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Hydrogen – Outlook, strategy, technology

RWE, an important project partner for politics and business

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Hydrogen - How exactly does this fuel of the future work?

Hydrogen is a naturally occurring chemical element that can be found in almost unlimited quantities. It is 14 times lighter than air, can be combusted without producing any CO2 emissions and is not self-ignitious, corrosive or radioactive. In order to use its energy content, however, this colourless and odourless gas has to be separated off from hydrogen-rich compounds such as natural gas, biomass or water by using chemical, electrical, thermal or solar energy. Water electrolysis involves using electricity to break water down into oxygen and hydrogen. A system of colours indicates both the production method as well as its carbon footprint: If the electricity produced by water electrolysis is sourced from renewables, such as wind or solar power, it is referred to as green hydrogen. Grey hydrogen is produced conventionally using natural gas. If the carbon emissions produced in the process are not released but captured and stored, it is referred to as blue hydrogen. Less common is turquoise hydrogen, which entails thermal separation of methane, creating solid carbon rather than climate-damaging carbon dioxide.

RWE is paving the way for green hydrogen

Hydrogen is seen as playing a key role in the decarbonisation of energy-intensive sectors. In addition to reducing CO2 emissions in industrial processes, hydrogen could be used as a sustainable fuel in the transport sector and as a sustainable combustible for heat supply in the medium term. The ever increasing interlinking of potential applications – electricity and heat, transport and industry – is referred to as sector coupling.

Green hydrogen in particular is a key technology in the drive for climate neutrality. There are good reasons for this: 

  • No emissions in generation and application
  • Safe to transport, store and handle
  • Can be used flexibly either as a fuel or raw material and mixed with natural gas subject to defined limits
  • Serves as the basis for producing e-fuels, particularly for cars, aircraft and ships
  • Low land use, widely accepted in society

RWE is currently working at full speed on 30 green hydrogen projects together with partners. The positioning of the company along the entire value chain offers ideal conditions for the expansion of a functioning hydrogen infrastructure. In onshore and offshore windpower, in the development of generation facilities for green hydrogen and in the operation of large-scale gas-fired power stations. Thus, RWE has extensive expertise and experience in developing hydrogen all over Europe. This includes participation in projects such as GET H2, NortH2 and AquaVentus. Find out more here.

Rules make hydrogen green

 

Green hydrogen is indispensable for the energy transition and climate neutrality. The prerequisite for qualifying as "green" is that the hydrogen is produced with the help of renewable sources.

The European Union lays down uniform rules for this, but they still have to be finalised in a special legal text.

Our video explains what is needed for Europe to quickly build the much-needed hydrogen economy.

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Discover RWE hydrogen projects

Schematic illustration of BDEW

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RWE is a member of national and european initiatives for promoting and developing hydrogen

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Hydrogen

Questions on this topic

 

We are happy to answer your questions about hydrogen and our hydrogen projects.