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Green Hydrogen Production: Integrating Environmental and Social Criteria to Ensure Sustainability


Hydrogen is experiencing an unprecedented global hype. Hydrogen is globally discussed as a possible future energy carrier and regarded as the urgently needed building block for the much needed carbon-neutral energy transition of hard-to-abate sectors to mitigate the effects of global warming. This article provides synthesised, measurable sustainability criteria for analysing green hydrogen production proposals and strategies. Drawn from expert interviews and an extensive literature review this article proposes that a sustainable hydrogen production should consider six impact categories; Energy transition, Environment, Basic needs, Socio-economy, Electricity supply, and Project planning. The categories are broken down into sixteen measurable sustainability criteria, which are determined with related indicators. The article concludes that low economic costs can never be the only decisive criterion for the hydrogen production; social aspects must be integrated along the entire value chain. The compliance with the criteria may avoid social and ecological injustices in the planning of green hydrogen projects and increases inter alia the social welfare of the affected population.

Funding source: This work was supported by the Schleswig-Holstein Ministry of Education and Training, Science, Research and Culture (MBWFK) and the Gesellschaft für Energie und Klimaschutz Schleswig-Holstein (EKSH).
Related subjects: Production & Supply Chain
Countries: Germany

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