Hydrogen demand could grow 100,000-fold by 2050: DNV GL


In the next 30 years, the world’s clean energy ambitions could drive a 100,000-fold growth in demand for hydrogen, predicts DNV GL in its research paper Hydrogen as an energy carrier. Consumption is expected to reach between 39 and 161 million tonnes of hydrogen per annum (Mtpa) in 2050, up from only 1,000 tonnes per annum today. This echoes the discussions from the thinktank roundtables at SIEW 2018, which highlighted the promise of hydrogen in the future energy system.

According to DNV GL, a key driver of hydrogen demand will come from its increased role in reducing the carbon footprint of mobility. Notably, more than 80 per cent of hydrogen demand for mobility will come from buses, trucks, and other heavy vehicles. Since heavy vehicles often cover longer distances, fuel-cell electric vehicles will emerge as the popular choice for heavy vehicles in the future as they can cover longer distances and weigh less than battery electric vehicles.

The paper also makes the following predictions:

  • “Clean” hydrogen production will reach cost parity with hydrogen production from fossil fuels by 2030. Currently, production from fossil fuels has a lower carbon footprint and cost compared to hydrogen produced from electrolysis. However, significantly reduced capital costs and surplus electricity generation from renewable sources will reduce the cost of “clean” hydrogen production by 2030.
  • Hydrogen-heated buildings will be adopted at a significant scale by 2030. Countries like Australia, Canada, South Korea, and the United States are expected to switch from natural gas to hydrogen for heating residential and commercial buildings. The benefits are two-pronged — hydrogen is both a cleaner and more cost-effective option in the long-term. However, deployment of hydrogen for heating requires significant investment, and will require substantial policy push and public co-funding.
  • Hydrogen-fuelled heating will be widely used in industries forced to reduce carbon emissions by 2050. For industries such as cement and aluminium that require high-grade heat, hydrogen as a heating fuel will become an essential option in their decarbonisation efforts. Due to the high initial cost of infrastructure, a concerted effort to enforce regulation and set carbon emission standards early will be necessary for industries to make the switch.

For the more predictions on the role hydrogen will play in decarbonising the world energy supply, please download the Hydrogen as an energy carrier report.


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