Report: Clean hydrogen tech may compete with the big boys around 2030
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A study of 19 separate, completely unrelated hydrogen roadmaps from around the world suggest 2030 as the ‘tipping point’ where large scale and rapid deployment of hydrogen technologies begin.
Right now, one of the biggest stumbling blocks to adoption is the prohibitive cost of producing hydrogen from low carbon sources.
It looks like money could be trickling back into hydrogen, but the tech — plagued by a number of false starts over the past ~50 years — still has to overcome some big hurdles.
The new Future Fuels CRC (FFCRC) report was designed to understand how nations, regions and industries view the opportunities and potential for clean hydrogen.
Surprisingly, the report found that the roadmaps were developed in isolation from one another; but there’s a lot of commonalities.
The “general impression” is that hydrogen technologies will approach commercialisation beyond 2030, according to the Future Fuels CRC.
For example, France predicts that electrolysis of water using renewable energy could be price competitive by 2035, while Japan will ramp up demand and supply-side measures after 2030 to make hydrogen competitive with traditional energy sources.
The South Korean and Japanese strategies anticipate cost reductions of between 60–80 per cent over the next one to two decades.
Energy Networks Australia chief exec Andrew Dillon said most jurisdictions also identified injection of hydrogen into gas networks as a way to decarbonise their energy systems.
“Australia’s gas networks are already testing the blending of hydrogen into existing distribution networks as a way to provide clean, efficient energy to heat homes and cook food,” Dillon says.
In the UK, the H21 Leeds Citygate Project is a groundbreaking plan to convert the existing natural gas network in the city of Leeds to 100 per cent hydrogen.
It could reduce carbon emissions by 73 per cent, the report said, with “a detailed technical and economic study” concluding that the project is genuinely achievable.
The total cost to convert Leeds including hydrogen production and storage, all associated infrastructure, and appliance conversions would be in the region of £2bn ($3.58bn) the proponents say.