In the next ten years, global emissions need to be cut by as much as 50%. The global push towards net-zero is putting pressure in the hydrocarbon space to set tangible and actionable decarbonization pathways to reach short- and long-term sustainability goals.
As we inch towards net-zero, it’s important to acknowledge the evolving decarbonization pathways that involve alternate fuels, emerging energy systems, and new solutions for carbon capture. However, in dealing with these pathways, pragmatism is still key to ensure the smooth transition towards the long-term goal of cleaner energy.
The opportunity in hydrogen
Hydrogen is a very versatile fuel that has a variety of use cases from transportation to heating to long-term energy storage. It can even serve as an energy vector to other green chemicals such as ammonia and methanol. Green hydrogen has a massive global opportunity expected to be worth $11 trillion by 2050, according to Goldman Sachs.
If the opportunity is there, why isn’t the industry rushing to adapt?
One of the critical barriers to the successful transition towards hydrogen is the lack of infrastructure that can enable global-scale synthesis, as well as the capacity to store, transport, and distribute hydrogen. At a business perspective, building the infrastructure is highly dependent on intensive planning and approvals which can be both time and cost-sensitive.
Before hydrogen can be used for power, it must be converted, stored, and made fit for transport with the careful consideration of leaks for safety and efficient handling. The question of infrastructure can somewhat be answered through existing natural gas pipeline networks. With some modification, existing pipelines can be used to transport a blend of natural gas and hydrogen.
Several countries in the EU allow for between 2% to 6% of hydrogen to be blended with natural gas. Emerson is working with customers to provide fully integrated solutions that help in the blending of hydrogen into existing natural gas transmission networks which require highly accurate measurement (Coriolis), and precise control (Pressure Regulators / Control Valves) to carefully tune blend ratios.
As demand for hydrogen grows, the industry is poised to accelerate the scale of its production. The Middle East region is home to one of the largest hydrogen development projects globally and is well-positioned to become a leading hub for blue hydrogen due to advantageous feedstock of natural gas, lower energy costs, and reservoir suitability for CO2 geo-sequestration.
Emerson’s automation technologies help design the right automation strategy around large-scale electrolysis through homogenous smart devices and control system architectures that suit the modular nature of these developments, along with Digital Twin and collaborative tools that allow developers to scale green hydrogen developments by accelerating their learning curves.
The role of carbon capture and geo-sequestration
Carbon capture is an important aspect of brownfield decarbonization projects as it both contributes to reducing emissions at a site level and is critical in the production of blue hydrogen.
Carbon capture presents complex engineering challenges that require robust solutions and the application of deep industry expertise to ensure projects are executed successfully and maintained safely over time. Carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technologies are an essential part of creating a more sustainable future for companies and people around the world. In fact, to achieve net-zero emissions, CCUS capacity must increase by more than a hundredfold by 2050 – or about 2,000+ CCUS facilities. While the traditional methods for carbon capture are well understood, the challenge lies in applying those technologies as effectively and economically as possible to attract investment.
Emerson’s advanced measurement, control and automation solutions and software can help accelerate and optimize large-scale hydrogen developments, and carbon capture, utilization and sequestration developments. The transition to a new energy landscape will require a reimagining of existing infrastructure and applying automation solutions.
Emerson’s presence at this year’s ADIPEC 2022 highlights these technology approaches that can be leveraged as we usher in the new era of energy. Talk to one of our subject matter experts at our stand to learn more. Sign up here to speak to us at ADIPEC 2022.