Low-carbon hydrogen: an energy for tomorrow

Produced using increasingly greener methods, decarbonated hydrogen or green hydrogen has a much higher fuel capacity than natural gas. As a bonus, its combustion emits neither greenhouse gases nor particles. In other words, this energy, which can be used in industry and transport but also to produce heat or electricity, has a bright future!

A promising future

The positive aspects of hydrogen have been known for a long time: a high combustible power, no rejection during combustion other than energy and water vapor, the possibility of storing and carrying it in a liquid state or after cooling... It is at the same time an energy, a fuel and a raw material for many industries. But as it is not found freely in nature, it has to be produced.

Until now, 95% of the hydrogen produced has been from fossil fuels, which emit CO2. However, thanks to advances in technology and a worldwide awareness of the benefits of this energy, things are changing. We are moving towards ecological alternatives allowing us to obtain decarbonized hydrogen. Thus, generated by electrolysis, it can contribute to decarbonizing the two sectors that emit the most CO2, industry and mobility.

EDF, through its subsidiary Hynamics, is already working to produce the hydrogen of the future.

Key figures

x 2.5

Hydrogen's combustibility compared to natural gas

- 253 °C

The temperature to which hydrogen must be cooled to be easily stored or transported

7 billion

The amount (in euros) released by the French government by 2030 to develop the green hydrogen industry in France

A more sustainable production

Two production methods are promising, as Emmanuel Boonne, Technical and Major Projects Director at Dalkia, explains: "It is possible to obtain hydrogen in a sustainable way, by "steam reforming" biogas and, above all, by electrolysis of water using green or low-carbon electricity. We can then talk about green hydrogen, which will play a major role in the energy transition to decarbonize various end uses, in industry, heat and electricity production, and transport...".

Of course, decarbonized hydrogen is still three to five times more expensive to produce than carbon-based hydrogen. But Emmanuel Boonne is optimistic: "Voluntary public policies and emulation on a global scale lead me to believe that the price curves will end up crossing."

Convinced of the potential of this energy, Dalkia acquired a stake in French company McPhy, a specialist in hydrogen electrolysis, in 2018. The parent company EDF has created Hynamics in the wake of this, a subsidiary dedicated to producing a low-carbon hydrogen offering from water electrolysis.


Hydrogen or dihydrogen

Element very present in the universe, which must however be separated from the chemical elements with which it is associated in nature - carbon, oxygen... - to be exploited.

Biogas vaporization

The principle is to create a chemical reaction by reacting the methane present in the biogas with steam at very high temperature. This has the effect of releasing dihydrogen, the molecular formula of the element…

Electrolysis of water

The process consists of chemically decomposing water using an electric power. It allows the splitting of dioxygen and dihydrogen. If the electricity used is from renewable sources, we speak of decarbonated hydrogen.

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