The king energy vector
« Renewable energy sources are capable of producing unlimited amounts of electricity, but not always when we want it. And that’s where hydrogen comes in. The major issue with electricity is that it must be used when it is produced. If it is not used immediately, it is simply lost (this is known as “unavoidable energy”), such as the electricity generated by wind turbines, solar cells » (1), or wave energy converters as well.
Unavoidable, because nature only decides by itself when it is in capacity to produce energy, day or night for sun cells, wind or not for wind mills, waves or not for sea technologies, and … without any consideration for the needs, or not, of human beings.
Hydrogen resolves this natural constraint. It is called a « vector » because it is not a source of energy but an intermediary process capable of storing and/or transporting energy without constrains of time or distance between the primary producer and the final consumer. And with little loss. Although it is still expensive to produce, industry has already found ways to generate it efficiently by separating hydrogen, carbon or oxygen molecules of certain products and, continues to improve technologies in this respect.
(1) ref. www.airliquide.com (Air Liquide media: extract from « Destination: hydrogen »)
« power to gas »
« Power-to-gas technology is a master key to unlock the energy transition potential, enabling more efficient integration of intermittent power generated by wind and solar plants by decoupling production and consumption. Power grid constraints often lead to curtailment, and there is no way to use this surplus energy or store it for times of higher demand. »
(ref: Renewable gas, special report 2017, 0ct. 25)
Independant, renewable & produced from clean marine energy
For historical and economical reasons however, the main primary source, presently used up to now to manufacture hydrogen (at close to 95% of the total production), is issued from oil and gas imports.
There is a recent, quick, and strong evolution towards electolysis of water which can be labelled « clean, from well to wheel », when generated from ocean power source, since H2 is only as clean as the energy used for obtaining it.
Of course the current situation is not acceptable any more. A speedy conversion to electrolysis is envisionned and possible. Hydrocap goal is to participate to this transition by offering its Seacap platforms to house and directly feed hydrolysers from their on-site linear generators, that capture ocean energy and transform water into hydrogen, at the same pace as nature makes its power available for convertion.
Thanks to hydrogen, renewables are not any more intermittent (power to gas) and, being locally distributed, do not suffer from heavy heat losses in very high tension networks or stop and go processes during energy production, like conventional energies and even nuclear, do.
Not to say the benefit of the freedom gained over costly, exchange rates and geopolitically dependent imports, which will contribute to a better stability of supplies and prices of energy, a must for a safer economy.