‘Hydrogen market is on the verge of a revolution’

Contributors to the newly-published Global Gas Report 2020 are claiming that the ‘hydrogen market is on the verge of a revolution’ and ‘the goals of the Paris Agreement cannot be met without a substantial scale-up of clean gas technologies – such as hydrogen’.

The Global Gas Report 2020, published on 6 August by the International Gas Union (IGU), research company BloombergNEF (BNEF) and the Italy-headquartered gas company Snam, found that COVID-19 will reduce gas use in 2020, but ‘the recovery will be underpinned by favourable economics, widening access and a longer-term drive towards emissions reductions, including a role for hydrogen and other green gas technologies’.

In a statement announcing the publication of the report, BNEF said that, in the longer term, there are ‘major opportunities to scale up the use of low-carbon gas technologies’ – but these will depend on ‘substantial policy action and infrastructure investment in the coming years’.

BNEF estimated that clean hydrogen could abate up to 37% of energy-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, this would require a range of ‘meaningful steps’, including emissions pricing linked to Paris-aligned long-term climate targets; harmonised standards governing hydrogen use; coordinated strategies regarding regional and global infrastructure roll-out, and ‘the deployment of hydrogen-ready equipment, such as pipelines, gas turbines and end-use appliances.

Jon Moore, CEO of BNEF, said: ‘It is increasingly clear that the goals of the Paris Agreement cannot be met without a substantial scale-up of clean gas technologies – such as hydrogen. While the economics are challenging today, a joined-up policy approach could unleash the investment needed to bring costs down, develop scalable business models and drive adoption across the hard-to-abate sectors.’

BNEF said the development of an international hydrogen market could also accelerate adoption.

Importantly, the report found that Germany – which, as previously reported by Bunkerspot, is pursuing rapid development in hydrogen – could ‘procure cost-competitive hydrogen (at about $1/kg) in 2050 from a variety of sources, including via electrolysis from its own domestic renewable power, or via pipeline imports from North Africa or Southern Europe’.

Marco Alverà, the CEO of Snam, believed that: ‘The hydrogen market is on the verge of a revolution.’

Alverà continued: ‘The goal is to bring down the cost of green hydrogen until it becomes competitive with fossil fuels in many applications in the next five years. A smart way to scale up hydrogen production is blending it with natural gas in existing gas pipelines, something Snam has been testing for two years. We envision a future where clean hydrogen produced in Southern Italy or North Africa can be transported through our pipelines to serve Central and Northern European needs. While matching supply and demand in the most efficient way, the infrastructure is expected to play a central role in supporting the penetration of hydrogen in the energy mix.’

Click here to access the Global Gas Report 2020.

Lesley Bankes-Hughes

Lesley Bankes-Hughes