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The energy of tomorrow: Hydrogen

Hydrogen, a clean energy

Hydrogen is sometimes presented as the clean energy of tomorrow. And the International Energy Agency assured in 2019, it must play a key role in the energy transition. Associated with a fuel cell, it appears to have no local CO 2 emissions. But the results of its use are not so simple.

Hydrogen (H) is the most abundant element of the universe : 75% in mass and more than 90% in number of atoms . They are found mainly at the heart of stars and in the atmospheres of the giant planets gaseous. On Earth , hydrogen enters in particular in the composition of water -- a oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms (H 2 O) -- and in that of the matter living organism -- 10% of the mass of a human body is hydrogen. An abundance which could constitute a significant advantage in the race for sustainable energy .

Let us also remember that hydrogen is not strictly speaking a source of energy , but rather an energy vector, just like electricity. It is used to transport energy produced by a primary source ( oil, uranium ) to users.

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. Associated with oxygen, it forms the water molecule. Hydrogen is attracting growing interest today because it can constitute a new source of clean electricity production, via fuel cells. This involves a reaction of hydrogen with oxygen to produce an electric current, and only releases water.

France, Germany and China in the race for hydrogen

For several years, the European Union has been developing research and development programs around hydrogen. “In France, bills such as that relating to the energy transition for green growth in 2015 have highlighted the need to develop new energies, including hydrogen. And to continue on this path, Nicolas Hulot launched an aid plan of 100 million euros in 2018,” indicates Christophe Jourdin, associate director of Energy & Utilities at CGI. This three-year plan, launched in June 2018, sets a use of green hydrogen in the industry at around 10% for 2023 and 20 to 40% by 2028. This plan is national but surprise, it is the regions which finance this transition the most. Occitanie, for example, invested 150 million euros in a green hydrogen plan in June 2019.

For its part, Germany has invested in a research and development program of 1.4 billion euros over ten years with a forecast of private investments of two billion.

China, for its part, has allocated an envelope of 10.7 billion euros to put into circulation one million hydrogen vehicles by 2030.

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