Keywords: sustainable hydrogen economy, SHE, hydrogen fuel cells, battery electric vehicles, energy storage, sustainable economy, distributed storage, bulk hydrogen storage, electricity grids, strategic energy reserve, modelling
Designing a sustainable hydrogen energy economy
A general vision of a sustainable energy economy relying substantially on hydrogen produced from renewables is sketched as a potential solution to the twin global crises of climate change and depleting oil reserves. Core differences between this 'sustainable hydrogen economy' (SHE) and the original hydrogen economy (HE) proposed in the early 1970s are discussed. In transport, rather than posing a binary choice between hydrogen fuel cell and battery electric vehicles, it is argued that the old maxim of 'horses for courses' should be followed, with complementary deployment of these two technologies depending on the transport service to be supplied. Other key features of SHE are the use of distributed bulk hydrogen storages for season-to-season storage on electricity grids, and as a strategic energy reserve. The conduct of detailed energy-economic-environmental modelling is recommended to evaluate the SHE vision in particular national and regional contexts, and hence globally.