At the turn of the century, there was a lot of buzz around hydrogen. Back then, Canada had been testing uses that run on hydrogen fuel cells. Gordon Campbell even promised us a “hydrogen highway” as a zero-emissions public transportation system. As we all know, this did not come to fruition.
But why are we hearing about hydrogen again? And why did the buzz die down? You see, hydrogen is only found combined with other elements on earth. This means that it has to be unlocked from water, methane, or other sources. Commercial hydrogen mostly comes from fossil fuels that use heat and chemicals. The electrolytic process can be used to obtain it from water as well. Hydrogen needs new infrastructure and a lot of energy before it can be used as fuel.
At the moment, Canada’s Hydrogen Strategy said that a “clean hydrogen economy” is “a strategic priority.” Green hydrogen, which comes from the splitting of water, is a cleaner alternative to grey hydrogen from “steam methane reforming.” Unfortunately, the latter accounts for approximately 95% of hydrogen on the market worldwide. Suppose we can turn to the greener alternative. In that case, future generations will be able to reap its environmental and financial benefits.