Following the release of the “Hydrogen on the Horizon” series in July and September 2021, the World Energy Council, in collaboration with EPRI and PwC, led a series of regional deep dives to understand regional differences within low-carbon hydrogen development. These regional deep dives aimed to uncover regional perspectives and differing dynamics for low-carbon hydrogen uptake.
Although each region presents its own distinctive challenges and opportunities, the deep dives revealed that the “regional paths” provide new insights into the global scaling up of low-carbon hydrogen in the coming years. In addition, each region holds its own unique potential in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
1. Our new regional insights indicate that low-carbon hydrogen can play a significant role by 2040 across the world by supporting countries’ efforts towards achieving Paris Agreement goals, whilst contributing to the diversity and security of their energy portfolios. This would require significant global trade flows of hydrogen and hydrogen-based fuels.
2. The momentum for hydrogen-based fuels is continuing to grow worldwide, but differences are seen between regions – based on differing market activities and opportunities.
3. Today, moving from “whether” to “how” to develop low-carbon hydrogen highlights significant uncertainties, which need to be addressed if hydrogen is to reach its full potential.
- Can the challenges in various supply chain options be overcome?
- Can hydrogen play a role in tackling climate change in the short term?
- Can bankable projects emerge and the gap between engineers and financers be bridged? Can the stability of supply of the main low-carbon hydrogen production sources be guaranteed?
4. Enabling low-carbon hydrogen at scale would notably require greater coordination and cooperation amongst stakeholders worldwide to better mobilise public and private finance, and to shift the focus to end-users and people through the following actions:
- Moving from production cost to end-use price
- Developing Guarantees of Origin schemes with sustainability requirements
- Developing a global monitoring and reporting tool on low-carbon hydrogen projects
- Better consideration of social impacts alongside economic opportunities