Fact box 6.1 - Hydrogen

An important measure for reaching the goal of climate neutrality is achieving the conversion from direct use of fossil fuels to emission-free energy bearers such as hydrogen.

The latter can be produced with no or very low GHG emissions, and releases none when burnt. This gas is also highly suitable as a long-term energy storage medium without loss of energy content. Hydrogen can replace fossil fuels for many applications in transport, traditional industry, power generation, and in manufacturing synthetic products.

The most relevant production methods are electrolysis, where water is split into hydrogen and oxygen using electricity, and steam reforming with methane split into hydrogen and CO2.

If these processes are to give a climate gain, renewable energy sources have to be used (“green” hydrogen) or the CO2 from steam reforming must be stored in geological structures using CCS (“blue” hydrogen).