Integrated Data will Power the Green Hydrogen Age

Optimising production will rely on visibility across the value chain. And it will be down to data transparency and connectivity to power the global green hydrogen network – from early stage engineering development all the way to production and end consumers.

February 15, 2024. By News Bureau

Green hydrogen holds great promise for meeting the world’s future energy needs. Strong demand for hydrogen and the adoption of clean technologies for its production will play a significant role in decarbonising sectors such as heavy industry, manufacturing and transport.
And it needs to with the industrial sector accounting for 23 percent of global emissions in the US alone. Meanwhile, the global hydrogen sector was valued at USD155.35 billion in 2022. It is expected to increase at a compound annual rate of 9.3 percent until 2030. This growth will be driven by surging global electricity demand and the pressing need for cleaner fuels. What’s more, major distributed power and utility projects are predicted to bolster the industry’s growth over the forecast period.
In the future, hydrogen-powered vehicles could improve air quality and promote energy security. Hydrogen can also store energy from renewable sources, making it a crucial component of the transition to a low-carbon economy. Ultimately, a globally sustainable and reliable energy system could be realised through hydrogen, using renewable energy sources instead of fossil fuels like natural gas.
Yet, given the complex perspectives and diverse networks within the global energy ecosystem added to the challenge of reducing the levelized cost of hydrogen (LCOH), a considered, collaborative approach is required. Defining how we best build production facilities and infrastructure, produce, store, transport, and consume green hydrogen needs to encompass all stakeholders. Collaboration will be key.
Optimising production will rely on visibility across the value chain. And it will be down to data transparency and connectivity to power the global green hydrogen network –  from early stage engineering development all the way to production and end consumers.
Shining a light on complexities
Companies around the world are investing USD 25 billion in hydrogen infrastructure, according to a 2022 report by the Hydrogen Council and McKinsey & Company. These investments – through to 2030 – include refueling stations, pipelines, terminals, and ships. Pipeline hydrogen projects are currently part of multibillion-dollar national strategies in Japan, South Korea, and Australia.
This represents a serious commitment to hydrogen. However, on a global level, projects are routinely progressing more slowly than required to achieve 2030 and 2050 goals.
The fastest way to accelerate project feasibility and lower risks is to adopt digital solutions. New software in the engineering space is enabling new technology and processes, as well as new ways of working with increased agility, transparency, and collaboration.
Avoiding the conventional errors and delays of how projects were executed in the past is the only way to be able to design and build new facilities and adapt existing infrastructure attending the desired time frames for the energy transition.
An end-to-end digital engineering approach enables producers to circumnavigate conventional errors and delays and build new facilities and adapt existing infrastructure within much faster timeframes.
A case in point is German engineering giant Thyssenkrupp. It has been commissioned to construct an 88-megawatt water electrolysis plant for Hydro-Québec – one of the largest hydropower suppliers in Canada. The plant will produce 11,100 metric tonnes of green hydrogen annually. Both hydrogen and oxygen, a by-product of the electrolysis process, will be used to produce biofuels for the transportation sector.
Thyssenkrupp’s engineering team is using AVEVA engineering software in green hydrogen plant design, together with AVEVA PI System data to optimise operational design. By using data visualisation tools, Thyssenkrupp is able to improve collaboration, increase operational efficiency and drive sustainability throughout its design process and project execution.
Breaking down barriers
Improving how green hydrogen is processed and used by the consumer will require extrapolating insights from existing projects, learning more about the yields from our most viable technologies, and deciding the role that utility companies will play in tomorrow’s green hydrogen ecosystem.
These complexities and interdependencies across the extended value chain make a compelling case for a new data infrastructure model, one that connects all stakeholders, plant infrastructure, and process chains through enterprise-level visibility and real-time status. Through a strong data-driven approach, the global green hydrogen ecosystem can collectively progress based on its unique traits and circumstances.
Today’s best-in-breed software can go beyond slash cost and optimise hydrogen plant efficiency. By collecting and measuring operational data through embedded IoT devices and incorporating AI-powered digital twins and predictive analytics into their daily operations, organisations can ensure stable, reliable and profitable clean hydrogen supply.
Today’s clean hydrogen economy players must carefully manage how production meets demand, by mastering heavy industrial equipment reliability, and the complexity of balancing green hydrogen (which depends on weather conditions for renewable power generation) and other sources of energy.   
Dominion Energy, a renewable power supplier, transformed its business by sharing data with its customers and partners in the cloud. With this innovative capability, customers can demonstrate they are complying with the environmental commitments using power from renewable sources. This example demonstrates how hydrogen economy players can work together to share relevant information to ensure all parts work together to optimise the entire chain.
Ushering in a new age through data
Green hydrogen and green hydrogen-based fuels are among the most significant sources that industries can use to reduce carbon emissions, drive energy efficiency and mitigate the impacts of energy production. On a worldwide scale, connecting the hydrogen ecosystem through intelligent optimised data creates a path to quicker plant set up, cost-effective operations, and production efficiency.
The global energy ecosystem is making steady progress and the green hydrogen era will test our abilities to make decisions amid the complexities and competing objectives. Integrated data-driven insights and new ways of work are essential to this journey and helping power our net zero future.

- Harpreet Gulati, SVP - Head of PI System Business, AVEVA
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