Over the past few years, car manufacturers have been mobilizing to find effective and greener solutions with the aim of replacing combustion engines and achieving the targets on carbon emissions set by the European Union for 2025. In addition, the automotive market has seen the growth and the exponential development of electric battery vehicles to the detriment of those powered by hydrogen, even if the latter technology has the advantage of requiring less time for refueling than that used by electric cars. In order to promote the development of hydrogen batteries, car manufacturers Hyundai and Audi have recently decided to sign an agreement that allows them to freely access the respective technologies – covered by patents – and to share components, such as the new parts developed by Audi, which is responsible for the hydrogen fuel cell technology of the Volkswagen Group, one of the largest car manufacturers in the world. Finally, Hyundai hopes that with this new agreement, the production costs of these vehicles will be reduced, thus increasing the demand for hydrogen cars and seeing this technology profitable.
According to a recent study published by the consulting firm Ecofys – and commissioned by the Gas for Climate consortium – 25% of the current natural gas consumption in Europe can be replaced by renewable gas by 2050. The research has identified the role of the latter in a completely decarbonized energy system, and it has assumed that, in within thirty years, all the European countries will have concentrated their resources on the production from renewable sources and on the adoption CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) and CCU (Carbon Capture and Utilization) systems for traditional electrical installations. Thus, the net carbon emissions will be equal zero. Furthermore, the authors of the research have calculated that renewable gas production can be increased to 122 billion cubic meters per year by 2050. In addition, if not considering the industrial sector, it would be enough to use only 72 billion cubic meters out of 122 total in order to heat buildings and to produce electricity that can be used in times of peak energy demand, saving up to 138 billion euros. Finally, the study provides an estimate of the sustainable production potential of biomethane in the European Union: by 2050 it will be equal to 98 billion cubic meters (1072 TWh) of energy per year, while the production of renewable hydrogen, which uses wind and photovoltaic energy, will be 24 billion cubic meters.