While it will be a stretch to even consider 2021 has been the year of hydrogen, it has certainly been the year that the green gas started to really heat up.

Increasingly, hydrogen is being seen as a potential replacement for fossil fuels and also as a way of storing excess energy generated by renewable sources for use when the sun isn’t shining or the wind stops blowing.

Big steps have been made by both sides of the supply picture.

Blue hydrogen, which sees the gas created from natural gas or even coal while the resulting carbon dioxide is captured for sequestration or use, has seen strong support from the Australian federal government under the guise of promoting ‘clean’ hydrogen.

This is seen by some as being the fastest and most cost-efficient way of getting the gas to the market, while others consider it to be an attempt by the government to prop up the fossil fuel industry.

Its green rival has also seen its star rise to ascendency.

In spite of the federal government’s seeming reluctance to openly support green hydrogen, there is a growing move to reduce emissions and embrace ESG practices.

More broadly, government forecasters have indicated that some $185bn worth of major Australian projects in hydrogen, carbon capture and storage and ammonia are in the pipeline.

Hydrogen in 2021

So just what were some of the most-read stories on Stockhead in 2021?

Here’s a bit of a recap.

Hydrogen: Here are all the ASX stocks in it and who will soon be joining the club

Stockhead readers are clearly keen to find out who in the hydrogen sector is actually available to invest in on the ASX.

And as hydrogen ramps up around the world, where does Australia stand?

We all know that hydrogen is gaining traction as a potential store of energy but how was Australia getting in to the action?

There has been substantial activity since this article in February, but it clearly outlined the enormous potential of the gas, provided a baseline for where Australia stood in the sector at the beginning of 2021 and how hydrogen fuel cells provided a very real alternative to battery electric drivetrains for commercial vehicles.

Fortescue’s green hydrogen vision for iron and steel takes a leap forward

Andrew Forrest is now well known for his advocacy of green hydrogen but it was back in February that we first learnt just how far reaching his plans were.

Back then, he called on Australia to curb greenhouse emissions not by stopping the mining of iron ore but by turning iron ore into steel using zero emissions energy, adding that green hydrogen could generate revenues of at least US$12 trillion by 2050.

It also marked the point where it became clear the iron ore magnate was absolutely serious about his Australian Fortescue Future Industries (AFFI) group.

A new hydrogen ETF just listed on the ASX today

Want to invest in hydrogen but not sure which companies to invest in? It appears our readers were indeed interested in Australia’s first exchange traded fund focused primarily on hydrogen,

Speaking to Stockhead, ETF Securities’ Kanish Chugh said in October that there was increasing interest in the space, which led to it setting up the ETFS Hydrogen ETF (ASX:HGEN).