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Global hydrogen demand dip this year reflects reduced refinery runs: Platts Analytics


3.5% demand decline forecast for 2020

Small 2021 decline in ammonia demand

Mobility forecast assesses oil displacement

London — Global pure hydrogen demand in 2020 was expected to decline 3.5% year on year to 71.9 million mt, S&P Global Platts Analytics said in its latest Hydrogen Market Monitor.

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The forecast reflected a small downward revision from the previous quarter, to account for reduced refinery runs associated with COVID-19 oil product demand destruction.

Global ammonia production, meanwhile, was expected to top 179 million mt this year, implying a 32.2 million mt call on hydrogen.

"2021 is likely to see a small decline in ammonia demand due to surplus 2020 ethanol energy-crops given lower transport demand from COVID-19," Platts Analytics said.

"The majority of pure hydrogen demand today is centralized in two sectors, refining and chemicals production," said Zane McDonald, author of the Hydrogen Market Monitor.

"These sectors are the foundation of short-term hydrogen demand growth, and can serve as a beachhead for integration of low-carbon hydrogen for decarbonization," McDonald said.

In terms of emerging demand, Platts Analytics noted the global fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) fleet was approaching 24,000 vehicles, the bulk of which were passenger cars, while the bulk of estimated hydrogen consumed in transport (around 33,000 mt of pure hydrogen/year) related to heavy duty vehicles.

That was set to accelerate over the next 10 years, Platts Analytics said, with China leading the way with a national target of one million FCEV/1,000 hydrogen refueling station target by 2030.

With significant FCEV targets declared in Japan, South Korea, Germany, France and the Netherlands, by 2040 Platts Analytics forecast over 225 thousand b/d oil product displacement from total national hydrogen mobility targets by 2040.