A future introduction of biohydrogen to the Swedish energy system
Abstract: Biohydrogen is increasingly being explored as part of strategies to achieve deep emission reductions. While much research has focused on the technical dimension of biohydrogen, fewer efforts have positioned it in larger contexts. Using literature and expert interviews, this study applies the multi-level perspective to explore an introduction of biohydrogen to the Swedish energy system. The findings show that hydrogen is well-established in applications like biofuel manufacturing but also proposed in new areas such as steelmaking. New networks among incumbent actors, formed around electro-hydrogen, are central to several of these developments. Institutional conditions, a lack of infrastructure and competing technology platforms however constitute challenges that influence the role of hydrogen in applications like transport. The findings furthermore highlight that the degree of maturity of biohydrogen production paths vary significantly. Biohydrogen production via gasification have been explored in several projects and is best introduced at large scale. Costs and technical risk however remain as significant constraints. Biohydrogen production via biochemical conversion constitute comparatively less developed paths associated with higher production costs and great uncertainty. The study does however find evidence that the alignment between certain biochemical paths and the organic waste treatment regime in Sweden can provide opportunities for a future introduction. A key area of importance considering an integration is the need to balance feedstock costs with the need to achieve a viable and stable production process. The outcome of this study indicates that further efforts are called for that investigate were the conditions for an introduction of biohydrogen are most favourable.
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