Water, hydrogen and coal, or the 3W Report – future prospects

Raport 3W

During the 3W Congress, which took place on November 27-28 this year. in Warsaw, presented the latest third edition of the report on innovative water, hydrogen and carbon technologies. The project was initiated and organized by Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (BGK), and experts from Poland and Europe were invited to participate. The 3W report this year is titled: “3W World. Reality and the Future.” What content does it present?

Water, hydrogen and carbon – key resources on Earth

In the face of the world’s climate, environmental, energy and food crisis, responsible management of the resources we have becomes a priority. The 3W idea reflects three important themes in modern science: water, which we may be running out of; hydrogen, which carries enormous energy potential; and elemental carbon, which has the potential to become the technological material of the future.

The topic of water covers a wide range of issues such as its supply, quality, importance as a living environment and an essential raw material for food production, but also the dangers of flooding. The 3W report warns that Poland’s per capita rate of renewable water resources is already on the brink of water stress. The alarming data relates to natural disasters between 2001 and 2018 at 74 percent. culpable in the amount of water and the steady rise in ocean temperatures. Also of concern is the the accumulation of microplastics in the world’s oceans – The so-called The Great Pacific Garbage Island already has an area twice the size of France.

In the context of the hydrogen economy, there is the important issue of replacing fossil fuel-based energy with green technology. Especially since we can already produce hydrogen sustainably, as well as store and transport it. 3W report forecasts growing use of H2 in the transportation , steel and metal industries or heating. In the name of decarbonization, more and more is being invested in hydrogen technology and infrastructure to transport the precious resource – we already know that Europe will have to import it. Allotropic carbon varieties such as fullerenes, carbon nanotubes, graphene and cyclocarbon are also expected to be key to a cleaner and healthier future. The potential for their use includes, among other things. electronics, energy, photovoltaics and medicine. At the same time, 500 more varieties of elemental carbon have already been predicted that could revolutionize modern industry and technology.

Water: key trends and technologies

The 3W report focuses on practical solutions that protect the world’s water resources and ensure its adequate supply and distribution. These include purification techniques such as filtration, flocculation, disinfection and distillation, in addition to eliminating contaminants using ozone, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet radiation. Also noteworthy are the ever-evolving technologies of seawater desalination and hydrophytic treatment, that is, based on natural natural processes.

Another challenge in the water sector is retention – both natural retention, which uses the water-bearing potential of the soil , rivers and lakes, as well as artificial , which involves creating water reservoirs on a small and large scale. The 3W report emphasizes that the world is moving away from high retention, as it irreversibly alters natural ecosystems. At the same time, the so-called “sponge cities” are indicated as a positive trend. sponge cities , designed to absorb rainwater as much as possible.

The report also features innovative trends resulting from increased investment in water security. These include:

Water issues must be looked at in a broad perspective. The 3W report discusses the effects of the Covid-19 outbreak and the war in Ukraine on aquatic ecosystems and biodiversity, and cites The World Resources Institute’s alarming projections that in 2030. The demand for fresh water will exceed its supply by 56 percent. Thus, international initiatives such as the Triple Seas (3SI), with the Danube-Oder-Elbe water corridor project not yet implemented, are necessary.

The biggest challenges for the future, according to the report’s authors, are more efficient wastewater treatment, smart water management systems and, above all, the development of GOZs, where water quality adapts to its intended use. Upgrading infrastructure, protecting biodiversity and phasing out fertilizer subsidies were identified as key considerations for the future. Households, in turn, should routinely collect rainwater , forgo concrete surfaces and lawns in favor of e.g. flower meadows and choose products with the smallest possible water footprint.

3W hydrogen report: dynamic development

Investments in hydrogen technology are growing at an impressive rate, with an annual increase of 35 percent worldwide in 2021 and up to 50 percent in Europe. However, hydrogen is not yet synonymous with green energy, as it is obtained mostly from fossil fuels. The ecological ballast in this regard is being reduced by CO capture technologies.2 and low-carbon production. Poland’s annual hydrogen production currently stands at 1.3 million tons, putting us in third place in the EU. It is mainly used in the refining and chemical industries and, unfortunately, also comes from fossil fuels. However, the country is intensively developing the so-called “new” technologies. Hydrogen valleys that focus on localH2 production and use. They are expected to attract investments complementary to the European Green Deal.

The 3W report points to interesting indigenous hydrogen projects:

  • HYDROGIN – equipping the Elblag Combined Heat and Power Plant with an electrolyzer that produces zero-emission hydrogen through biomass power;
  • PESA hydrogen locomotive;
  • Hydrogen Eagle – building an international network of refueling stations for hydrogen extracted from wind energy and municipal waste transformation.

More than 4,000 are reported worldwide each year. hydrogen technology patents in the areas ofH2 production, storage and transportation. Their implementation, according to the report’s authors, will create 30 million new jobs worldwide, including 1 million in Europe. Among others, the following are identified as future technologies. Hydrogen production by anaerobic digestion or photo-biological methods. Another important trend is the prospect of usingH2 as a carrier of excess power sourced from RES. The bottleneck for further development of the sector is currently the availability of electrolyzers.

Atomic carbon, the era of new materials

The unique properties of allotropic carbon varieties open up broad prospects in improving electronic equipment, building modern power grids or even creating artificial tissues. Many of them can be used in technologies that promote sustainability: water filtration and treatment, environmental monitoring, green building or fuel-efficient aircraft construction. Carbon fibers already have applications in the construction of hydrogen tanks. Graphene concrete, in turn, is expected to reduce emissions associated with traditional concrete, which account for as much as 8 percent. globalCO2 emissions.

The 3W report predicts the dynamic development of carbon-based nanomaterials and calls for the creation of an appropriate strategy for Poland as an important European market. Research and development activities and appropriate knowledge transfer mechanisms allow ambitious projects such as the production of supercapacitors and batteries with extremely high density, further minimization of processors or even the construction of a space elevator.

The above aspects, brought together in the 3W Report, are presented in an accessible way to reach a wide audience. The report can be downloaded here , after free login. We encourage you to read!

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