- As the world seeks to cut down on their carbon emissions and move away from internal combustion engine vehicles, there’s one fuel source on everyone’s lips – green hydrogen.
- Why not make a career change and get solar training at arguably the best solar training academy in Africa? Register HERE
Hydrogen as a fuel source is not a new technology; in fact, it powered the first internal combustion engines 200 years ago! It is the most abundant chemical element in nature and global demand for its use as a fuel has tripled since 1975, reaching 70 million tonnes a year in 2018.
But what is green hydrogen? And is it really green? And what does it have to do with solar PV?
How do your get green hydrogen?
All hydrogen gas is created by splitting water molecules (H 2O) into their components of oxygen (O) and hydrogen (H 2). The different ways in which this process is effected are defined by colours. And there’s a whole rainbow out there! Including our favourite colour … GREEN!
Electrolysis of water is the process whereby electricity is used to split the molecule. And when renewable energy sources like wind or solar power are used to power the electrolysers that generates the electricity required for electrolysis, we call the product green hydrogen.
A rainbow of terms for a gas without colour…
The hydrogen most people are familiar with is brown hydrogen, also called town gas, where coal is one of the fuels used to heat water to break it down into its components. Harmful elements are released as a result of the production of brown hydrogen include carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (CO), methane (CH4), and ethylene (C2H4).
Hydrogen powered by nuclear energy is called pink or sometimes yellow hydrogen.
Grey hydrogen involves the use of natural gas, but results in CO2 emissions in the process; blue hydrogen is grey hydrogen with carbon capture, so instead of those CO2 emissions being released into the atmosphere, they are captured and buried deep underground.
When it comes to green hydrogen, there are zero emissions in its creation and the combustion of this clean, versatile fuel source releases only water vapour to the atmosphere.
The phrase hydrogen economy refers to using hydrogen to decarbonize economic sectors which are difficult to electrify, sectors such as heavy industry, and to replace the fossil fuels currently used in some of the most polluting forms of transportation.
Namibia, with its abundance of wind, sun and seawater, has been identified as the prime location to scale up the production of green hydrogen and drive massive socio-economic growth for the country.
One project in the pipeline will see 85MW of solar panels being installed and is expected to produce some 350 000 tonnes of green hydrogen (or 142GWh of energy) a year before 2030 for global and regional markets.
In fact, industry experts maintain that Namibia can produce as much hydrogen as Germany, the world’s leading hydrogen producer, with systems half the size and occupying less than half the amount of land, and has the potential to offer green hydrogen production at the lowest cost second only to Chile. The Namibian government has also made investment in hydrogen production a high national priority.
Learn to install safe, effective PV solar
At GREEN, we’re not chemical engineers, so we’ll leave the splitting of the molecules to the scientists, but we are the experts when it comes to teaching you how to safely and effectively install solar PV technology, whether it’s on the roof of a home or a large solar plant that will drive the green hydrogen revolution in Namibia.
Join us for a 5-day masterclass in the sizing, design and installation of solar PV from 7 to 11 November at GREEN Solar Academy in Otjiwarongo, Namibia. The training consists of both theoretical and practical training and is accredited internationally by DGS (the German Solar Energy Society), as well as being endorsed by SAPVIA in South Africa as suitable solar training under its PV GreenCard programme. Cost is N$12 500 ex VAT.
Register online at https://solar-training.org/namibia/events/5-supersolarschool/region-NA/ or contact GREEN Solar Academy Namibia on +264 (0) 81 318 9085 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal