Green hydrogen, often referred to as “the fuel of the future,” may have one of its primary roles in Brazil. Brazil is frequently referred to as “the fuel of the future” (a reference in a certain segment). It is currently impossible to predict how much this commodity could contribute to the nation’s economy. According to analysts, Brazil’s favorable conditions for producing this form of energy are already taken for granted, which is garnering an increasing amount of interest from other nations.
Due to the energy security danger that the European continent faces in the current conflict scenario, since the majority of its countries rely on the gas exported by Russia, there has been a rise in interest in this fuel, whose fundamental characteristic is an environmentally friendly production method. To receive the “green” mark, hydrogen must be produced and transferred without the use of fossil fuels or other environmentally damaging activities. Its manufacturing needs a great deal of energy, primarily to remove the hydrogen from water by hydrolysis.
Green hydrogen occurs when the electricity used in the electrolysis of water comes from renewable energy sources such as wind, photovoltaic, and hydroelectric, according to Ricardo José Ferracin, the director of Hydrogen Technology of the Brazilian Association of Energy from Waste and Hydrogen, who is also an associate professor at the Universidade Oeste do Paraná and one of the individuals responsible for the implementation of the Hydrogen Research Center at the Universidade Federal do Paraná.
Gabriel Lassery, executive director of the Brazilian Hydrogen Association (ABH2), states that green (or renewable) hydrogen can also be derived from hydroelectricity and waste biomass. “Given the country’s agricultural prowess, there is a plenty of tailings biomass available for hydrogen production. “There are also locations in Brazil where natural hydrogen is waiting to be extracted,” he explains.
Lassery recalls that gas is already utilized extensively for industrial reasons in Brazil, particularly in oil refining and fertilizer manufacture. “The expansion of this economy will create new opportunities within the domestic market. As examples, he cites the mobility sector for power generation on board electric vehicles, the steel business for reducing emissions in steel production, and the energy sector for mitigating interruptions in the renewable energy sector.
He says that the international hydrogen industry has been structured “by leaps and bounds.” “In order to decarbonize their systems, the nations with the least access to renewable energy intend to buy renewable and low-carbon hydrogen from the producing countries. Frequently, new initiatives to arrange these agreements are explored. According to Ricardo Ferracin, the installed generation capacity in the country is approximately 180 GW, but this capacity may be doubled, giving Brazil a leadership position in the field.
“Clearly there are technological and investment obstacles that need to be carefully studied, but positive expectations are strong,” he says, noting the absence of electrolyzers and fuel cells as an example of a bottleneck. “It is vital to enhance the equipment’s production chain and to train human resources, particularly technicians.” Furthermore, according to Lassery, the majority of hydrogen produced in Brazil is produced captively (at the location where it will be consumed) and its energy sources are not renewable.
But Brazil has a huge amount of potential for making hydrogen from renewable sources. In different parts of the territory, the potential to use solar and wind energy is among the best in the world. New projects and memorandums of understanding have been signed to use wind and solar energy to make hydrogen, both at sea and on land.
The experts say that in order for hydrogen to maintain its green certification, it must not be transported in cars powered by fossil fuels. According to Lassery, all phases of the hydrogen manufacturing and delivery process must utilize only sustainable energy sources. “As hydrogen is now manufactured and delivered, safe handling methods are already known. However, as technology advances, new norms, guidelines, and standards are produced and amended,” he explains. According to Ferracin, green hydrogen can be given as a fluid at extreme pressures and low temperatures, or as a gas at lower pressures and higher temperatures.