Japan and EU race to develop ‘green hydrogen’

Japan and EU race to develop ‘green hydrogen’

Perennial next-generation energy source must leap production cost hurdles

TOKYO — Japan and the European Union are racing to develop hydrogen, which has long been promised as a clean energy source of the future.

That future is now taking shape off the coast of the Netherlands, where one of Europe’s biggest green hydrogen projects is underway. The NortH2 project is intended to produce up to 4 million kW of offshore wind power by 2030. The energy is to then power seawater-to-hydrogen electrolysis, with the hydrogen to be delivered to industries across the Netherlands and Western Europe. Its use is expected to reduce carbon emissions by an annual 8 million tons to 10 million tons by 2040.

There are three types of hydrogen. Gray hydrogen comes from fossil fuels, which emit carbon dioxide in the process of extracting hydrogen from coal, oil, or natural gas. Blue hydrogen is made the same way, but the process adds carbon capture technology to lower emissions. Carbon-free green hydrogen uses renewable energy to produce hydrogen from water.

The NortH2 project was launched by a consortium led by Anglo-Dutch oil major Royal Dutch Shell. The European Union plans to increase offshore wind farm capacity twentyfivefold by 2050 and to pour 470 billion euros ($577.5 billion) into its hydrogen strategy.