SH2ESustainable Assessment of Harmonised Hydrogen Energy Systems
About the project
The SH2E project aims to create internationally accepted guidelines for the sustainability assessment of fuel cells and hydrogen (FCH). More specifically, these guidelines will be a common ground addressing the environmental (LCA), economic (LCC) and social (SLCA) life cycle assessment of FCH systems, which then will be used to establish a basis for future standardisation at a global level.
The key outcomes are:
- Establishing a common ground for forthcoming standardisation of FCH.
- Develop user-friendly, open-access software tools for decision-makers to assess the sustainability of FCH solutions.
The initiative goes beyond previous projects working on the same field, such as the FC-HyGuide (2010-2011) and the IEA Hydrogen Task 36 (2020-2025), and expands on the topics of material criticality and prospective assessment.
Produced only from water and electricity, hydrogen can become a renewable fuel source with the potential to decarbonise many industries.
An example is the energy industry. Unlike other renewable energies such as solar or wind, hydrogen can be supplied on demand and can also be stored, playing a crucial role in the supply of energy demand within the energy transition. Also, within the buildings sector, it can be blended with natural gas with the potential to move the whole gas network to hydrogen that feeds into hydrogen boilers and cells. On the other hand, in the transport industry, hydrogen presents a promising low-carbon option, with hydrogen-fuelled vehicles already seen in the Berlin police fleet or in London’s well-known red buses fleet.
The catch? Nowadays, hydrogen is mostly a non-renewable resource, as approximately three quarters of the global production is fuelled by natural gas . This fossil fuel option is chosen due to the high costs attributed to the use of renewable fuel as an alternative to power hydrogen production. These costs, however, are estimated to fall 30% by 2030 , unlocking new opportunities for the development of fuel cells and hydrogen (FCH) technology.
Taking this into account, common international guidelines and co-operation in assessing the impact of FCH is key to enable the growth of clean hydrogen worldwide.
 IEA, (2019). The Future of Hydrogen. Available at: https://bit.ly/3p8hviV (Accessed: 10.05.2021)
GreenDelta in the project
GreenDelta is one of the main contributors to the project, providing an expertise in sustainability and LCA. It is leading both the review and definition of general and FCH-specific LCA guidelines, and the development of a user-friendly LCA tool specific for this project.
The review of FCH-specific LCA guidelines take previous work and projects as a reference and expands further, specifically on the topics of prospective assessment and the implementation of a material criticality indicator. The FCH-LCA guidelines are being reformulated and enlarged as a result.
The guidelines are then incorporated in a user-friendly LCA software tool enriched with LCC and SLCA modules, all tailored to the analysis of different FCH systems. The software will be a stand-alone application software, suitable for non-expert users.
The parties working on this project are:
- IMDEA Energy Institute (Spain)
- GreenDelta GmbH (Germany)
- Commissariat a l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives (France)
- SYMBIO (France)
- Fundacion para el Desarrollo de las Nuevas Tecnologías del Hidrogeno en Aragón (Spain)
- Forschungszentrum Julich GmbH (Germany)
- The Institute of Applied Energy (Japan)
Links and resources
Project duration: 2021 –2024
Project funded by the Horizon 2020 program under the Grant agreement 101007163.