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Types of Hydrogen: Comprehensive Guide

In recent times, the topic of hydrogen has been widely discussed due to its potential in reducing carbon emissions. As many are aware, hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, comprising 75% of all matter. Its lightweight nature and ability to be stored make it a promising candidate as a fuel source. 

Although there are various methods to accomplish this, not all of them are sustainable.

This is where the classification of hydrogen based on color comes into play. While hydrogen itself is colorless, the classification system is based on the extraction process used.

The three primary types of hydrogen are Green Hydrogen, Blue Hydrogen & Gray Hydrogen.

Although hydrogen itself is a colorless gas, it has been given a variety of colorful terms such as green, blue, brown, yellow, turquoise, and pink hydrogen. These terms serve as color codes or nicknames that are commonly used within the energy industry to distinguish between different types of hydrogen.

The different names assigned to hydrogen are based on the production method used. However, it is worth noting that there is no standard naming convention, and these color definitions may vary over time and even across different countries.

Green Hydrogen

Green hydrogen is a form of hydrogen produced using electricity derived from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, etc. It is considered a low or zero-emission form of hydrogen as these energy sources do not release greenhouse gases during electricity generation. The production of green hydrogen involves the process of water electrolysis, which splits water molecules (H2O) into hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2) using an electric current.

Although the production of green hydrogen requires an energy input, the use of clean energy sources makes it a more environmentally-friendly option compared to gray or blue hydrogen production methods. The main challenge with green hydrogen is the cost of producing electricity through renewable sources, which can make the production process more expensive than other hydrogen production methods.

Despite the challenges, green hydrogen is considered a promising solution to reduce carbon emissions and transition towards a more sustainable energy system. Green hydrogen can be used in a variety of applications, such as transportation, industrial processes, and energy storage.

Read Also: Green Hydrogen: Promising Source of Future Energy Consumption

Blue Hydrogen

Blue hydrogen is primarily derived from natural gas through steam reforming, which involves the combination of natural gas and heated water in the form of steam. The result is the production of hydrogen, along with carbon dioxide as a byproduct. However, the defining characteristic of blue hydrogen is the implementation of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology to capture and store carbon dioxide.

Blue hydrogen is often referred to as “low-carbon hydrogen” because the steam reforming process still generates greenhouse gases, but the implementation of CCS reduces the carbon footprint of the production process.

Compared to gray hydrogen, blue hydrogen has the potential to significantly reduce carbon emissions, as the captured carbon can be utilized or stored, preventing it from entering the atmosphere. However, the use of natural gas as the primary source of blue hydrogen production still relies on non-renewable fossil fuels.

Gray Hydrogen 

Gray hydrogen is currently the most widely produced type of hydrogen. It is derived from natural gas or methane through a process known as steam methane reformation, without capturing the greenhouse gases produced during the process. It is essentially the same as blue hydrogen, but without carbon capture and storage.

On the other hand, black and brown hydrogen is produced using black coal or lignite (brown coal) in the hydrogen-making process. These types of hydrogen are the opposite of green hydrogen on the spectrum and are the most environmentally damaging.

To add to the confusion, any hydrogen produced from fossil fuels through gasification is sometimes referred to as black or brown hydrogen interchangeably.

Gray hydrogen is the most commonly produced type of hydrogen, while black and brown hydrogen is produced from coal and is the most damaging to the environment. It is crucial to continue developing and promoting the production of green hydrogen to ensure a sustainable future for our planet.

We At GH2 Solar

GH2 Solar is a technology-oriented company that has vast experience in executing oil and refineries solar rooftop & large-scale utility projects across India. Being already experienced in the renewable sector, now we are working on the development of “Green Hydrogen” & HAAS (Hydrogen as a Service). If you are planning to adopt Green Hydrogen, you can connect with GH2 Solar to get all information about the same.

For more information, please give us a call at 1800-102-8685

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