Green hydrogen: we need to discuss the elephant in the room. There is a consensus that green H2 is needed to help decarbonise a wide range of sectors, but little consideration has been given to the amount of renewable power that would be required. It’s time to get serious about green hydrogen. And being serious requires a hard look at the facts. Green H2 — produced from renewable energy — is a clean-burning fuel that can be used for long-term energy storage and to help decarbonise transport, heating and industrial processes such as steel and cement making. It can even be combined with captured CO2 to produce carbon-neutral aviation fuel. A consensus has therefore emerged that the world cannot be fully decarbonised in the long term without green hydrogen. However, there is an elephant in the room that must be addressed — producing the vast quantities of green H2 that the world will need would require an absolutely massive amount of renewable energy. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), the world will need 19 exajoules of green hydrogen in the energy system in 2050 — between 133.8 million and 158.3 million tonnes a year. Recharge calculations show that producing such a volume would require at least 6,690TWh of dedicated electricity every year — the equivalent of 1,775GW of offshore wind farms, 2,243GW of onshore wind, 4,240GW of solar PV or 957GW of nuclear power (see panel below for details) To put this in perspective, at the end of 2018, the world had installed 540.4GW of onshore wind, 23.4GW of offshore wind, 480.4GW of solar PV and 397GW of operating nuclear reactors, according to Irena and the World Nuclear Association. And virtually all of this capacity is being used to generate electricity, not green hydrogen. Annual growth rates for wind and solar are increasing, but nowhere near fast enough for the world to be in line with Paris Agreement goals. Terawatts of renewable energy will be needed to produce green hydrogen, but that seems secondary to the demand from the rapidly growing electricity sector, which needs to decarbonise while simultaneously powering ever larger shares of the heating and transport sectors.
Recharge News 19th March 2020 read more »
North West Energy & Hydrogen Cluster unveils roadmap to drive low carbon skills development in the region, as Australian mining giants debut green hydrogen consortium. Two new projects on opposite sides of the world have this week taken a step forward in their attempts to accelerate the development of a global green hydrogen industry. Yesterday the North West Energy & Hydrogen Cluster published a new skills roadmap, designed to highlight where skills gaps exist and where investment is needed.
Business Green 20th March 2020 read more »