Environmental Impact of Hydrogen Fuel: Yin and Yang
Hydrogen is expected to play a critical role in the move to a net-zero economy.
However, large-scale deployment is still in its infancy, and there is much to be done before we can blend hydrogen in large volumes into gas networks and ramp up the production that is required to meet demands of the energy, transport and industry sectors. An example of the complex roadmap for end to end hydrogen economy is the from the Henry Royce Institute. Molecular modeling experts make significant contributions to the search for hydrogen storage materials and development of hydrogen fuel cells.
Yin and Yang: the dark side
Expansion of hydrogen fuel usage is expected to have a net positive effect on environment; however, there is a potential “dark side” to this expansion.
For example, part of the hydrogen energy system is liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHCs) for transportation and distribution. They have clear advantages over conventional energy systems – except that the actual impacts on environment of possible leakages of LOHCs are still unclear.
Can the technology be at the same time environment-friendly and environment-damaging?
Michael Diedenhofen from BIOVIA Solvation Chemistry team collaborated with University of Bremen scientists to assess LOHCs exposure, mobility and possibility to reach surface water, groundwater or drinking water sources. Their results are presented in the open access publication: Zhang et al., Green Chemistry 22 (2020) 6519.
Thirteen promising LOHC candidates were characterized experimentally and computationally.
BIOVIA COSMOTherm tools were used to predict organic carbon–water partition coefficients, and then divide compounds into mobility classes.