Will mass production of green hydrogen impact water availability?

Last updated: 31/01/2023

Green hydrogen is produced by splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen via electrolysis using renewable electricity. While some have questioned whether this can put pressure on clean water availability, this study from ACS, along with others, shows that transition from a "fossil fuels" economy to a "green hydrogen" economy may actually lead to water savings:

- The amount of water required to produce the projected amount of hydrogen to achieve net zero will be minimal compared with usage from other sectors such as agriculture.

- It is in fact going to be at least 33% less than the amount required by the current fossil fuel energy production activity that it is replacing.

Annual water consumption by sector

Graph based on data from https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsenergylett.1c01375

In addition, studies are being carried out to explore the additional benefits of green hydrogen production such as:

- Using wastewater as a source of hydrogen production water; eliminating the need to compete for clean water demand, while at the same time improving the wastewater treatment process.

- Countries with water scarcity problems addressing their water shortage issue through hydrogen.

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