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Towards a library of environmental indicators of hydrogen

Hydrogen-based systems are expected to play a key role in the path towards a sustainable energy sector. Hydrogen advantages include, among others, a high energy content per mass unit, the fact that water and energy are the products from its oxidation, and high flexibility regarding production strategies. In this sense, hydrogen can be produced through different technologies, energy sources, and feedstocks. On the one hand, the wide range of hydrogen production pathways constitutes a key strength that makes hydrogen a strategic carrier for the integration of clean and renewable sources into the energy sector. On the other hand, since the system’s performance could be significantly affected by other stages within the value chain (e.g., feedstock production, driving energy production, etc.), the environmental suitability of the different hydrogen options should be assessed following a life-cycle perspective. Hence, a methodological framework that enables robust comparative studies of environmental life-cycle indicators of hydrogen options is required. In fact, the Systems Analysis Unit of IMDEA Energy has developed several harmonisation protocols for the calculation of environmental life-cycle indicators (carbon footprint, non-renewable energy footprint, and acidification) of hydrogen and has applied them to a large number of hydrogen options, while having also developed an online software (GreenH2armony®) that highly facilitates the computation of these indicators. In particular, in this recent research article* authored by the Systems Analysis Unit of IMDEA Energy, GreenH2armony® was used over a number of fossil-based hydrogen options, thus enlarging the library of environmental life-cycle indicators of hydrogen for robust comparative studies.

(*) Antonio Valente, Diego Iribarren, Javier Dufour (2020). Harmonised carbon and energy footprints of fossil hydrogen. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy 705: 135977. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhydene.2020.03.074

More information: Diego Iribarren, Senior Researcher of the System Analysis Unit diego.iribarren@imdea.org

Event Date: 
Wednesday, June 3, 2020