Global green hydrogen project pipeline reaches 50 GW

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The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) estimates there are 50 green hydrogen projects under development worldwide. Those projects, have a planned annual production capacity of 4 million tons of hydrogen and a total renewable power capacity of 50 GW, according to the Ohio-based thinktank, with their combined capital cost estimated at $75 billion.

In its Asia, Australia and Europe Leading Emerging Green Hydrogen Economy, but Project Delays Likely study, IEEFA said the projects announced represent an embryonic global green hydrogen economy.

“Most of these 50 projects are at an early stage, with just 14 having started construction and 34 at a study or memorandum-of-understanding stage,” the report noted. “However, many of the 50 newly-announced green hydrogen projects could face delays due to uncertain financing, cumbersome joint venture structures and unfavorable seaborne-trade economics.”

The study stated the majority of the projects announced will begin commercial operation in the middle of the decade, with large scale facilities starting up in 2022-23 and 2025-26.

The report’s authors said the hydrogen strategies of China, Japan and South Korea appear to prioritize hydrogen generated using natural gas – designated grey hydrogen, or blue if facilities are intended to feature carbon capture technology – rather than ‘green’ hydrogen generated using renewable energy. IEEFA described the €430 billion ($507 billion) hydrogen strategy of the European Union as the the most ambitious and purposeful energy transition policy to date.

“The EU’s hydrogen capex [capital expenditure] commitment far outweighs the commitment from Korea and Japan, reflecting the EU’s ambition to remodel its energy system and vertically integrate the hydrogen value chain with wind and solar power, electrolysis, distribution and applications,” stated the report.

Annual green hydrogen demand could reach 8.7 million tonnes by 2030, according to the IEEFA study, prompting a big supply shortfall given the current capacity of the project pipeline.

The report lists all publicized projects, including five facilities announced in the last two months – an 85 MW Nikola Motor Company plant in the U.S.; a 4 GW facility in Saudi Arabia planned by Air Products, Acwa Power and Neom; a 20 MW electrolyser being developed by U.S. energy company NextEra; a 100 MW solar park, storage facility and hydrogen production site in Puertollano, central Spain, by Iberdrola; and a 30 MW electrolyzer project by German consortium WestKüste100.

“There remains ample room for more hydrogen projects to meet global demand and further policy support will be necessary to grow this nascent industry,” added the report’s authors.

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