In his novel The Mysterious Island published in 1870, Jules Verne wrote that “water will one day be employed as fuel.” He further predicted that by using electricity to split it into hydrogen and oxygen, these two elements would provide power on the planet indefinitely.
A hundred and fifty years later, his vision looks set to become reality. Because hydrogen could play a leading role in making a success of the energy transition. Hydrogen makes it possible to store and transport energy so that it can be used anywhere. If produced with renewable energy, the resulting “green hydrogen” could act as fully carbon-neutral fuel source.
This is why a number of initiatives promoting hydrogen technology have been launched in recent years. Within the framework of the European Green Deal, the European Commission has also defined a hydrogen strategy, after individual member states had already prepared national action plans and batteries of measures. This is currently an incredibly dynamic market.
A key application area for hydrogen technology is industry. For several decades now, it has been harnessed – albeit as gray hydrogen – in reforming crude oil as well as producing ammonia and methanol, among other things. If gray hydrogen can be successfully replaced by green hydrogen in the future, this would help to drastically reduce the current process- related CO2 emissions. What’s more, green hydrogen could also be employed in carbon-neutral steel production. Exploiting hydrogen technology would also help other industries, including chemicals and concrete, with decarbonization by reducing their process- related emissions.
In order to make the most of all of hydrogen technology’s benefits, existing infrastructure will, however, need to be adapted on both the supplier and consumer sides. On this front, Bilfinger offers its customers a broad spectrum of solutions ranging from assisting with hydrogen production, through storage and distribution, to its use. Products and services specifically created for this purpose facilitate industrial- scale hydrogen production, storage, transport and on-site supply.
“As Europe’s biggest industrial services provider, we are able to provide services at every link in the hydrogen value chain,” says Tom Blades, Chairman of the Executive Board of Bilfinger SE. “We are already actively involved in numerous hydrogen projects and processes, providing customers with consulting and engineering, plant construction as well as inspection and maintenance services. Hydrogen is the energy source of the future. That’s why we will continue to significantly expand our range of solutions in this field going forward.”
There is a lot of overlap between hydrogen technology and fields such as renewable energy, power to gas, carbon capture and storage as well as many more. “As far as possible, we aim to serve as a single source for all of our clients’ needs,” says Blades. “This is why we have incorporated our hydrogen-related activities into our energy transition services. That way, we can be sure to always provide integrated, forward- looking customer solutions.”