The transformation of the heating sector is complex and will take time. This makes technologies that use existing technologies all the more interesting. The future lies in renewable gaseous energy sources, not only biogas but also hydrogen. This is not only because gas is easy to store and transport, but also because the associated systems are easily scalable.
Transition to Green Gases
Already today, the heating sector is based on gaseous sources of energy. In order to reduce emissions in this sector, many of the current measures focus on a more efficient use of heat and on replacing fossil fuels with electricity-based heat production – for example, through the use of heat pumps. However, a complete switch to an electricity-based heat sector is not feasible in the long term: the supply of electricity from renewables is insufficient and the areas of application for heat pumps are also limited. To achieve sustainable decarbonisation of the sector, renewable gaseous energy sources must therefore be incorporated. Apart from biogas, there is also great potential in green hydrogen and possible downstream products. Their advantage: gaseous energy sources are easy to transport and store for future use and access.
Moreover, existing infrastructure can be used for the transport of hydrogen under certain conditions. It is conceivable to mix hydrogen with natural gas, but also to use pipelines exclusively for hydrogen.
Due to its complexity, the transformation of the heating sector must be conducted over an extended time period. Hydrogen is already being examined and considered in this context.
Stationary Power Supply
Fuel cells are very suitable for stationary energy supply. Because of the storability of hydrogen there are also interesting possible applications for fuel cell technology in the stationary area. The flexible scalability of the technology allows the field of application to span from small systems for domestic energy supply right up to large systems for industrial applications. These systems are not necessarily reliant on existing infrastructure. Combined with decentralized electricity and hydrogen production, even fully autarchic operation is possible. This can be attractive for radio and telecommunications systems.
In the heating sector, there are already fuel cell heating systems sold by various manufacturers. Apart from the electricity, the waste heat generated is also used to maximise utilisation efficiency. These systems are normally operated with natural gas, which is converted to hydrogen through internal reforming. For decarbonisation, operation with pure hydrogen is also problem-free.