100% renewable targets will require power storage to manage flows on the net
Electrolysers utilise these intermittent power flows to produce H2 gas from water
H2 gas can be stored in large quantities underground and transported via existing gas pipelines
H2 vehicles recharge faster and are more durable than battery powered transport
Growing H2 demand in industrial processes will reduce costs and increase supply

Shell published its most thorough reflections on hydrogen’s production distribution and consumption properties to date. After the 2010 so called Power Train study, spearheaded by Shell, this overview could well become the final word on hydrogen’s position in energy and transport transitions in the coming years. Some of the Shell facts:

  1. No “shells off” on FCEV production figures: “the number of fuel cell cars manufactured over the coming years is projected to range from several hundred up to thousands of units (US DOE 2016)”.
  2. The study states that “if solely renewable electricity is used, the hydrogen that is produced is almost emission-free, with around 13 g CO2/MJ H2. On the other hand, if the average European electricity mix is used for electrolysis, the greenhouse gas emissions produced are some 2.2 times higher than in natural gas reforming.”  According to the study “surplus renewable electricity is no longer sufficient for hydrogen production. Rather, the required electricity must be produced specifically for that purpose.” This will mean significant efforts  in increasing RE even beyond EU ambitions….
  3. According to Shell “for the transport of very large hydrogen volumes a comprehensive pipeline network is ideal ….this conclusion applies to all gaseous and liquid substances to be transported, irrespective of the specific properties of hydrogen.”
  4. As with regards to Hydrail  the study mentions that  worldwide the proportion of electrified railways  is only around one-third. Over 60% in Europe and Asia,  50 % of the railways in India , around 40 % in China, and a good 20 % in Africa, but only a few percent in North America (IEA/UIC 2015).