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The role of Green Hydrogen in the reformulation of the global sustainable energy matrix



You will find in this article:


An intriguing and engaging point of view, with a critical and practical approach, to stimulate ideas and solutions to today's energy challenges. Let's review concepts, review the bases, going beyond corporate marketing, and point the way!



Warming up the turbines...


We have to admit, for a long time, we used energy in an archaic way. It's been a long time since man discovered fire, and this has been our main way of generating energy ever since. Burning, or destroying, is easy, but it has side effects. We were not able to make good use of the thermal energy released and the by-products, which, in general, are harmful to the environment. We should look more at conversion and decomposition, taking inspiration from natural processes, which are much more subtle.


Take, for example, photosynthesis, which converts carbon dioxide molecules into oxygen and gives carbon a noble destination, with the help of a complex and inexhaustible source of energy that is the sun. Molecules such as chlorophyll and melatonin act as catalysts for the subtle reactions of making concentrated energy available.


Reviewing distorted concepts...


First, let's review two concepts that have distorted interpretations in the scientific-industrial-business context, which are “decarbonization” and “green hydrogen”. We should use integrated impact on the environment and society as a labeling criterion. It makes no sense to talk about a decarbonization agenda at any cost (whether economic or environmental side effects). It makes no sense to talk about green or blue hydrogen processes if the process in question is not efficient in technical-economic terms, or if it generates a negative environmental impact in some way. For example, from this point of view, the nuclear fusion of hydrogen is no longer so interesting, as it is expensive, dangerous and aimed essentially at generating heat.


Decarbonizing and using green hydrogen just to please investors and embellish ESG reporting is not fair, it doesn't hold up. Sustainability has to be a choice, not a showcase. What do you mean, a choice? Engineers' mission is to make people's lives easier, using technology to improve society's quality of life, without harming the environment. There are infinite ways to produce technology, to generate energy, to make life easier for society. It cannot be expensive, and it definitely cannot harm the environment.


Why hydrogen?


The interesting thing is that hydrogen (green or not, whatever the label) allows for many energy generation routes. It's very versatile. We can say that it is the way to diversify energy availability in various configurations. Let's take as an example a route that uses the concentrated energy of ethanol, generated by renewable crops, to generate hydrogen, and that will generate electricity for cars (or whatever else is electrified, planes, ships, heavy machinery, agricultural implements, robots, etc.), with by-products like water, some heat and graphite (which goes back into the soil). Interesting, isn't it?! How to get there? How to be efficient? How to compact? How to make it portable? How to make it safe? How to make it cheaper? Keep reading this article ...


How does nature convert matter?


Now, let's remember how the natural processes of generation and accumulation of condensed energy in nature are. Petroleum, for example, is generated from organic matter under the action of high pressure, temperature and time. Our body's movement is propelled by energy stored in the form of fat (at our waist 😊), which came from food, which in turn came from the soil, and which received sun. There were several chemical reactions of conversion of matter and energy, which assumed different forms, some more stable, others not, ignited, accelerated or catalyzed by the conditions of the medium.


The secret is the medium...


Here is the key point: the secret is in the conditions of the medium where the chemical reaction takes place! Traditionally, industry (and nature) already uses catalysts and already controls the conditions of the medium (pressure, temperature, humidity, pH, etc.). Zeolites are the stars in this regard. They have a large surface area, mineral molecules naturally found in volcanic formations, and may include some synthetic additives. They are also called molecular sieves, as they sequester, or let pass, or exchange certain molecules in a reaction, greatly reducing the energy required for conversion. That is, it is not necessary to use brute force to perform the conversion. To better explain the role of the medium (catalysts, temperature, etc., or rather, field variables) in reactions, it's like when you want to enter any house: you can use brute force, break down the door, engage in a brawl with whoever is inside, or you can establish an affinity and be invited in gently.



The power of catalysts...


Still on zeolites: What do these volcanic and/or synthetic minerals have in common? These minerals are in crystalline form. The crystalline structure of crystal molecules is like a set of complex springs that can assume specific vibrations, which interact directly in resonance (vibrational affinity) with the molecules we want to convert, facilitating this conversion with less energy use. Not just with zeolites... Catalysts, in general, such as chlorophyll and melatonin, and many others, have the ability to have a selective vibrational affinity for a certain type of molecules and atoms.



How to boost conversion...


We can control the conditions of the medium, not only the traditional ones like temperature, pressure, pH, concentrations, but also the electric field, the magnetic orientation of molecules, the level of agglomeration (clusters) of molecules in solution, irradiation of resonant electromagnetic waves (microwaves, etc.) or sound waves (ultrasound, etc.), ionization, surface treatments (specific layers, electrochemical deposition, etc.), fluid dynamics processes (turbulence, vacuum, centrifugation, selective filtration, etc.), operational cycling (pressure, temperature, concentration, electrical voltage or magnetic field, etc.). These are the effects called accelerators or conversion boosters.



Conclusion


Hydrogen, being the simplest molecule, has a lot of molecular connection versatility, and results in more control (or assertiveness) of the reaction products. All materials dense in chemical or electrochemical energy (not just hydrocarbons) have hydrogen in their composition, or react with hydrogen. Thus, we can say that it plays a crucial role in remodeling our energy matrix, from portable and mobile devices to large industrial facilities. And the catalysts based on crystalline minerals consequently as well.


As a final message, we suggest that we focus our scientific and technological attention more on vibration and less on matter, more on silicon and less on carbon * !



“If you want to understand the Universe, think about energy, frequency and vibration.”

Nikola Tesla


* Let's say that silicon, the base of crystalline mineral structures, presents a much more versatile crystalline structure than that of carbon, being able to generate more geometric patterns of molecular arrangements, with many more degrees of freedom, which results in richer vibrational patterns, or complex electromagnetic radiation, which consequently provide more versatile catalysts and easier energy conversions.



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