Global hydrogen demand will quadruple by 2050; Energy tech analyst

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Trainee Reporter
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Qatar-based international intergovernmental organization, Gas Exporting Countries Forum’s (GECF) energy technology analyst Mr. Seyed Mohsen Razavi has stated that the global demand for hydrogen is expected to more than quadruple by 2050 as the world continues to strive for a zero-carbon energy system.

Mr. Razavi has noted that the supremacy of hydrogen is based on the possibility that it can be employed to decarbonize the so-called hard-to-abate sectors or in sectors in which other decarbonization pathways, such as electrification, are challenged. These industries include but are not limited to, steel, iron, and cement, as well as heavy-duty vehicles, aviation, maritime, and railway transportation.

“However, the carbon saving through hydrogen penetration is forecasted to be less than 6 GtCO2, which is far below the amount needed to achieve the Paris Agreement goals,” said Mr. Razavi.

The analyst further added that, “Firstly, the hydrogen production supply chain needs to advance in all parts, and the cost should be reduced to gain more share in the future of the energy system. Secondly, the result highlights that hydrogen could not be the only solution in the carbon neutrality pathway, and other clean and decarbonized options, such as the application of natural gas coupled with carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) has to be seriously taken into consideration by all stakeholders.”

According to the latest modeling results published in the GECF Global Gas Outlook 2050, the global energy demand from hard-to-abate subsectors within transportation will stand at around 1800 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mtoe) per annum by 2050.

Seyed Mohsen Razavi
Seyed Mohsen Razavi
Energy Technology Analyst
GECF

“In a hypothetical assumption, to provide this amount of energy only through green hydrogen production, more than 6,000 GW of electrolyzer will be needed. This level is around five times more than the total current wind and solar installed capacity. With similar calculations again on the imaginary only-green hydrogen assumption, 1,500 GW of electrolyzer should be installed for the decarbonization of iron, steel, and cement sectors. While numerous sectors are still not included in these calculations, other measures are assumed for the purpose of decarbonization as well.”

The recently published GECF Hydrogen Scenario highlighted the latest updates and strategies adopted by countries and groups and assessed their impacts. Several countries have now formally published their hydrogen strategies or roadmaps. In some of the roadmaps and strategies such as the EU Hydrogen Strategy, the main priority has been attached to renewable hydrogen.

“The undeniable fact is that that there is no sole solution for carbon neutrality. Indeed, a combination of measures needs to be applied to achieve a net-zero emission. Apart from the energy conservation and energy efficiency enhancement that results in a reduction in final energy demand, clean energy supply should be diversely sourced from all clean available potentials. Renewables, natural gas, and CCUS will take greater roles in their original form, and all of them should contribute to hydrogen production. Renewables, natural gas, CCUS, and hydrogen are inevitable parts of a fully decarbonized energy system,” Mr. Razavi concluded.

Related: Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala, Italy’s Snam unite to foster hydrogen development in the UAE

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