Hydrogen and electric systems are currently the most used and developed technologies to meet the energy needs of the future. Heavy batteries, in which dozens of chemicals are used, are needed to store electricity. But hydrogen has no such problem. Like fossil fuels, hydrogen can be converted into liquid form and stored.
In nature, hydrogen is found in water and it is not possible to use it purely. A start-up company in Germany is working to solve the world’s energy problem of “green hydrogen”, which is produced without causing emissions, and to make this technology accessible to everyone.
Born in New Caledonia, an island country in the Pacific Ocean, entrepreneur Vaitea Cowan is a firm believer in green hydrogen technology. Three years ago, Cowan invested in this technology with the start-up company Enapter in Germany, trying to expand the use of hydrogen fuel obtained in sustainable ways.
Cowan’s goal is quite remarkable for his country: “I aim to replace all diesel generators in New Caledonia with hydrogen systems. I want to end dependence on dirty fossil fuels in remote geographies of the world.”
Cowan says he wants to be a part of this change after discovering “green hydrogen”, that is, hydrogen technology obtained from renewable sources, and that there is great potential in these systems.
Operating at its headquarters in Germany, Enapter has contributed to 100 projects in 33 different countries with its “ion exchange layer electrolyzer” (a device that separates dissolved chemical compounds in liquid) system. This technology uses electricity obtained from renewable sources to convert it into hydrogen fuel, which is also environmentally friendly.
This system performs electricity-hydrogen conversion much faster than conventional ones. The AEM electrolyzers developed by the company are already used in different areas such as refueling automobiles and airplanes, industrial systems and home heating.
Enapter’s hydrogen generators recently won the Prince William Earthshot Award in the “Fix Our Climate” category.
What is green hydrogen?
Hydrogen, which is at the top of the periodic table and has atomic number 1, makes up 75 percent of the mass of the universe and is the most abundant element in the universe. In addition, hydrogen, the most volatile and flammable element in the world, is not found in pure form in nature.
Hydrogen means “water-forming” in Greek and can be produced in liquid form by electrolysis of water. “Green hydrogen” also means, as a concept, “the production of liquid hydrogen from water using electricity obtained in sustainable ways.
Although liquid hydrogen technology is environmentally friendly, it is criticized by some circles. Because the efficiency of liquid hydrogen is relatively low and its production is a little more expensive than other technologies. However, the Enapter company solves this problem with its AEM electrolyzers and enables the production of “green hydrogen” even at home.
‘The energy needs of a house can be met for days with half of the water used in a siphon shot’
Enapter’s AEM electrolyzers use about 2.4 liters of water to convert it to hydrogen. This amount of hydrogen can meet the energy needs of a house for days.
In Enapter’n technology, meeting the energy needs of the house can be extended or shortened according to the energy storage capacity. However, the system uses almost half of the 5 liters of water used in a short flush. This amount is almost equal to 1/8th of the water used by a dishwasher (approximately 20 liters).
Enapter became known worldwide after the hydrogen systems it developed won the Prince William Earthshot Award and attracted the attention of investors. Thanks to this award, the company had the opportunity to mass-produce AEM electrolyzers.
Vaitea Cowan states that they started production 6 weeks ago and they plan to start mass production in early 2023.
Enapter company’s goals are big. It aims to produce “liquid green hydrogen” in the world by 2050 with its own systems.