The Hydrogen Rainbow Explained

It’s no secret that hydrogen is here to stay and will play a critical role in the global energy transition as the world moves away from fossil fuels towards a cleaner, greener future. It has the potential to change the way we fuel our cars and modes of transport including, planes, trains, trucks and ships, as well as how we heat our homes and as an energy source for heavy industry in the not too distant future.

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, however, it does not exist on its own and must be produced from a broad range of sources, some of which are kinder to the planet than others.

The hydrogen rainbow is a handy tool, used within the energy industry, which can be used to decipher the kaleidoscope of hydrogen sources based on the production used and the emissions created in the process.

Green hydrogen

Using clean electricity from renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, green hydrogen is produced through electrolysis, resulting in no harmful greenhouse gas emissions at any stage of its production.

Yellow hydrogen

Hydrogen produced through electrolysis generated by solar power.

Pink hydrogen

Nuclear energy is the source that fuels electrolysis to produce Pink Hydrogen.

Blue hydrogen

Blue hydrogen is produced from natural gas, methane or Steam Methane Reforming (SMR) with Carbon Dioxide produced as a by-product. This follows the same process as ‘Grey Hydrogen’, however the carbon is captured and stored so that it doesn't go into the atmosphere.

Turquoise hydrogen

One of the newest additions to the hydrogen rainbow and is still to be proven at scale. Turquoise hydrogen is derived through a thermal process known as 'methane pyrolysis' which involves natural gas being passed through a molten metal, resulting in hydrogen and solid carbon.

Grey hydrogen

The most common form of producing hydrogen today. Grey hydrogen is produced from natural gas, methane or Steam Methane Reforming (SMR). Carbon is released into the atmosphere.

Brown / Black hydrogen

Produced from burning fossil fuels, mainly lignite (brown) and coal (black). This process has the most potential to leave a lasting impact on our environment as a result of the high harmful carbon dioxide emissions produced in the gasification process.

The future is clearly green and we’re starting to see the green shoots of the Green Hydrogen Sector taking hold, however to make it a mainstream energy source a few hurdles must be overcome, including; infrastructure, cost effective solutions in the production etc.  

At TFP Hydrogen Products we are committed to facilitating the advancement of electrochemical, low carbon technologies, such as PEM water electrolysis, that can be used to generate green hydrogen from renewable energy sources.

For more information on our how our products are helping to reduce the cost green hydrogen visit: https://www.tfphydrogen.com/products/pem-water-electrolysis-materials