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Hydrogen commercial opportunities fast approaching amid decarbonisation: JM CEO

Highlights

JM expects costs for blue, green hydrogen to fall

CCS technology has 95% capture rate

London — Commercial opportunities in both low-and-zero carbon hydrogen are fast approaching as decarbonization efforts gather steam, the CEO of fuel cell and hydrogen producer Johnson Matthey said in an investor call Sept. 18.

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The ability to scale up rapidly at relatively low capital costs creates a "significant opportunity" for Johnson Matthey, which makes fuel cell and hydrogen production technologies to produce "green" hydrogen from renewables.

"I think the opportunity in green hydrogen is coming very rapidly," said Robert MacLeod, Johnson Matthey's CEO. "It is incredible how it's evolved in the last 12-18 months, arguably in the last six months even."

Johnson Matthey sees the biggest opportunity in the transportation sector, estimating a 5% fuel cell penetration in trucks by 2030. The company projects a GBP 1 billion ($1.3 billion) in revenues from trucks by 2030, and more than GBP 10 billion by 2040.

"These are big numbers," MacLeod said.

While costs are still higher for both low carbon blue hydrogen produced from natural gas with carbon capture and storage and zero carbon green hydrogen from renewables, over time Johnson Matthey expects costs will decrease and economics will improve.

It is commercializing technology already scaled up in methanol plants to produce 80,000 mt/year blue hydrogen at projects HyNet and Acron in the UK.

The technology has 40% lower capital costs with a 95% or greater carbon capture rate than conventional technology, and uses 9% less natural gas, the company said.

"Blue hydrogen will be critical in the transition to net zero and our opportunity is primarily through the licensing of our technology and the supply of engineering and process catalysts," the company said "The addressable market for blue hydrogen could be worth GBP 1.5 billion to GBP 2 billion per annum in 2030."

Green hydrogen produced from PEM technology could have an even higher value for the company with the market reaching GBP 2-4 billion by 2030, the company said.