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Global hydrogen projects accelerating with $300 billion proposed investment: report


Hydrogen Council/McKinsey see $80 billion in advanced stages

Public funding growing, 30 countries pledged $70 billion support

Carbon price key for cost trajectories, technology cost seen falling

  • Author
  • Andreas Franke
  • Editor
  • Manish Parashar
  • Commodity
  • Coal Electric Power Natural Gas Metals
  • Topic
  • Energy Transition Hydrogen: Beyond the Hype

Hydrogen initiatives are accelerating globally, the Hydrogen Council said Feb. 17 in a report coauthored with consultancy McKinsey.

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There are now 228 large-scale projects for a combined $300 billion of proposed investment through to 2030, it said, with $80 billion of this either in advanced planning, having passed a final investment decision or under construction or commissioned.

"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 Benoit Potier, cochair of the Hydrogen Council and Air Liquide CEO.

Collaboration between governments, investors and companies is needed to allow the projects to proceed, Potier said.

Hydrogen can become a competitive low-carbon solution in more than 20 applications by 2030, including long haul trucking, shipping and steel, the Council said, based on total cost of ownership (TCO) assessments.

Over 30 countries had national hydrogen strategies in place by early 2021, pledging some $70 billion in support, it said.

Some 85% of proposed large-scale projects came from Europe, Asia and Australia, the report said.

Deployment approaches must target key "unlocks," such as reducing the cost of hydrogen production and distribution.

Deployment through clusters will help suppliers share investments and risks. Clusters are already gaining traction in:

  • Industrial centres with refining, power generation, fertilizer and steel production
  • Export hubs in resource-rich countries
  • Port areas for fuel bunkering, port logistics, and transportation.

Reduced costs from clusters will enable global trade in hydrogen, connecting future major demand centres such as Japan, South Korea, and the EU to regions of abundant low-cost hydrogen production means like the Middle East, North Africa, South America, or Australia, it said.

Parity with gray hydrogen

The report noted that falling costs for renewables and electrolyzers could see cost parity reached between green and gray hydrogen by 2028 in the best-suited regions, and between 2032 and 2034 in average regions.

Blue hydrogen, produced by steam reformation of natural gas with carbon capture and storage, could also breakeven with gray hydrogen by the end of the decade at a cost of $35-$50/mt of CO2 equivalent for transport and storage, it said.

The Hydrogen Council's production pathways model showed the range of green hydrogen costs falling below $3/kg by the middle of the decade across a wide range of applications and energy inputs.

Including carbon costs, the model showed a sharp rise in gray hydrogen toward 2030, assuming a $50/mt carbon price.

In Europe, S&P Global Platts assessed the price of green hydrogen, the Netherlands, alkaline electrolysis, at Eur2.61/kg on Feb. 16 compared with 98 euro cent/kg for blue hydrogen, the Netherlands, SMR with CCS including carbon. That compared with Eur1.11/kg for gray hydrogen, SMR without CCS.

Platts also offers hydrogen pathway assessments for North America and Japan.

"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," said Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota chairman and cochair of the Hydrogen Council.