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On the Feasibility of Direct Hydrogen Utilisation in a Fossil-free Europe


Hydrogen is often suggested as a universal fuel that can replace fossil fuels. This paper analyses the feasibility of direct hydrogen utilisation in all energy sectors in a 100% renewable energy system for Europe in 2050 using hour-by-hour energy system analysis. Our results show that using hydrogen for heating purposes has high costs and low energy efficiency. Hydrogen for electricity production is beneficial only in limited quantities to restrict biomass consumption, but increases the system costs due to losses. The transport sector results show that hydrogen is an expensive alternative to liquid e-fuels and electrified transport due to high infrastructure costs and respectively low energy efficiency. The industry sector may benefit from hydrogen to reduce biomass at a lower cost than in the other energy sectors, but electrification and e-methane may be more feasible. Seen from a systems perspective, hydrogen will play a key role in future renewable energy systems, but primarily as e-fuel feedstock rather than direct end-fuel in the hard-to-abate sectors.

Funding source: This research was funded by the Innovation Fund Denmark, grant number 6154-00022B, the RE-INVEST project: Renewable Energy Investment Strategies - A two-dimensional interconnectivity approach (, and the sEEnergies project, which has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement No 846463 (https://www.
Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics
Countries: Denmark

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