Innovative low-carbon energy technologies are being adopted around the world to support decarbonisation efforts. This is the second of a two-part article introducing six game-changing low-carbon energy technologies shaping the global energy transition.
Our first article explored technologies we are likely to see the impact of by 2030: Offshore renewable energy, energy storage, and high voltage direct current.
This article looks into three further technologies that may take around two decades to develop and could emerge by 2040: Green hydrogen, carbon capture utilisation and storage, and nuclear fusion.
1. Green hydrogen
The industrial sector has largely failed to decarbonise over the past decade and is still heavily reliant on fossil fuels for both energy and feedstock. Hydrogen, an element used in a variety of industries, was historically not a low-carbon contributor. Natural gas has been a primary source of hydrogen production, which also involves processes that produce carbon dioxide (CO2) such as steam reforming.
Now, however, there is a way to produce “green hydrogen” by using renewable energy to electrolyse water (H2O), separating the hydrogen (H2) atom within it from its molecular twin, oxygen (O2). As the cost of producing renewable energy goes down and the demand for hydrogen goes up, there is great hope that green hydrogen will become an important contributor to emissions reduction.
Moreover, hydrogen offers benefits both as a direct fuel and as an energy carrier for long-term storage. The low to zero-emission hydrogen fuel can be used in fuel cell vehicles, while hydrogen is also a good option for storing renewable energy, giving it more potential in the energy transition.