A company headquartered in Germany has developed a novel concept to produce green hydrogen without the need for fossil fuel-intensive manufacturing. The technology from Enapter promises to revolutionize the manufacturing process of this environmentally friendly, abundant resource and help human society keep global temperatures within manageable limits, staving off the worst effects of climate change.
Study: Green hydrogen: How half the water flushing a toilet could power your home for days. Image Credit: Audio und werbung/Shutterstock.com
Hydrogen: A Promising Environmentally Fuel
Hydrogen gas is gaining popularity as an alternative fuel that can provide power for domestic settings, automobiles, and industries that is far more environmentally friendly than a traditional oil, coal, and natural gas. However, much of the current technology that is used to produce hydrogen relies on fossil fuels, which release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, warming the planet.
Green hydrogen is a more attractive alternative to current commercially produced hydrogen gas. It is produced from one of the most abundant, renewable natural resources on Earth: water. Extracting hydrogen molecules from water is cheap and eminently sustainable. Technologies that provide a considerable proportion of the global energy mix from water are a focus of current research and development in the renewable energy and green fuel sectors.
The manufacturing process uses renewable energy to extract hydrogen from water. Electrolysis is used to separate the water’s hydrogen and oxygen molecules, meaning that the only by-product of the process is oxygen, compared to the environmentally damaging carbon dioxide emitted by conventional fossil-fuel-dependent manufacturing processes.
However, the widespread commercial adoption of green hydrogen requires it to be economically viable, like all alternative, eco-friendly solutions. Now, Enapter has made it its mission to enable green hydrogen to become commercially viable and cost-effective.
Enapter’s Green Hydrogen Solution
Enapter was established with the core aim of making green hydrogen cost-effective by developing innovative technologies to produce emission-free gas that can be easily installed in various settings.
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The central technology that has been discussed in the Euronews article is their AEM electrolyzers, which work on the basis of ion exchange. This technological innovation has already been deployed in 100 projects in 33 countries, fueling planes and cars, heating homes, and helping to provide power for industry. Whilst limited in scope at the moment, the plan is to mass-produce the technology for widespread use.
There has been much criticism of green hydrogen due to its high energy needs and low production yield. However, the company states that its AEM electrolyzers help to solve these issues and can even be installed at home. This makes them an easy and cheap option. This can even be done in domestic settings.
The system is modular, making it easy to increase the production rate according to individual needs. This is akin to solar panel technology: one unit can be used on its own or in combination with many others to ramp up power generation.
Homes could be completely powered by the system just by everyday activities like going to the toilet, taking a shower, doing their laundry, or washing the dishes. The technology requires just 2.4 liters of water to power a home for days at a time (the average electric shower uses 5 liters of water a minute.) The potential for domestic hydrogen generation using the company’s technology is vast.
How Close is This Technology to Being Commercially Viable?
Currently, the deployment of Enapter’s AEM electrolyzers is limited. To become commercially viable, the technology will have to be scaled up fast. However, plans are already in place to do this.
Enapter is currently building a production site that it is hoped will kickstart mass production of their technology by early 2023. Hydrogen is predicted to provide a third of the total global energy needs by 2050, and Enapter hopes that their AEM electrolyzer technology will provide 10% of total global hydrogen production. This represents significant advantages for the technology, removing the need to use fossil fuels to produce commercial hydrogen fuel, which is at odds with its eco-friendly image.
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The Future of Green Hydrogen
Green hydrogen presents a solution to the challenges inherent in hydrogen production. As the world moves away from environmentally damaging fossil fuels, hydrogen will become a significant part of the global energy mix. Enapter’s innovative solution promises to revolutionize the green hydrogen industry, helping the world to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
The future potential for Enapter’s technology is vast and represents just the kind of thinking we need to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
Katanich, D (2021) Green hydrogen: How half the water flushing a toilet could power your home for days [online] euronews.com. Available at: