The sectors of Buildings & Industry offer the most effective leverage for the achievement of climate neutrality via sector coupling. Apart from heating buildings with electric power from green sources this sector also comprises the replacement of fossil fuels and reaction agents with electricity and climate neutral hydrogen.
Electricity can be converted into heat very efficiently. In order to become climate neutral, electricity must be generated from renewable sources like wind, solar or water. As most renewable energy sources are very volatile, the storage of energy plays in important role. Smaller amounts of energy up to some MWh can efficiently be stored in batteries, but in order to offer supply security for millions of people storage possibilities of several TWh are needed. Hydrogen stored in a pipeline network with connected salt cavern storage sites is ideally suited for fulfilling that demand.
Steel is one of the few fully recyclable materials available. Its carbon footprint, nowadays around 5-8% of the global CO2 emissions are generated there, can be significantly reduced by using renewable electricity for smelting and heat treatment. Furthermore, hydrogen can replace coke as a reducing agent in the steel production.
Comparable to steel, the cement industry also is responsible for a large share of global CO2 emissions. By replacing natural gas by hydrogen in the production process, curbing large amounts of emissions is possible.
Another good example is the glass industry, where hydrogen can both be used as the energy carrier and the oxidation inhibitor for the production process.
CHP plants nowadays often consist of internal combustion engine (ICE) driven generators running on biogas. From the raw energy put into the system, they produce around 35% power and 65% heat. When using hydrogen driven Fuel Cells instead, this ratio can be inverted and, even more important, the emissions coming out of the ICE are replaced with pure water. Additionally, such systems ensure very low noise emissions and are ideally suited for independent power supply.