Hydrogen, the fuel of the future?

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What is hydrogen and why is it so important for the world?

As the most abundant element in the universe, thankfully hydrogen is one thing we’ll never be able to run out of, and could eventually replace oil-derived fuels. The difficulty in working with it can be broken down into 3 main parts; production, storage and end use.

Solar and wind are already proving they can replace fossil fuels as the main source of our electricity, but what they can’t do (yet) is provide the fuel at enough scale to decarbonise heavy end users like the transport sector. 

Hydrogen and fuel cell technologies are where a significant part of the solution might lie. As a fuel, hydrogen produces zero emissions at the point of use. It can be stored as a liquid or a gas, be used as feedstock for chemical industries, fuel cells to generate electricity and heat, all things which combined could see a huge step towards a “net zero” world.

Right now, most hydrogen is produced as an industrial by-product of natural gas, known as “grey” hydrogen. Owing to the low global price of natural gas, grey hydrogen is the cheapest.

Slightly cleaner, although considerably more expensive, is “blue” hydrogen which is when the carbon emissions are captured and either stored or reused, which is the cause of the cost increase.

The ideal solution is what is known as “green” hydrogen, produced by renewable energy sources.

The global hydrogen economy is estimated to be worth $2.5 trillion by 2050, supporting 30 million jobs. The European Commission is also creating a hydrogen strategy, which includes plans for multi-billion euro investment in hydrogen projects, and schemes to boost sales of hydrogen electric vehicles.

The upshot of this is a rapidly growing employment market, which needs skilled professionals to cover every part of what is a highly technical industry.  As the manpower services provider of choice to many companies in the renewable energy and natural resources world, Brunel is ideally placed to help companies with their delivery challenges.

Careers in Hydrogen

With every growing industry comes a demand for new skills, and the creation of new jobs, but that doesn't mean the right skills don't already exist in a lot of cases.

Developing facilities to produce, transport and store hydrogen requires an experienced project workforce. Project managers, engineers of varying specialisms, operations & maintenance, health & safety, regulatory experts, R&D and materials scientists are all essential.

Hydrogen is incredibly similar to natural gas in that it has to be liquified before it can be transported, meaning the methods used to store it and move it to where it's needed are also very similar. 

These methods are well established, and the skills needed to do them are already available in adjacent industries. What businesses will need when it comes to managing their staffing needs is a partner who understands the market, how to engage with and attract talented individuals, how to relocate staff to any country in the world and make it a smooth process. 

In 2016 Cavendish Energy Llc in the United States produced a report considering the potential growth in jobs that the emerging Hydrogen industry would see, predicting that up to 675,000 jobs could be created by 2035 if there is widespread adoption of hydrogen technologies and systems.

Examples of Emerging Jobs

  • Director of Hydrogen Energy Development
  • Hydrogen Fuel Cell R&D Director
  • Hydrogen Fuel Cell System Technician
  • Hydrogen Power Plant Operations Manager
  • Hydrogen Energy Systems Engineer
  • Fuel Cell Plant Manager
  • Hydrogen Energy System Operations Engineer
  • Hydrogen Fuelling Station Designer
  • Hydrogen Systems Program Manager
  • Fuel Cell Quality Control Manager
  • Hydrogen Pipeline Construction Manager
  • Fuel Cell Design Engineer
  • Hydrogen Energy Engineer
  • Fuel Cell Power Systems Engineer
  • Hydrogen Systems and Retrofit Designer
  • Hydrogen Systems Safety Investigator
  • Hazardous Materials Management Specialist
  • Automotive Fuel Cell Electronics Engineer
  • Emissions Reduction Project Manager
  • Hydrogen Plant Operations Manager

What do we need Hydrogen for?

Major uses for Hydrogen include;

- Fuel cells
- Synthetic fuels
- Power Generation
- Ammonia/Fertilizer
- Metals
- Chemicals
- Heating
- Energy Storage

Want to talk to us about your project needs?

Contact our Manchester office today and let's have a conversation.

Brunel International UK Ltd

19 Spring Gardens

Manchester M2 1FB

United Kingdom

+44 161 885 2130