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Environmental Impact Assessment of Green Hydrogen: A Closer Look at Sustainability

27 March 2024, 10:00 am

Green hydrogen, produced from renewable sources through the process of electrolysis, has been hailed as a green energy solution that holds the potential to revolutionize our global energy landscape. However, any assessment of its environmental impact must consider a myriad of factors, including its life cycle, carbon footprint, and overall sustainability. In this blog, we delve into the critical environmental aspects of green hydrogen production, relying on the latest developments  to hopefully provide a comprehensive view of its ecological implications.

The Life Cycle of Green Hydrogen:

To gauge the environmental impact of green hydrogen, it's essential to conduct a life cycle assessment (LCA) that encompasses every stage of its production, utilisation, and eventual decommissioning. Here's a breakdown of the critical stages:

Electrolysis: Green hydrogen's journey begins with the electrolysis of water, typically powered by renewable energy sources such as wind or solar. This stage's impact largely hinges on the carbon intensity of the energy source.

Transportation and Storage: The transport of hydrogen to its destination and its storage can have environmental consequences. Pipeline transportation is more efficient than other methods, but its construction and maintenance may carry environmental costs.

End-Use Applications: The carbon footprint of green hydrogen largely depends on its application. In sectors like transportation and industry, it can replace fossil fuels, leading to substantial emissions reductions.

Decommissioning: The end of a green hydrogen project should be considered as well, including the disposal or repurposing of infrastructure and equipment.

Key Environmental Benefits:

Carbon Neutrality: Green hydrogen's most significant environmental advantage lies in its potential to be carbon-neutral. If produced with renewable energy, its carbon footprint is minimal, as it only releases water vapor when used.

Reduced Emissions: In applications such as transportation and industry, substituting green hydrogen for fossil fuels can lead to a drastic reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, contributing to climate change mitigation.

Air Quality Improvement: Using green hydrogen in sectors like transportation can significantly reduce harmful air pollutants, enhancing air quality and public health.

Challenges and Complexities:

Energy Source Dependency: The sustainability of green hydrogen production heavily depends on the energy source. If renewable energy is not used for electrolysis, the environmental benefits diminish.

Infrastructure Costs: Building the necessary infrastructure for green hydrogen production and transportation can have ecological consequences, especially if not executed with sustainability in mind.

Water Usage: The electrolysis process requires water, which can pose challenges in water-scarce regions.

Resource Availability: The production of renewable energy technologies, such as solar panels and wind turbines, involves resource extraction and manufacturing processes that may have environmental impacts.


Green hydrogen's environmental impact assessment demonstrates its potential to revolutionize our energy systems by substantially reducing carbon emissions and mitigating climate change. The key lies in ensuring that the production process relies on renewable energy sources, optimizing transportation and storage methods, and embracing sustainability throughout the entire life cycle.

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