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Open Access The Role of Zero and Low Carbon Hydrogen in Enabling the Energy Transition and the Path to Net Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions : With global policies and demonstration projects hydrogen can play a role in a net zero future

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As public pressure to limit global warming continues to rise, governments, policy makers and regulators are looking for the most effective ways to achieve the target set by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to keep the global temperature increase to below 1.5°C above pre‐industrial levels. This will require the world to move to net zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050, and numerous governments have committed to reach net zero by this date, or even earlier. It is widely recognised that achieving net zero at the state, country and regional levels will necessitate a systems-wide approach across all the major sources of GHG emissions, which include power generation, transport, industrial processes and heating. Land use is also critical with billions of trees needing to be planted and a change in the amount of meat eaten. There is a growing realisation that hydrogen has a vital role to play, particularly to decarbonise sectors and applications that are otherwise extremely difficult to abate, such as industrial processes, heavy duty freight movement, dispatchable power generation and heating applications. Hydrogen will also provide long-term (for instance seasonal) energy storage, enabling much greater uptake of renewable power generation, which itself is a key prerequisite of the clean energy transition. Hydrogen can play a role in the decarbonisation of all major segments, and this means it can facilitate cross-sector coupling, enabling the exploitation of synergies between different key parts of the economy. This article discusses the different production routes to low and zero carbon hydrogen, and its uses across numerous applications to minimise and eliminate carbon dioxide and GHG emissions, building a picture of the key role that hydrogen will play in the energy transition and the broader global move towards decarbonisation and climate stabilisation. An overview of some of the ongoing and planned demonstration projects will be presented, outlining the importance of such activities in providing confidence that the hydrogen approach is the right one for multiple geographies around the world and that there are technologies that are ready to be deployed today.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Johnson Matthey 10 Eastbourne Terrace, London, W2 6LG UK

Publication date: July 1, 2020

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