What is Hydrogen? And why is it important for the world’s future?
Hydrogen is the most abundant element of the universe. It could replace oil-derived fuels in the future.
While solar and wind have already proven they can replace fossil fuels for electricity, what they cannot do is supply enough fuel to decarbonise heavy end-users like the transport sector.
A significant part of the solution may lie in Hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. Hydrogen is a fuel that produces zero emissions at its point of use. You can store Hydrogen as a liquid, a gas, or fuel for chemical industries. It can also fuel cell generators that generate electricity and heat. This could make it a significant step towards a net-zero world.
Hydrogen has its own set of unique challenges. It can be broken down into three main parts: storage, production, and end-use.
Currently, Hydrogen is produced as an industrial byproduct of natural gas. This is known as “grey hydrogen”. Grey hydrogen is the most affordable because of the low global price of natural gas.
Blue Hydrogen is slightly cleaner but much more expensive. Here, carbon emissions are captured and stored or reused. This causes a higher price.
It begs the question: Is there a way to make your home cleaner and more affordable?
The best solution is “green hydrogen”, produced from renewable energy sources.
Global hydrogen economics is expected to reach $2.5 trillion by 2050 and support 30 million jobs. The European Commission is currently developing a hydrogen strategy. This includes plans to invest multi-billions in hydrogen projects and schemes to increase sales of hydrogen-electric cars.
This results from a rapidly expanding employment market that requires skilled professionals to cover all aspects of this highly technical industry. The leading workforce service provider in the Renewable Energy and Natural Resources worlds, Brunel is well-positioned to assist companies with their delivery challenges.
For what purpose do we require Hydrogen?
Major uses for Hydrogen include:
The Hydrogen logo is on the fuel dispenser at gas stations in Aachen (Germany)
Every industry is growing, so there will be a need for new skills and new jobs. However, that doesn’t mean that the skills aren’t available in many cases.
Experienced project workers must develop facilities for hydrogen storage, transport, and production. All are essential: project managers, engineers with varying specialities, operations & maintenance, safety, regulatory experts and R&D specialists, and materials scientists.
Hydrogen is very similar to natural gas because it must be liquified before being transported. This means that its storage and transportation methods are similar.
These techniques are well-established and are also available in other industries. Businesses will need a partner to help them manage their staffing needs. A partner can understand the market and how to attract and engage talented people. They can also know how to move staff to other countries and make it easy.
Cavendish Energy Llc, USA, produced a report in 2016 that examined the potential growth of the Hydrogen industry. It predicted that up to 675k jobs could be created by 2035 if hydrogen technology and systems are widely adopted.
Examples of Emerging Jobs
- Hydrogen Fuelling Station Designer
- Hydrogen Fuel Cell System Technician
- Hydrogen Power Plant Operations Manager
- Hydrogen Systems Program Manager
- Manager for Quality Control of Fuel Cells
- Hydrogen Fuel Cell R&D Director
- Hydrogen Energy Systems Engineer
- Manager for Fuel Cell Plant
- Hydrogen Energy System Operations Engineer
- Director, Hydrogen Energy Development
- Fuel cell design engineer
- Fuel Cell Power Systems Engineer
- Retrofit Designer and Hydrogen Systems
- Hydrogen Systems Safety Investigator
- Automotive Fuel Cell Electronics Engineer
- Manager, Emissions Reduction Project
- Hydrogen Plant Operations Manager
- Hydrogen Pipeline Construction Manager
- Hydrogen Energy Engineer
- Specialist in Hazardous Materials Management