Green hydrogen, generated by renewable energy or from low-carbon power, is critical for reducing emissions, but it will only account for 5% of the global final energy mix by 2050, falling short of what is required to reach climate targets, global energy consultancy DNV said in its ‘Hydrogen Forecast to 2050’ report.
According to DNV’s calculations, hydrogen would need to reach 13% to satisfy the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050.
The global share of 5% equates into more than 200 million tonnes of hydrogen, with pure hydrogen accounting for 60% and compounds like ammonia and synthetic fuels accounting for the remaining fifth, the consultancy stated in the report. To attain net-zero targets, the world would necessitate stronger regulatory mandates, increased demand-side incentives, and higher carbon costs.
Hydrogen, only found in compound form, requires a significant amount of energy to extract, making it both expensive and inefficient as compared to using electricity directly. However, replacing fossil fuels with electricity is difficult for sectors such as aviation, shipping, and high-heat industrial processes. Green hydrogen generated from renewable energy can thus help them in reducing carbon footprint.
“In many ways, it should be regarded as a last-resort low-carbon energy source. It is, nevertheless, vitally needed,” said Remi Eriksen, DNV CEO.
According to DNV, producing green hydrogen using electrolysis, which splits water molecules using electricity, is now more expensive than obtaining it from fossil fuels and capturing the carbon dioxide, also known as blue hydrogen.
Nonetheless, the firm predicts that by 2050, the average cost of dedicated renewables-based electrolysis will be US$2 per kilogram, down from US$5 per kilogram today. By mid-century, more than 70% of hydrogen will be green, said DNV.
Meanwhile, the report predicts that repurposed natural gas pipelines would provide the great bulk of infrastructure for interregional hydrogen transit.