Hydrogen for industrial use
Hydrogen is used in the hydrocracking and hydrotreating steps in the oil refineries to crack the heavy oil into valuable products (diesel, gasoline) as well as to desulfurize the petroleum products.
Together with nitrogen from the air separation unit (ASU), hydrogen is needed to produce ammonia. Ammonia is mostly used to produce fertilizers, which is one of the most important commodities for food production. The case for green hydrogen to produce ammonia is gaining importance with two specific targets: a) demand for more fertilizers with an increase in global population (about 11 billion by 2100), and b) Ammonia as a promising candidate to store hydrogen and as a clean fuel for future shipping and power generation.
Methanol is currently used to produce higher alcohols, synthetic fuels and as a fuel blended with gasoline. Like ammonia, methanol is touted as a clean fuel for marine transport to decarbonize the shipping industry. Methanol is synthesized through the hydrogenation of CO and CO2 where grey hydrogen is currently used in the process. Interestingly, the synthesis of methanol can become sustainable by changing to green hydrogen, sourcing CO2 from CCUS (e-methanol), and using biomass as the feedstock (biomethanol).
Iron and steel industry
Hydrogen is posed to play a significant role in replacing part of coking coal as the reducing agent in the future iron and steel making processes. Introducing green hydrogen into the blast furnace-basic oxygen furnace (BF-BOF) process as well as the direct reduction of iron (DRI) process together with CCUS is considered to decarbonize the steelmaking sector altogether.
Industrial heat and power
With a significantly higher heating value and no CO2 emissions, hydrogen has the potential to replace coal and natural gas as sources of high-grade heat and off-grid power (through hydrogen turbines and fuel cells) to the industry. According to several studies, the flexibility of hydrogen is found to be advantageous in places where there is a need for intermittent heat demand.