Hydrogen, a fuel used for gas lamps in the 1800s, is getting renewed interest at a global level as a potential green fuel source. More than 30 countries have set or plan to set hydrogen strategies and goals this year according to a recent International Renewable Energy Agency report. The countries are developing hydrogen strategies to help their transition to low-carbon economies and also to reach their net-zero carbon goals through 2050.
“Hydrogen is getting renewed global attention, despite its high cost, as a clean energy source that may become a player in a decarbonized energy transition,” CFC Vice President of Industry Research and Analysis Chris Maslak said. “In the electric utility sector, hydrogen could provide an appealing unserved function, absorbing low-cost intermittent and otherwise curtailed renewable power and converting it into long-term low-carbon energy storage.”
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), electric utilities, industry stakeholders and investors are turning their attention to hydrogen development programs and pilots. High costs throughout the hydrogen value chain continue to be the biggest barrier to innovation and commercialization according to the report, with the lack of existing infrastructure, high energy losses and the lack of a premium value for decarbonized fuels presenting additional hurdles.
“There is a lot of progress needed on outstanding commercial and technical challenges to reduce the cost of delivered hydrogen, but governments, utilities, manufacturers, laboratories and other industry stakeholders are advancing green hydrogen research, program plans and pilot projects,” Maslak added. “These efforts are to identify, test and select viable technologies. Hydrogen has the potential to complement varied decarbonization and electrification of sectors with nearest term opportunities in cement, steel and heavy transport.”
Green hydrogen projects are expected to increase by more than tenfold by 2025 according to a recent Wood Mackenzie report. Much of the growth is due to the nascency of the small market today, but aggressive targets in East Asia and increased interest from international stakeholders will continue to drive early project deployments.
“Government and industry investments and research projects are needed to drive down the cost of green hydrogen production in order to make it cost competitive with current production methods,” Maslak concluded. “Once production, delivery, and storage costs decrease, hydrogen has the potential to help countries, utilities and manufactures achieve their net-zero carbon goals.”
Published Feb. 8, 2021, in CFC Solutions News Bulletin.