Current industries which benefit from the use of hydrogen include:
With the Hydrogen Energy Economic Outlook for 2020 looking promising, many companies and countries are now more eager to explore hydrogen investment opportunities and the possibilities that Hydrogen could bring to help in achieving a cleaner, more affordable, and secure future.
Not all hydrogen is produced/extracted using similar methods and they are usually distinguished into four main groups based on their environmental credentials:
In the current climate, virtually all of this hydrogen is supplied using fossil fuels, meaning there is major potential for making clean hydrogen and therefore reducing emissions.
Although green hydrogen is the most environmentally friendly, clean hydrogen still costs too much to enable it to be widely deployed. Currently, grey hydrogen is cheaper than the blue and green variants, with the main driver being the price of natural gas.
The price of blue hydrogen is also mainly influenced by natural gas prices as well as the costs associated with carbon capture and storage. In Europe, the current price of blue hydrogen is slightly higher than grey, nevertheless, this gap is set to shrink if the price of CO2 emissions increases further in the future. Once the process of CCUS in blue hydrogen plants is scaled up and standardised, the cost is likely to come down. This could bring the price of blue hydrogen closer to that of grey hydrogen.
Different factors come into play when evaluating the price of green vs blue hydrogen, such as cost of electrolysis, however, the most significant factor is the price of the green electricity used. The cost of generating solar and wind energy has decreased hugely during the last 10 years, which could indicate a decrease in the cost of green hydrogen for the future.
5 countries that have made some large steps in Hydrogen include:
Are looking to greatly step up their involvement to replace fossil fuel exports. For example, in October 2019, Siemens joined a partnership to develop a 5-gigawatt combined solar/wind project aimed at powering hydrogen production.
In June 2018, France unveiled a €100 million investment plan for the technology and in September they deployed their first hydrogen-powered passenger bus. In October 2019, the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes region committed €200 million toward 1,000 hydrogen vehicles and 15 electrolysers.
Already a leader in hydrogen development and are aiming to continue with plans for 20 research labs, with a total budget of €100 million, being unveiled over the summer of 2019.
Leading the way in hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle development due to automotive companies such as Hyundai, Toyota and Honda. Policymakers are eager to encourage green hydrogen as an alternative to liquefied natural gas.
In September 2019, the U.K. government unveiled a £12 billion plan to use 4 gigawatts of offshore wind for renewable hydrogen production in the early 2030s.
According to the IEA, the development of hydrogen infrastructure is slow – holding back widespread adoption. To aid this, the IEA recommends building on existing infrastructure, such as natural gas pipelines.
To continue the rise in momentum for hydrogen, the IEA recommends supporting research and development to bring down costs and improve performance for fuel cells as well as mentioning that fuel cells, refuelling equipment and electrolysers can all benefit from mass manufacturing.
According to the IEA, the number of countries with polices that directly support investment in hydrogen technologies is increasing, along with the number of sectors they target. Over the past few years, global spending on hydrogen energy research, development and demonstration by national governments has risen.
✓ Why is hydrogen such a great prospect?
✓ What are the differences between electrolysers and fuel cells, and what are the benefits of each?
✓ What are the best available investment opportunities in hydrogen?
✓ What are the industrial-scale applications of hydrogen?
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