Hydrogen: Not the Savior for Gas Utilities
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Themes and Topics

  • economic inefficiencies of hydrogen
  • electrification vs. hydrogen
  • gas utilities transition strategies
  • Hydrogen's limited industrial applications
  • low-carbon alternatives to hydrogen
  • regulatory challenges for hydrogen
  • sustainability concerns for gas utilities
  • Gas utilities struggling to adapt to green hydrogen; too much of a cost to incorporate; electrification said to be better option.

    Here’s an article posted in Sight Line.

    According to the article,

    • Natural gas utilities face income gap and customer attrition
    • Entering hydrogen market won’t be straightforward
    • Hydrogen consumers have options for obtaining gas
    • Green hydrogen not a sturdy rescue boat for gas utilities
    • Limited demand for hydrogen from industrial customers
    • Gas utilities need to compete for hydrogen delivery market

    So, gas utilities doesn’t seem to be the right place for hydrogen to thrive.

    So what sectors are the right places?

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    The sectors that would be most benefited when incorporated with hydrogen include the following:

    • Industrial Sectors:
      • Steel Production: Hydrogen can help decrease the carbon emission of steel manufacturing by substituting fossil fuels. This is crucial for industries such as steel production that are challenging to decarbonize via electrification.
      • International Shipping: Hydrogen can be used as a clean alternative to traditional fossil fuels for shipping, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.
      • Long-Haul Aviation: Hydrogen can be used to power aircraft, reducing emissions and noise pollution. This is crucial for long-haul flights where electrification is not yet feasible.
    • Transportation:
      • Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles: Hydrogen can be used to power highly efficient fuel cell electric vehicles, strengthening national energy security, conserving petroleum, and diversifying transportation energy options.
      • Heavy-Duty Vehicles: Hydrogen can be used to power medium- and heavy-duty vehicles, which have more space for larger tanks but face weight limitations that reduce the total load potential.
    • Energy Storage:
      • Power-to-X Pathways: Hydrogen can be used as an energy storage medium to store excess renewable energy and convert it back into electricity or heat when needed. This helps stabilize the grid and supports the integration of intermittent renewable energy sources.
    • Heavy Industry:
      • Fertilizer Production: Hydrogen can be used to produce clean hydrogen for fertilizer production, reducing emissions and environmental impacts.
    • Maritime and Ports:
      • Port Operations: Hydrogen can be used to power heavy equipment like forklifts, drayage trucks, and cranes, and to fuel larger vessels like ferries, commercial fishing vessels, and tugboats.

    These sectors can benefit significantly from the use of hydrogen, particularly in industrial processes where electrification is not feasible or in transportation where it can provide a clean alternative to fossil fuels.

    About Narasimhan Santhanam (Narsi)

    Narsi, a Director at EAI, Co-founded one of India's first climate tech consulting firm in 2008.

    Since then, he has assisted over 250 Indian and International firms, across many climate tech domain Solar, Bio-energy, Green hydrogen, E-Mobility, Green Chemicals.

    Narsi works closely with senior and top management corporates and helps then devise strategy and go-to-market plans to benefit from the fast growing Indian Climate tech market.


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