Hydrogen in a World of Renewable Energy


Although fossil fuels continue to be a major energy source, many countries are focusing on replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy resources. In order to meet emissions targets, governments are putting greater effort into developing and implementing energy sources that are safe for the environment. A recent breakthrough has put society one step closer to leveraging hydrogen power as scientists discovered a cost-effective way to harvest hydrogen from of oil sands.

Making a Shift to Hydrogen?

There is an existing process to extract hydrogen out of oil. However, it’s very expensive. Because of the high cost, hydrogen-powered vehicles are uncommon— even though hydrogen is a cleaner, more efficient transportation fuel than gasoline or diesel.

Under researchers’ new extraction model, even abandoned oil fields can yield hydrogen. Injecting the ground with oxygen causes a reaction that forms hydrogen. The gas is then removed through special filters.

“The only product of this process is hydrogen, meaning that it the technology is effectively pollution and emission free,” says Grant Strem, CEO of Proton Technologies, a company which is commercializing the process.

Not only are emissions and pollution eliminated in the extraction process, existing infrastructure once used to extract oil has the opportunity to serve a new purpose. Giant oil sand reservoirs could become huge sources of hydrogen, rather than fossil fuels. While long-term usability needs to be researched, this new process brings the hope of a greener future.

Expanding Renewable Energy Sources

At the 21st Conference of the Parties, 196 countries announced their intent to lower greenhouse gas emissions and decrease global warming to less than 2℃ by 2050. Smart planning can assist in meeting this goal. Like hydrogen power, renewable energy sources such as solar and wind can make a positive impact. However, the associated infrastructure also impacts the surrounding environment.

“Similar to conventional energy sources, we need to think beyond just the direct footprint of the wind turbine or solar panel and consider the associated structures and roads that renewable energy development brings with it,” says Sharon Baruch-Mordo of the Nature Conservancy. “The total sum of such development causes fragmentation of natural lands at a greater scale and creates disturbances that degrade the habitat.”

Disrupted land is often a better candidate for a wind or solar farm. For example, installing solar panels over parking lots and atop buildings creates positive environmental change. However, clear-cutting a forest in order to build a solar farm or erect wind turbines would have an immediate detrimental effect to the environment.

Create a Greener World

In addition to clean energy generation, leveraging distributed energy resources (DERs) and microgrids can help countries reach their renewable energy goals.

Introduction to IEEE Std 1547-2018: Connecting Distributed Energy Resources is a new course program focused on IEEE Standard 1547-2018. This standard provides technical specifications for interconnection and interoperability between utility electric power systems (EPSs) and distributed energy resources. It also provides requirements relevant to the performance, operation, testing, safety considerations, and maintenance of the interconnection.

Course titles in this program include:

  • Introduction to IEEE Std 1547-2018
  • Power Quality and Voltage Regulation in IEEE Std 1547-2018
  • Response to Area EPS Abnormal Conditions in IEEE Std 1547-2018
  • Islanding and Networks in IEEE Std 1547-2018
  • Interoperability, Info Exchange and Networks, and Protocols in IEEE Std 1547-2018
  • Interconnection: Test and Verification in IEEE Std 1547-2018

Contact an IEEE Content Specialist today to learn more about getting access to these courses for your organization.



(20 August 2019). Renewable energy has space to grow. Physics World.

Fish, Tom. (23 August 2019). Renewable energy breakthrough: Scientists economically extract hydrogen from oil. Express.

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