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Hydrogen is expected to provide 24% of global energy supply by 2050 – but making it requires a lot of water. For World Water Day – we’ll take you through everything you need to know about water’s importance in the future energy revolution.

Hydrogen is produced by splitting the molecules in water – transforming H2O into hydrogen (H2) and oxygen (O2). When this process is powered by renewable energy sources such as solar power – this is known as “green” hydrogen and is a completely emissions-free alternative to fossil fuels.

Hydrogen is therefore expected to play a colossal role in powering the transition to renewable energy around the world – and countries like Australia, China, South Korea and Japan are leading the way in this energy revolution.

The only catch? Making this much hydrogen requires a lot of water. The countries that are expected to produce the most hydrogen are also the driest – such as Australia.

One solution to solve this problem is using wastewater. An analysis of Sydney’s wastewater indicates that there are around 37.6 million litres of potential water unused throughout the entire city.

This excess water – once cleaned and sterilized – is estimated to be able to generate 100% of Australia’s hydrogen power by 2030. This would mean protecting countries’ water supply while creating green hydrogen, a win-win for environmental and water protection.

Renewable energy production and decarbonization pose several challenges for the world’s water supply. Copper mining (used for wind and solar power) is extremely water intensive, and nuclear power uses billions of litres of water every year. Hydrogen power and fuel cell stacks, on the other hand, offer a clean, efficient and potentially water-neutral solution.

Interested in learning more about fuel cell stacks? Check out our Horizon Guide to Buying a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Stack.

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