Hydrogen holds hope for many nations as they seek to implement the Paris Agreement and its decarbonisation targets. Pakistan has recognised the potential also. There are several properties that make hydrogen an excellent energy vector and its deployment is complimentary to an energy mix that is high in renewables.
Generation of electrical power from renewable sources such as wind, solar and hydro schemes is subject to weather patterns, daily sunlight profiles and seasonal rainfall. However, the demand pattern for electricity consumption follows different daily and annual cycles. Hydrogen can be combined synergistically with these renewable power sources to bridge the gaps between supply and demand.
Hydrogen is a clean burning fuel with zero carbon dioxide emissions. When it is produced from renewable power it can contribute both to improvements in ambient air quality and a reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. When used on power generation plants to substitute coal, oil or natural gas there is the opportunity to decarbonise electricity generation and re-life existing assets.
For heating, cooking and CNG mobility applications, hydrogen can be ad-mixed into the existing natural gas distribution pipelines to reduce pollutant gas emissions from these applications. With a transition to fuel cell vehicles, hydrogen for transportation applications on urban trains, heavy trucks and buses can reduce pollution in Pakistan’s major cities such as Karachi and Lahore, each of which is home to more than 10 million people.
With abundant potential for wind, solar and hydroelectric power generation, Pakistan can also look forward to ‘energy-autonomy’ through the conversion of renewables to green hydrogen on electrolysers. Perhaps Pakistan can transition from being a net energy importer to becoming an exporter of green hydrogen or derivatives such as ammonia or methanol.
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