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About this book

As the case for Climate Change mitigation becomes ever more pressing, hydrogen has the potential to play a major role in a low-carbon energy future. Hydrogen can drive the vehicles of tomorrow and also heat homes and supply energy to businesses. Much recent discussion in energy policy circles has considered ways in which greatly expanded electrification can meet the demand for low-carbon mobility and heating. Such narratives centre on the widespread use of renewable energy sources with occasionally surplus renewable electricity being used to produce hydrogen, for example by electrolysis. While such developments have a beneficial role to play, this book focuses on an alternative paradigm. This book considers a more evolutionary path involving the continued extraction and use of fossil fuels, most notably natural gas, but in ways that greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In this way much established industrial capacity and know how might be transitioned to help deliver the low carbon future that the world so desperately requires.

Presenting up-to-date energy policy recommendations with a focus on hydrogen from fossil fuels, the book will be of considerable interest to policymakers and energy researchers in academia, industry and government labs, while also offering a valuable reference guide for business developers in low-carbon energy, and for oil and gas industry analysts.

Table of Contents

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction—The Hydrogen Economy Today

Abstract
This chapter summarises the current global hydrogen industry. The dominant role of fossil fuels in hydrogen production today is introduced, and the prospects for future growth in hydrogen demand are outlined. The term “Mature Hydrogen” is introduced, and comparison is invited with the role played by renewables-based “Green Hydrogen”.
William J. Nuttall, Adetokunboh T. Bakenne

Chapter 2. The Future of Energy and Mobility

Abstract
This chapter examines the potential role for hydrogen in future vehicles. The chapter opens with a look back at the history of the car before focussing on fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) as part of a wider family of electric vehicle technologies. Issues of safety, refuelling practicalities and technological innovation are considered. The chapter closes with consideration of the vehicle types most suitable for hydrogen-fuelled FCEV propulsion.
William J. Nuttall, Adetokunboh T. Bakenne

Chapter 3. Hydrogen Chemical Engineering—The Future

Abstract
This chapter introduces the key methods for producing hydrogen from fossil fuels, such as natural gas. The chapter also comments on the future role for innovation in this sector. Some consideration is given to the costs of hydrogen production, such as steam methane reforming natural gas.
William J. Nuttall, Adetokunboh T. Bakenne

Chapter 4. Towards a Hydrogen Economy

Abstract
This chapter examines the costs associated with a range of methods of hydrogen production. Potential approaches are examined in the context of a range of possible greenhouse gas emission prices (carbon prices). It is argued that for most foreseeable carbon price scenarios, the use of natural gas feedstock remains preferable. Additionally, the change that is incentivised by a rising carbon price would appear to be associated with emissions reduction from Mature Hydrogen (see Chap. 1) rather than with the emergence of “Green Hydrogen”.
William J. Nuttall, Adetokunboh T. Bakenne

Chapter 5. Carbon Capture, Utilisation and Storage

Abstract
If fossil-fuel-based hydrogen is to contribute for the long-term to a low-carbon economy, then progress must be made in technologies that ensure that the associated carbon is not released to the atmosphere. There has for many years been interest in the potential for carbon capture and storage (CCS). The chapter explains why hydrogen production from fossil fuels can yield carbon dioxide rich wastes that are very attractive candidates for CCS. The sector is also well-placed for the emerging interest in carbon capture and utilisation (CCU).
William J. Nuttall, Adetokunboh T. Bakenne

Chapter 6. Hydrogen Infrastructures

Abstract
This chapter focusses on the two largest industrial hydrogen infrastructures in the world today. The largest industrial cluster is on the US Gulf Coast, and it links to or is supported by the 180-mile Air Products hydrogen pipeline. In Europe, Air Liquide leads on operation of hydrogen pipeline infrastructure linking to the Port of Rotterdam. The industrial investments are substantial and point to regions of the world where a new hydrogen economy might be expected to emerge most easily.
William J. Nuttall, Adetokunboh T. Bakenne

Chapter 7. The Proposed Natural Gas to Hydrogen Transition in the UK

Abstract
Successive UK governments have laid out a vision of a deep decarbonisation across all sectors of the economy. A key challenge will be the reduction of emissions associated with heating. Currently UK heat needs are mostly net via natural gas combustion. There is widespread interest in electrification of the economy based increasingly on renewable power generation, but as this chapter points out such pathways are challenging and it might be preferable to continue with gas-based heating, but with upstream carbon capture utilisation and storage. Such ideas have gained much traction in the UK in recent months, and some emerging projects are discussed.
William J. Nuttall, Adetokunboh T. Bakenne

Chapter 8. Small-Scale Local Hydrogen Production

Abstract
This chapter examines the potential for local distributed hydrogen production. It notes the possibility of small-scale water electrolysis for which the key need is access to an electricity connection, preferably fed by low-carbon electricity. The chapter considers an alternative small-scale option—local stem methane reforming fed by an established natural gas distribution network. Questions are raised about the possible merits of the small-scale fossil-fuel-based hydrogen approach, but it is suggested it is an area where more research is needed.
William J. Nuttall, Adetokunboh T. Bakenne

Chapter 9. Hydrogen Cryomagnetics—A Physics-Based Innovation

Abstract
This chapter explores the potential for hydrogen transmission, distribution, and storage in the form of cryogenic liquid hydrogen. The production of cold liquid hydrogen is an energy-intensive process, but nevertheless key benefits of densification arise. The chapter stresses the further potential that 20 K liquid hydrogen can be used to cool strong superconducting magnets based on high-temperature superconductors, thereby opening up the prospect of “hydrogen cryomagnetics”, as has been discussed previously in the literature.
William J. Nuttall, Adetokunboh T. Bakenne

Chapter 10. Deep Decarbonisation—The Role of Hydrogen

Abstract
Increasingly, there is concern that Western economies must find a path to near complete decarbonisation. In recent decades, many heavy industries have been off-shored, but increasingly this is recognised to be problematic at several levels. There is a need to find a path to low-carbon activity in hard-decarbonise sectors. One such prominent sector is steel-making, and this chapter examines the role that might be played by hydrogen in a low-carbon steel industry.
William J. Nuttall, Adetokunboh T. Bakenne

Chapter 11. The End of Oil—Hydrogen, Syn-Fuels and the International Oil Companies

Abstract
The international oil companies (IOCs) are today international natural gas companies. Might they be on a journey to becoming low-carbon fluid fuel companies, perhaps even hydrogen companies? This chapter stresses the threat posed to the IOCs, not from climate change—although that is real and important—but rather from national oil companies. The chapter posits that the IOCs might seek to go green at scale in Western markets in order better to address consumer climate change concerns and as a strategic response to the NOC threat.
William J. Nuttall, Adetokunboh T. Bakenne

Chapter 12. Conclusions

Abstract
This chapter concludes the book. The book stresses the importance of global greenhouse gas emission reductions and the need to aim for deep decarbonisation. While some argue that the path to such a future lies in a shift to renewables-based electrification, this book stresses that there may be a path involving the evolution of today’s fossil fuel industry towards a low-carbon future. Such a pathway might be easier, cheaper and less disruptive than the alternative. Hydrogen appears to be important in all scenarios, but this chapter reminds the reader not to dismiss the role of Mature Hydrogen (see Chap. 1) too easily.
William J. Nuttall, Adetokunboh T. Bakenne

Backmatter

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