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Is hydrogen the missing piece of the zero-carbon puzzle?

31 July 2018

To meet the goals set out at the Paris Climate Conference, Europe will need to go beyond the decarbonisation of power: the challenge lies in reducing emissions from heat, transport and buildings. Hydrogen can deliver decarbonisation in these sectors, making it one of the more attractive options for deep decarbonisation. To understand the possible impact of hydrogen, IHS Markit has launched a far-reaching multi-client study assessing how hydrogen can contribute in a zero-carbon world: Hydrogen: the missing piece of the zero-carbon puzzle.

Our experts share their expertise on goals set out at the Paris Climate Conference in Europe:

'The European Union expects that a great deal of the additional emissions reduction to meet the 2030 target will be achieved in heat and transport sector, therefore not with electric renewables. In that context, hydrogen in heating and transport will become much more of a focus of attention.' - Simon Blakey, Senior Associate.

'Hydrogen as an energy source has been discussed for decades. The increasing focus on climate means that this is the right time for the energy industry to pilot hydrogen projects and assist policymakers to create a roadmap for its contribution to reducing emissions.' - Shankari Srinivasan, Vice-President.

In the first workshop, IHS Markit detailed at the cost of producing hydrogen from different technologies, focusing on the comparison between 'green' (from zero-carbon electricity) and 'blue' (from natural gas with carbon capture and storage or use) hydrogen. Below, is analysis from our experts.

Catherine Robinson, Executive Director says: 'Producing blue hydrogen with steam methane reforming is relatively straightforward: gas price is the key parameter. Once you start to think about green hydrogen, things get much more complex. Looking at green hydrogen, you need to consider what technology does the power come from, what is the carbon content of the electricity, what is the cost of the electricity, what load is implied for electrolyser.'

Deborah Mann, Director, adds: 'Cost drivers for green hydrogen and blue hydrogen are very different. The production of blue hydrogen would benefit from scale-large centralised projects would drive costs down, including from CCS. Green hydrogen, on the other hand, requires the rollout of many small electrolysers to drive down the current high costs of the technology to an economic level through volume-learning.'

For more information about our multi-client study 'Hydrogen: the missing piece of the zero-carbon puzzle', please contact Cristian Muresan.

Learn more about our critical insight on supply demand and price trends across global gas markets.

Coralie Laurencin is Director, European Power, Gas, Coal, and Renewables, IHS Markit.
Posted 31 July 2018

IHS Markit and CNPC ETRI are jointly presenting the International Energy Executive Forum 2019 in Beijing, China on December 13, 2018. Now in its 6th year, the Forum will address pertinent issues, like the ones covered in the article above, and a wide range of topics concerning global energy development with top executives, government officials, and thought leaders. Registration will open in September 2018.

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