Hydrogen from renewable energy could play a central role in the global energy transformation, according to the latest report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), “Hydrogen: a renewable energy perspective”.
The report estimates that hydrogen from renewable power, so called green hydrogen, could translate into 8 percent of global energy consumption by 2050. Sixteen percent of all generated electricity would be used to produce hydrogen by then. Green hydrogen could particularly offer ways to decarbonize a range of sectors where it is proving difficult to meaningfully reduce CO2 emissions.
With falling cost of renewables, the potential of green hydrogen particularly for so called ‘hard-to-decarbonize’ sectors and energy-intensive industries like iron and steel, chemicals, shipping, trucks and aviation is rapidly becoming more compelling given the urgency to limit CO2 emissions. This includes direct hydrogen use but also the production of liquid and gaseous fuels such as ammonia, methanol and synthetic jet fuel from green hydrogen. Electrolyzer deployment is currently ramping up from MW to GW-scale as witnessed by dozens of projects worldwide.
However, deployment of hydrogen-based solutions will not happen overnight, IRENA’s report cautions. Hydrogen might likely trail other strategies such as electrification of end-use sectors, and its use will target specific applications. The need for a dedicated new supply infrastructure may also limit hydrogen use to certain countries that decide to follow this strategy. Existing natural gas pipelines could be refurbished, but implications must be further explored.
The report recommends acknowledging the strategic role of hydrogen in the transition and at the same time calls on governments and private sector to better understand energy system benefits, cost-reduction and investment requirements to tap into the potential of a hydrogen future.
(Source: renewable energy world)