Hydrogen as an Energy Carrier

Clean, safe solution for global decarbonization

Energy Security
Addresses the cyclical nature of renewables and strengthens energy security with orders-of-magnitude greater energy density compared with batteries.
Can be utilized in various ways in many sectors requiring energy storage, transport, heat, and chemical feedstocks.
Wide Use
Offers ways to decarbonize a range of sectors—including long-haul transport, chemicals, and iron and steel—where reducing emissions is difficult.

As the world urgently seeks to tackle CO2 emissions, renewable energy and electrified mobility are accelerating global electrification. Hydrogen is an ideal solution to decarbonization challenges.

Hydrogen as an energy carrier

  • produces zero emissions at point of use
  • can be stored and transported at high energy density in liquid or gaseous form
  • can be combusted or used in fuel cells to generate heat and electricity
  • produces pure water as a by-product.
hydrogen molecule with a bus driving down a road
Clean hydrogen as an energy carrier has huge advantages in a range of industries, including long-haul transport.

Today, global hydrogen production stands at more than 70 million tonne but largely from fossil fuels. Global hydrogen demand is forecast to increase fourfold from 2019 to 2050.

Unprecedented momentum for hydrogen

Hydrogen has strong policy backing as ambitious decarbonization targets unfold around the world. As governments develop specific hydrogen strategies, and the costs of technologies fall, investments in the hydrogen sector continue to expand.

Extraction techniques and classifications

Hydrogen can be extracted from fossil fuels and biomass, from water, or a mix of both. Today, 75% of the world’s 70-million-tonne hydrogen production comes from natural gas—or 6% of global natural gas use. Gas is followed by coal, which plays a dominant role in China. Finally, a small fraction of hydrogen is produced from oil or electricity.

Currently, hydrogen production methods are commonly classified by “colors”:

  • grey hydrogen from natural gas or brown hydrogen from coal—hydrogen created from resources that are high emitters
  • blue hydrogen from natural gas or coal, with CO2 captured from the process stream, the combustion of flue gases, or both—hydrogen created combined with forms of carbon capture and sequestration
  • green, or clean, hydrogen—hydrogen created using low-carbon power and water, resulting in net-zero energy vector.
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Green, gray, blue, and brown hydrogen production processes. Clean (green) hydrogen is produced by separating water into hydrogen and oxygen via electrolysis.

Electrolysis for clean hydrogen

The unique clean/green hydrogen is produced by separating water into hydrogen and oxygen via electrolysis. Solid oxide electrolyzers using ceramic (solid oxide) cells have higher conversion efficiency compared with other forms of electrolysis, such as alkaline or proton-exchange-membrane (PEM) technologies. The global electrolysis market is expected to grow over 40 times from 2019 to 2023, as ambitious decarbonization projects are launched. Gigafactories will become the norm.

Chart showing the energy transition forecast from 1990-2050
DNV GL’s Energy Transition Outlook 2020 forecast that rapid electrification, dominated by solar photovoltaics and wind, will transform the energy mix.
Chart showing the energy transition forecast from 1990-2050

It is expected that, by 2050, renewables will heavily increase their share in the energy mix to more than 40%. With such a large share of renewables in the mix, energy carriers like hydrogen will be needed to transfer this decarbonized primary energy to the energy demand while effectively balancing the intermittency and inflexibility of generating sources.

In this regard, Schlumberger recognizes green hydrogen as a critical path to supplying our energy needs, fueling heavy transportation, and serving industries with no other economically viable alternative to fossil fuels. Combined with renewable electricity, green hydrogen will contribute toward achieving the net-zero ambitions already set by many countries and companies.

Schlumberger New Energy approach to hydrogen as an energy carrier

We believe that hydrogen is a critical energy carrier that will enable countries to meet their decarbonization ambitions. In the next 30 years, hydrogen production could account for 20% of total energy demand.

Schlumberger New Energy is collaborating with strategic partners to foster the new ecosystem needed to accelerate the development and industrialization of affordable, clean hydrogen production. Building on technologies developed by the CEA over the last decade, we have ambitious growth plans for technology that will change the way clean hydrogen is produced.

The partnership brings together outstanding science and advanced engineering to accelerate the development of a core technology to unlock affordable hydrogen production, energy storage, and fuel applications at scale.

Genvia, a Clean Hydrogen Technology Venture
Genvia will participate in a series of demonstration projects with partners in different use cases for the industrial, energy, and mobility sectors. These demonstration projects will pave the way for the development of the full value chain for the utilization of hydrogen as the clean energy carrier of choice. The different demonstration projects are expected to range from 300-kW systems in 2023 to larger systems with megawatt capacities in 2024.
Visit Genvia

Collaborating for clean hydrogen production

Genvia, a clean hydrogen production technology venture, aims to achieve the highest system efficiency using significantly less electricity per kilogram of hydrogen produced than is possible with current technologies. The Genvia technology is the first of its kind with the flexibility to switch between electrolysis and fuel cell functions.

The new venture will accelerate the development and first industrial deployment of the CEA high-temperature reversible solid oxide electrolyzer technology—the most efficient and cost-effective technology for clean hydrogen production.

Leveraging Schlumberger technology industrialization experience, the first Genvia manufacturing pilot line will be established at a Schlumberger manufacturing facility in Béziers, France in 2021. Genvia will also set up a Technology Center colocated with the CEA in Grenoble, France to fast-track industrialization and the maturing of the technology.

chart showing hydrogen production via electrolysis
Solid oxide Genvia technology will be underpinned by competitive durability and low manufacturing cost.
chart showing hydrogen production via electrolysis
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