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WIREs Energy Environ.

The role of hydrogen in a global sustainable energy strategy

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This paper reviews the role envisaged for hydrogen energy within the context of global and national ‘sustainable’ energy strategies, that is, strategies seeking to address climate change imperatives and guarantee energy security. The focus is on studies conducted over the past 5 years. Reviews are provided in turn of the International Energy Agency's World Energy Outlook 2012; the 2012 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's special report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation; one of the first spatially disaggregated energy‐economic modeling studies of the role of hydrogen in a national economy using the MARKAL model; and a recent study into whether the world can rely just on energy efficiency and renewable energy alone. Some general guidelines for integrating hydrogen into sustainable energy futures are proposed. Key challenges facing hydrogen energy and technologies are identified and ways to overcome these barriers are suggested. Finally, some positive recent developments indicating that hydrogen energy might be on the verge of a comeback are described. WIREs Energy Environ 2014, 3:474–489. doi: 10.1002/wene.103

Ranges of potential contribution to global energy supply of the main renewable energy (RE) technologies (Ref , p. 12). (Reproduced with permission from Ref . Copyright 2012, Cambridge University Press)
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The estimated high‐volume production and delivery costs for hydrogen produced from a range of distributed and centralized renewable energy (RE), fossil fuel, and nuclear fission power sources (Ref , p. I–5). (Reproduced from Ref 14. With credit to the U.S. Department of Energy Hydrogen and Fuel Cells Program)
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A schematic illustration of the proposed hierarchy of sustainable hydrogen centers showing the principal renewable energy (RE) inputs to each type of center, the local hydrogen distribution system, and the interconnection of higher‐order centers via the main electricity grid (Ref , p. 1188). (Reproduced with permission from Ref . Copyright 2012, Hydrogen Energy Publications, LLC)
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The mix of renewable energy (RE) sources proposed by Jacobson and Delucchi to meet the total global energy demand in 2030 (Ref , p. 1193). (Reproduced with permission from Ref. . Copyright 2012, Hydrogen Energy Publications, LLC.)
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Transport sector fuel mix in the reference scenario (Ref , p. 1215). (Reproduced with permission from Ref. . Copyright 2013, Hydrogen Energy Publications, LLC)
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Ranges in recent levelized costs of energy for selected commercially available renewable energy (RE) technologies in comparison to recent nonrenewable energy costs. Technology subcategories and discount rates were aggregated for this figure (Ref 7, p. 14). Notes: Medium values are shown for the following subcategories, sorted in the order as they appear in the respective ranges (from left to right): Electricity: 1. Biomass (cofiring; small scale combined heat and power; CHP: gasification internal combustion engine; direct dedicated stoker & CHP; small scale CHP: steam turbine; small‐scale CHP: organic Rankine cycle); 2. solar electricity (concentrating solar power; utility‐scale PV: one‐axis and fixed tilt; commercial rooftop PV; residential rooftop PV); 3. geothermal electricity (condensing flash plant; binary cycle plant); 4. hydropower (All types); 5. wind electricity (onshore and off shore). Heat: 1. Biomass heat (municipal solid waste‐based CHP; anaerobic digestion‐based CHP; steam turbine CHP; domestic pellet heating system); 2. solar thermal heat (domestic hot water systems in China; water and space heating); 3. geothermal heat (greenhouses; uncovered aquaculture ponds; district heating; geothermal heat pumps; geothermal building heating). Transport fuel: 1. Biofuels (corn ethanol; soy biodiesel; wheat ethanol; sugarcane ethanol; palm oil biodiesel). The lower range of the levelized cost of energy for each RE technology is based on a combination of the most favorable input values, whereas the upper range is based on a combination of the least favorable input values. Reference ranges in the figure background for nonrenewable electricity options are indicative of the levelized cost of centralized nonrenewable electricity generation. Reference ranges for heat are indicative of recent costs for oil and gas based heat supply options. Reference ranges for transport fuels are based on recent crude oil spot prices of USD 40–130/barrel and corresponding diesel and gasoline costs, excluding taxes. (Reproduced with permission from Ref . Copyright 2012, Cambridge University Press)
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