23. February 2021
Topic:  Alternative fuels

When will the hydrogen economy begin in the Czech Republic?

When will the hydrogen economy begin in the Czech Republic?

The Czech Republic, as well as the European Union, is standing on the brink of a new, hydrogen decade. This path is a realistic way to gradually reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, decarbonize our heavy industry and comply with the ambitious goal of zero CO2 emissions by 2050.

Industry decarbonization

While the future of clean transport involves several types of low-emission or no-emission vehicles, industry decarbonization will mostly rely on renewable energy sources and hydrogen.

Despite the fact that hydrogen is often called the “fuel of the future”, it is a very well-known and plentifully used industrial element. One of the fields that is currently using hydrogen the most is the refinery industry. Since hydrogen plays an important role in processing fuels from crude oil, no fuels can be made without it.

Where can hydrogen help?

Commonly referred to as “grey”, hydrogen made from natural gas or crude oil residues is the most widely used type today. Its production produces CO2 emissions. However, the availability of renewable resources already allows for hydrogen to be made through, for example, decomposition of water using electricity from wind and solar power plants. Despite the fact that the produced substance is chemically identical to “grey” hydrogen, “green” hydrogen boasts a zero-emission footprint. This hydrogen can effectively replace not only the “grey” hydrogen in refineries, but also, for example, coke in metallurgy in the production of pig iron. We can still use “green” hydrogen as a green fuel, but we can also use it to produce even greener fuels or other materials.

Hydrogen can also be a valuable addition of the energy mix as an electric energy carrier. Utilizing its potential, we can use it for expanding the available offer of renewable electricity since the energy stored in hydrogen is available even in the absence of sun or wind.

The hydrogen economy has already started

When transitioning to a hydrogen economy, we can eventually expect that hydrogen will be used in sectors such as cargo, public and marine transportation. From the long-term perspective, hydrogen will play a fundamental role in the process of decarbonizing the refinery, petrochemical and metallurgical industries.

ORLEN Unipetrol is at the launch of this development and actively pushing it forward. At the end of last year, it commenced construction of the first public hydrogen service station in the Czech Republic. And that’s just the beginning. The group investments in the development in this field as well as the necessary infrastructure suggest that the transition to hydrogen economy in the Czech Republic has already slowly started.

How is the Czech hydrogen economy progressing? Watch Michael Londesborough’s interview with Ing. Václav Bystrianský from the ORLEN UniCRE center for research and education and learn more here.

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