Natural Gas, Nuclear and Hydrogen
Loyola de Palacio Series on European Energy Policy
Julián Barquín and Ignacio Pérez-Arriaga INTRODUCTION Today’s energy systems are based on the use of fossil fuels, which presently provide for about 80 percent of the total world energy needs (IEA, 2007a). As a consequence, the energy system is both unsustainable and prone to security of supply concerns. Indeed, fossil fuel combustion is thought to be the main cause of climate change (IPPC, 2007). Furthermore, Europe is highly dependent on imported fossil fuels, and in particular on oil and natural gas, from sources not always reliable. The ultimate amount of reserves is also uncertain, although substantial depletion of oil is expected before mid-century (IEA, 2007b). Most likely, any solution will require the use of a wide portfolio of technological and policy options. Hydrogen technologies have been proposed as a part of this portfolio, potentially addressing two important issues: storage of energy from intermittent energy sources and provision of an alternative fuel for transportation (Sherif et al., 2005). This chapter is mainly based on the CESSA conference ‘Prospects for a European Hydrogen Economy’ presentations and discussions. The conference was held in Madrid, April 14–15, 2008. However, the authors are exclusively responsible for its content. The rest of the chapter is organized as follows. The next section discusses the reasons that support the development of hydrogen technologies. Sections 3, 4 and 5 focus, respectively, on hydrogen production, infrastructure development and final use. Section 6 deals with research and development issues. Finally, Section 7 concludes. 2 WHY A HYDROGEN...
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