Ambrose Evans-Pritchard: ydrogen is the clean energy of the future, and always will be, or so runs the old joke. After three false starts in 50 years, one slips easily into cynicism about the EU’s pietistic green targets and voguish talk of the post-fossil hydrogen economy. But cynics are not always right. The message from hard-headed industrialists at this year’s “energy Davos” surprised even those who keep up with this fast-moving technology. The switch to hydrogen is a fact on the ground; it is accelerating fast; it is heading for much lower costs than sceptics suppose; and future scale is vast. Along the way, the oil “supermajors” are reinventing themselves for net-zero life, finding a green raison d’être by deploying their engineering and offshore know-how to lock carbon underground and unlock hydrogen above ground. They are no longer the perennial climate villains depicted by the green Taliban. Subtler moral judgment is required. Ultimately, everything depends on the cost of green hydrogen. We long assumed that it would take decades to bring the tariff down from $5 or $6 a kilo today to anything close parity with natural gas. But this is not what those working on frontier projects told CeraWeek. Companies lined up with eye-watering figures. Norway’s NEL expects to reach the Holy Grail of $1.50 by 2025. France’s Engie aims for comparable levels this decade, and so does Malaysia’s Petronas. Heliogen said it has already reached $1.88 from its concentrated solar “sunlight refinery”.
Telegraph 11th March 2021 read more »