Green hydrogen – 50-fold scale up and cost halving in six years

The Green Hydrogen Catapult has been formed by major producers to accelerate production and use in the most carbon intensive industries.

The founding partners of the global initiative include renewable developers ACWA Power from Saudi Arabia and CWP Renewables from Australia, Shanghai-based wind turbine manufacturer Envision, Spanish energy giant Iberdrola, Danish multinational Ørsted, energy infrastructure operator Snam from Italy and the crop nutritionist Yara.

The companies are targeting the deployment of 25GW of renewables-based hydrogen production through 2026, with a view to halving the current cost of hydrogen to below US$2/kg.

In a January 2020 study the Hydrogen Council found that scale-up would be the biggest driver of cost reduction. Further, a US$2/kg price represents a potential tipping point that would make green hydrogen and its derivative fuels the energy source of choice in power generation and other sectors such as steel and fertilizer production and long-range shipping.

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For example, the Hydrogen Council believes that hydrogen-based technologies that could be competitive by 2030 include hydrogen boilers and combined heat and power fuel cells as low carbon building heating alternatives.

Hydrogen also is expected to play an increasingly systemic role in balancing the power system as production costs drop and demand rises.

Green ammonia, a derivative of green hydrogen, is also being tested to displace fossil fuels in thermal power generation, greatly decreasing the emissions intensity of existing energy infrastructure.

“The world urgently needs to massively ramp up deployment of breakthrough solutions like green hydrogen,” says Nigel Topping, COP26 high level champion for climate action.

“The bold vision and leadership of businesses can propel green hydrogen along an exponential growth trajectory to support economic recovery and deep decarbonisation sooner than anticipated.”

The Green Hydrogen Catapult aims to align the production and use of green hydrogen with a trajectory that displaces fossil fuels at a rate consistent with achieving net zero global emissions by 2050 and limiting global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

The founding companies plan to accelerate the necessary technology, component manufacturing and construction advancements, market development and flow of investment. The Catapult target will require investment of roughly $110 billion and deliver more than 120,000 jobs.

Other committed businesses with gigawatt-scale projects under development, as well as investors, customers and city and regional governments are invited to participate as the initiative takes shape and builds momentum in advance of the next UN COP26 Climate Summit scheduled to take place in Glasgow in November 2021.