Hydrogen and green hydrogen can be valid answers to global warming. In their production, water treatment plays a key role.

While the energy landscape is dramatically changing, reducing CO2 emissions is essential to avoid dramatic environmental consequences.

Although oil and natural gas will continue to play an essential role in our energy mix, according to several studies, hydrogen can become a crucial element in accelerating the energy transition and generating significant socio-economic and environmental benefits.

As an energy vector, hydrogen is potentially available in large quantities and burns with zero carbon emissions, in addition to:

  • being non-toxic nor corrosive;
  • not contaminating water or causing damage to nature or the environment
  • having the highest energy density per kilogram compared to natural gas and fuel oil
  • having the ability to be produced and burnt in a CO2 neutral way

Green hydrogen – an emission-free hydrogen

Not all hydrogen is the same. Today’s most hydrogen is so-called “grey hydrogen”, produced primarily from fossil fuels.

However, there is another hydrogen that is 100% sustainable, called green hydrogen, deriving from the electrolysis of water in special electrochemical cells powered by electricity produced from renewable sources.

The importance of tailor-made water treatment

Water plays a vital role in the production of green hydrogen: renewable electricity is used to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, employing about 9m3 (9,000 liters) of purified H2O required for each ton of H2

According to a Rystad Energy study, almost 85% of the planned green hydrogen projects will be built in water-stressed regions such as Spain, Chile, and Australia. This amounts to roughly 520 million cubic meters per year of purified water.

Lack of access to purified water could spell the death of a potential green hydrogen project.

A typical process for purified water production includes:

  • Pre-treatment: it is used to prepare water for the following treatments, mainly removing solid and organic contaminants and can be more or less complex depending on the water source (well, surface or sea).
  • Ion Removal: the pre-treated water needs to be treated to remove ions and dissolved salts, commonly through membrane processes. Based on the water source, the section can have a very severe impact on the overall water balance, like seawater desalination.
  • Polishing: this is the final step and consists of removing residual contaminants and dissolved ions, typically through membrane systems, until the required water quality for feeding the Electrolyzers is met.

With its vast experience in industrial water treatment, Cannon Artes’ solutions can maximize the efficiency of the water treatment plant and minimize or re-use the effluents, contributing to the successful development of these projects.