The importance of hydrogen in the energy transition

A importância do hidrogênio na transição energética

What is the influence of hydrogen on the energy transition and what are the perspectives for Brazil in the development of this energy source? Look.

The energy generated from hydrogen has everything to become one of the most important sources for global decarbonization. At COP 26, for example, many countries pledged to reduce their use of fossil fuels and others to become zero carbon by 2050. To achieve all of these goals, hydrogen is the necessary link to drive an ever-faster energy transition.

In this sense, it is undeniable to say that Brazil has a strategic role in global decarbonization. After all, a good part of its energy production is already renewable, with a high capacity for solar and wind generation, transforming the country into a possible exporter of green hydrogen in the future. Understand this relationship better.

What is PNH2?

In May 2021, the Resolution that determined the carrying out of a study to propose guidelines for the National Hydrogen Program (PNH2) was published in the Federal Official Gazette. These studies showed that a lot of investments in research and development will be necessary to cover the gaps in technical-scientific knowledge and important technological solutions for the creation of a productive chain of this source in the country.

The National Energy Plan 2050, drawn up in 2020, identified hydrogen as a disruptive technology and an element of interest for decarbonising the energy matrix. To make this path feasible, the Ministry of Mines and Energy indicated to the Energy Research company its interest in developing technologies related to this type of production.

Thus, in 2021, the “Bases for the Consolidation of the Brazilian Hydrogen Strategy” were published, which addresses the market panorama, technological routes, costs, challenges and amplification of public policies. One of the routes already considered worldwide are technologies for adapting solid waste and the feasibility of producing hydrogen from this treatment. Currently, there are already successful cases of these projects in Japan and India, which use the biomass gasification process to produce hydrogen.

The role of hydrogen in the energy transition

The use of hydrogen as an energy source is already a reality. Thus, it is possible to use it to generate electricity, fuel vehicles and equipment. However, the hydrogen produced on a large scale is called gray hydrogen, which generates carbon emissions. It is used in chemical, petrochemical, steel and food industries. Current estimates are that only 4% to 6% of the hydrogen produced in the world is of the green type. In other words, the clean market still needs to develop. There are estimates that this production will take off between 2025 and 2028, with high annual growth rates thereafter.

Therefore, the great challenge of the sector is to make viable the production of green hydrogen, which is produced from the electrolysis of water, using energy from renewable sources, such as wind, solar, hydroelectric or biomass. Thus, the entire process becomes clean, without generating a burden on the environment.

As a result, this source has become a priority in the energy strategy and the achievement of climate goals, above all, because it offers an alternative for sectors that are difficult to reduce carbon emissions. In addition, the source also enables energy storage and favors the industry and transport sectors. Even in light transport, hydrogen plays an important role, bringing another technological alternative to the vehicle electrification process.

It is noteworthy that research on hydrogen in Brazil is not recent, it has just not been prioritized. In the past, with the water crisis of the 2000s, hydrogen was considered as an option, however, the implementation costs and the necessary technologies made development difficult. Today, 20 years later, many advances have taken place in the area, bringing optimistic expectations to the market.


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