2 is an option for increasing the flexibility of the energy system
Electrolyser by Nel Hydrogen © Nel Hydrogen 2017