Hydrogen is a sustainable and clean “energy carrier” that, when consumed in a fuel cell, produces only water, electricity, and heat.
As the most abundant element in our universe, and the simplest element – with only one proton and one electron – hydrogen has no harmful carbon atoms and offers 2-3 times more energy than any fuel in use today.
Hydrogen has been used for years for industrial processing of ammonia for fertilizers, refining of petroleum products, or decarbonizing our natural gas grids, but its greatest benefits will be decarbonizing our energy economies as a ubiquitous fuel for vehicles, buildings, ships, trains or for back-up of critical applications such as cellular towers.
Industry already uses about 55 million tonnes of hydrogen a year as a feedstock, and hydrogen is itself produced as a by-product of industrial processes. The role of renewable power for producing hydrogen is also expanding with the decrease in costs of wind and solar energies.
To support its growing use worldwide, the infrastructure for distributing hydrogen is evolving. In many regions, hydrogen fueling stations are being built to support the roll-out of fuel cell automobiles as well as at industrial operating centres for transit buses, heavy-duty trucks or material handling fleets. To reach these stations, the fuel can be distributed via ship, pipelines, liquified tanker-trucks or high-pressure tube trailers similar to natural gas.
Hydrogen has been safely produced, stored, transported, and used in large amounts in industry fpr years. In fact, hydrogen’s unique characteristics make it one of the safest energy sources when compared to flammable fuels, such as gasoline, diesel or natural gas.
Hydrogen is non-toxic, and because it is much lighter than air, it will dissipate quickly should a leak occur. However, all fuels should be treated with respect, and hydrogen is no different. To ensure that hydrogen is handled responsibly, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has developed international safety standards, while the Canadian Hydrogen Installation Code (CHIC) defines the requirements applicable to the installation of hydrogen equipment.