2050: The hydrogen possibility

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Hydrogen is arguably the hottest topic in energy. Last year, seven national hydrogen strategies were unveiled, targeting 66 GW of electrolyzer capacity for green hydrogen production. 2020 also saw some of the world's largest energy market leaders like Shell, BP, Enel, Engie, Orsted and Equinor propose projects, investments and partnerships in low-carbon hydrogen. Unequivocally, hydrogen has gained remarkable momentum this year. The pipeline is now nine times larger than it was in October 2019 (26 GW and counting).

But the market is nascent, costs remain high and transportation is complex. Will this market be able to overcome those barriers? How large will the hydrogen market become? Is low-carbon hydrogen the "new oil"? Which sectors will be the first movers in the "hydrogen economy"? Who will win the battle between blue and green hydrogen? Which countries will be the most critical hydrogen markets over the next thirty years? 2050: The Hydrogen Possibility attempts to answer these burning questions. While these questions are impossible to definitively answer today, this report provides one perspective of how the nascent low-carbon hydrogen may evolve.

Highlights of the report include:

  • By 2050, low-carbon hydrogen will constitute 7% of global final energy demand.
  • Low-carbon hydrogen demand will grow to 211Mt by 2050, from practically zero today.
  • Until 2030, 80% of low-carbon hydrogen deployment will be for decarbonizing existing end-uses of fossil-based hydrogen. Not until the mid 2030s do we expect significant penetration into new end-use sectors.
  • Close to US$1Trillion will be required for low-carbon hydrogen production CAPEX.

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