* by Michalis Zantis
In the search for sustainable energy sources, hydrogenhas emerged as a very promising candidate for reshaping the global energy landscape. As our planet faces the urgent need to reduce carbon emissions and combat climate change, the transition to hydrogen as a clean energy carrier has gained significant momentum. This transition, however, has significant implications for the oil and gas industry, traditionally dominated by fossil fuels.
Hydrogen, the most abundant element in the universe, has long been recognized as clean and flexible energy carrier. While hydrogen itself does not emit greenhouse gases when used to produce energy, its widespread adoption involves challenges related to its production, storage and transportation. Recent advances in technology, however, have paved the way for a resurgence of interest in hydrogen as a key factor in the transition to a low-carbon future.
As global industry and technologies shift towards hydrogen, there is a potential decline in demand for traditional fossil fuels. Countries that are heavily dependent on oil and gas exports may face economic changes as demand for hydrogen increases. This transition could reshape geopolitical dynamics, with countries with abundant renewable resources gaining a privileged position as key players in the hydrogen economy.
The hydrogen flexibilityallowing it to replace natural gas in industrial processes, be used as a transport fuel and contribute to overall decarbonisation in various sectors. Oil and gas companies have an opportunity to diversify their portfolios by investing in hydrogen-related projects. Many major industry players are already exploring hydrogen production, storage and distribution, recognizing the need to adapt to evolving energy markets. The shift to hydrogen will drive technological innovation in the oil and gas sector. Companies should invest in research and development to optimize hydrogen production, improve storage solutions, and improve the efficiency of its transportation and distribution.
Widespread adoption of hydrogen for energy production requires significant changes to existing infrastructure. This includes modifying pipelines, storage facilities and transmission networks to accommodate hydrogen's unique properties. While this is a challenge, it also opens up opportunities for infrastructure-related investment. Already, the Standardization Technical Committees dealing with the development of standards for the hydrocarbon sector, both at European and International level, are working on and discussing the changes and effects that the use of hydrogen will have on existing facilities, equipment, transmission networks etc. and are taken into account for the revision of the current standards and the elaboration of new ones.
The globaltransition to hydrogen represents a critical step in the journey towards a more sustainable, low-carbon future. While the oil and gas industry faces challenges adapting to this shift, the potential benefits, including reduced carbon emissions, diversified revenue streams and technological innovation, make it a transformative opportunity. Successfully integrating hydrogen into the energy mix will not only help meet environmental goals but also reshape the dynamics of the oil and gas industry for years to come.
In all of the above, the use of standards has an important role to play and the involved bodies, the industry and the affected parties, realizing their importance, work within the European (CEN, CENELEC, ETSI) and International (ISO, IEC, ITU) of Standardization Organizations, to develop the required standards that will ensure the safe, efficient, and compatible operation of systems and technologies related to the use of hydrogen. Alignment with standards is critical to creating a homogeneous and trusted environment where different actors can share information, collaborate and achieve their common goals.
In addition, participation in standards setting enables businesses to influence the regulatory framework and adapt their practices to developing technologies. Standardization is therefore a cornerstone for a sustainable hydrogen economy. By precisely defining specifications and processes, the standards ensure that hydrogen is used in a way that protects the environment, provides safety, and promotes innovation in this critical energy sector.
The standards they are the key to the development of the global market, as they include the necessary specifications and requirements for products, services, systems, processes and materials. Their main objective is to provide, according to specific rules, a common background that enables the production and provision of goods, services and systems.
The various provisions of the standards that are under preparation or revision are discussed at the meetings of the Standardization Technical Committees and the representatives of the Cyprus Organization for Standardization (CYS) participating in them have the opportunity to intervene in time and support positions that serve the specificities of the Cypriot industry and economy.
* Michalis Zantis has a degree in Building Mechanical Installations and works as a Standardization Officer in the Mechanical Department of the Cyprus Organization for Standardization (CYS).
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