The global green hydrogen market will require a trustworthy and transparent certification mechanism to incentivize companies to commit to using green hydrogen and create social interest, stated the International Renewable Energy Agency in its 'Green hydrogen for industry: A guide to policy making report'.
As countries pledge to achieve carbon neutral, green hydrogen plays a key role in the clean energy transition, especially in hard-to-abate sectors such as steel, fertilizers, and plastics production.
According to the report, 98% of the hydrogen produced globally comes from fossil fuels, with less than 1% of worldwide hydrogen supply coming from low-carbon sources. But the proportion of green hydrogen is expected to increase in the future, necessitating a clear certification system to assure consumers that they are reducing emissions.
Widespread adoption of tracking schemes certifying green hydrogen's origin will be required for massive deployment and consumption of green hydrogen, as well as the formation of national, regional, and international green hydrogen marketplaces, according to the paper.
Irena believes that a standardized approach would facilitate trading between countries and reduce market fragmentation, and that certification must not raise the price of low-carbon hydrogen, which is already a major obstacle to adoption.
To ensure that carbon reductions are not credited twice and that growth in the renewable hydrogen sector catalyzes the construction of more renewable electricity capacity rather than cannibalizing existing supply, the certification system should also interface with electricity certification.
Hydrogen can be categorized by an unofficial color system (grey, blue, green) according to different production pathways. Irena expects that the international system can adopt the color scheme to implement categorization or adopt a quantitative technique to grade hydrogen based on its carbon footprint across its life cycle, from production to distribution.
There are several regional hydrogen certification systems, notably the EU-funded CertifHy and Acciona Energy's GreenH2chain platform, which employs a blockchain ledger as its foundation.