Global standards on the carbon and methane intensity of hydrogen production pathways, along with certification of this, are needed to underpin investor and market confidence and facilitate global trade, industry executives said Nov. 22.
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Putting such standards and certification in place was "the only way we can make hydrogen tradeable across markets," SNAM CEO Marco Alvera said at the Reuters Energy Transition Europe 2021 conference.
Alvera also called for policy makers and industry to develop integrated whole-system planning for hydrogen infrastructure developments.
Uniper's COO and Chief Sustainability Officer David Bryson said clarity was needed from governments on policy, together with clear certification frameworks for renewable and low-carbon hydrogen and tradeable guarantees of origin, which would enable trade and underpin market liquidity.
Bryson drew parallels with the development of the international LNG market, saying "we view our own LNG business as a real foundation for the future [of importing] hydrogen," noting there was already widespread expertise in shipping LNG as well as ammonia, a potential hydrogen carrier.
However, he warned that current planning and permitting frameworks were often challenging.
"Bluntly, I think we'll need a lot more confidence in the planning and permitting systems," Bryson said.
"Many involved in large infrastructure projects know the vagaries of doing that in current planning and permitting regimes where even after years of assets operating, they can be significantly challenged by third parties over the viability of their permits."
European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson said infrastructure development was needed, along with innovation and scaling of electrolyzers.
"Hydrogen will underpin our renewable future," Simson said, pointing to a potential 15% share of European final energy demand for the renewable gas by 2050. At present, it accounts for around 2%, she said.
Costs had fallen 60% in the last decade, she said, and could compete with fossil fuels by 2030 or before.
SNAM's Alvera noted hydrogen production costs had fallen to around $100/MWh, from $1,000/MWh in 2004.
Alvera said renewable hydrogen could be cheaper than oil within five years, requiring production costs of $50/MWh.