Large-scale hydrogen projects are proliferating around the world in response to government decarbonisation pledges, according to a new report by the Hydrogen Council, a CEO-led group, in collaboration with consulting firm McKinsey.
As of early this year, over 30 countries have released hydrogen roadmaps, with governments worldwide committing public funding for hydrogen technologies, the report 'Hydrogen Insights: A Perspective on Hydrogen, Investment, Deployment and Cost Competitiveness' finds.
Investments in the low-carbon gas are not distributed evenly across the world, though, with 85% of the 228 large-scale projects along the value chain announced in Europe, Asia, and Australia.
If all announced projects come to fruition, total investments will reach more than $300bn in spending through 2030, the report states.
"A huge step in the fight against climate change has been taken, as both governments and investors now fully grasp the role hydrogen can play in the energy transition," said Benoît Potier, chief executive of industrial gases producer Air Liquide and co-chair of the Hydrogen Council.
"Now, to bring this potential to its full fruition, governments, investors and industrial companies must work together to scale up the hydrogen ecosystem around the world."
$80bn in mature projects
The Hydrogen Council in a statement didn’t distinguish between so-called ‘green hydrogen’ (made via electrolysis from renewable energy) or ‘blue hydrogen’ (made from natural gas linked to carbon capture and storage, which is not 100% CO2-free).
Projects looked at in the report include large-scale industrial usage, transport applications, integrated hydrogen economy, infrastructure, and giga-scale production projects. The Hydrogen Council said that $80bn of the investments can currently be considered “mature” – meaning that these projects are in the planning stage, have passed a final investment decision (FID), or are under construction, already commissioned, or operational.
"Hydrogen can help to unlock deep decarbonisation and achieve global climate targets," said Toyota Motor Corp. chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada, who is also a co-chair of the council.
"The Hydrogen Council is proud to provide comprehensive global data and serve as a knowledge partner not only to the industry but also governments, investors, think tanks, civil society and other key stakeholders working towards a clean energy transition around the world."
Hydrogen can become the most competitive low-carbon solution in more than 20 applications by 2030, the report claims, including long haul trucking, shipping and steel.
For that to happen, governments need to sustain their deep decarbonisation commitments, backed by financial support, regulation and clear hydrogen strategies and targets.
Also, deployment approaches must target key 'unlocks' such as reducing the cost of hydrogen production and distribution that will have the most significant impact on the rest of the industry, said the report (link to it here).