In this list
Electric Power | Energy Transition | Natural Gas | Metals | Petrochemicals

Global hydrogen demand seen at 614 million mt/year by 2050: IRENA

Energy | Electric Power | Energy Transition | Renewables | Metals | Steel | Shipping | Containers

Market Movers Americas, June 5-9: Markets await direction from steel caucus, carbon credit auction

Electric Power | Electricity | Energy | Energy Transition

European Long-Term Power Forecast

Energy | Oil | Energy Transition

APPEC 2023

Energy | Electric Power | Natural Gas | Nuclear | Electricity

US POWER TRACKER: PJM prices set to fall this summer on lower gas prices

Metals | Shipping | Energy | Energy Transition | Natural Gas | Oil | LNG | Coal | Steel | Steel Raw Materials | Renewables | Refined Products | Fuel Oil | Crude Oil | Emissions | Carbon

Commodity Tracker: 5 charts to watch this week

For full access to real-time updates, breaking news, analysis, pricing and data visualization subscribe today.

Subscribe Now

Global hydrogen demand seen at 614 million mt/year by 2050: IRENA


Trade seen at 150 million mt/year

Prices may fall below $1/kg

China, India to see most demand

  • Author
  • Ruchira Singh
  • Editor
  • Alisdair Bowles
  • Commodity
  • Electric Power Energy Transition Natural Gas Metals Petrochemicals

Global hydrogen demand is seen rising to 614 million metric tons a year by 2050, which would meet 12% of the total energy use, the International Renewable Energy Agency, or IRENA, said July 7.

Not registered?

Receive daily email alerts, subscriber notes & personalize your experience.

Register Now

IRENA's 'Global Hydrogen Trade to Meet the 1.5 degrees Celsius Climate Goal' focused on the trade outlook for 2050 and beyond, and said renewable hydrogen will meet bulk of the projected demand.

"In a decarbonized energy system, as new applications become necessary, the total hydrogen production is expected to expand by almost five times," the report said.

Hydrogen can "lead to a more robust energy system with more alternatives to cope with unexpected events."

The report said the growth in demand will be driven by industrial and transport sectors, where hydrogen would mitigate close to 12% and 26% of the carbon dioxide emissions respectively.

A quarter of the global demand – about 150 million mt – will likely be met via trades in 2050, the report said.

"The critical factor that will determine the cost-effectiveness of trade in hydrogen will be whether scale, technologies and other efficiencies can offset the cost of transporting the hydrogen from low-cost production areas to high-demand areas," it added.

According to the S&P Global Commodity Insights' June Hydrogen Market Monitor, 2022 demand for hydrogen is estimated at 75.2 million mt/year and is seen growing to 94.1 million mt/year by 2027.


The cost of renewable hydrogen production is projected to drop from around $5/kg currently to below $1/kg (coupled with solar photovoltaic) for most regions in 2050, IRENA said.

At price levels of $1.5-2/kg for delivered renewable hydrogen, supply costs would be around the same as for liquefied natural gas supply cost in 2020, it added.

"Innovation, mass manufacturing and global supply chains are needed for these cost reductions to materialize," it said.

"As of 2022, this market is still nascent, with less than 1 GW of electrolyzer capacity in place worldwide, four orders of magnitude below the 4,400 GW needed by 2050."

In the latest Platts hydrogen price wall, Qatar PEM electrolysis hydrogen averaged $3.52/kg in June versus $10.58/kg for Japan PEM electrolysis hydrogen, S&P Global Commodity Insights data showed.

Most countries have several alternatives for trade with a very similar cost profile, which means trade pairs will most likely be defined by factors beyond cost, it added.

For instance, there are already multiple pipelines connecting North Africa to Europe, which are used today to import natural gas. If converted to carry 100% hydrogen, these would satisfy the European Union 2030 targets and provide a low-cost transport option with existing infrastructure.

Other factors such as energy security and diplomatic relationships will play a role in the hydrogen trade.


China may be responsible for a quarter of the global hydrogen demand by 2050, followed by India.

China's demand will come from the industrial sector, while India is expected to quadruple steel production by 2050, requiring hydrogen.

The US is seen being the third largest demand center, with most of the growth emanating from the transport sector.

Hydrogen demand by 2050, under the Paris Agreement's 1.5 C scenario, is expected to be relatively concentrated, with the top 10 countries in the world representing about two-thirds of global consumption.

Signs of global trade are emerging with over 80 announcements between 2020 and 2021 for projects or collaborations that relate to global hydrogen or ammonia trade, it said. Based on these announcements, the most active prospective importers are Germany, Japan and the Netherlands and the most active prospective exporter is Australia.

Future hydrogen production will depend on large-scale growth of renewable energy. Annual additions of renewable energy capacity need to at least triple from 290 GW/year currently to more than 1 TW/year by the mid-2030s, IRENA said.