Global hydrogen development to accelerate with 72GW of projects in the pipeline

Western Europe is expected to see the largest number of project completions with 30 schemes proposed between 2021 and 2030, Fitch Solutions says

FILE PHOTO: A Hyundai Motor's Nexo hydrogen car is fuelled at a hydrogen station in Seoul, South Korea, August 13, 2019. Picture taken on August 13, 2019.    REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji/File Photo
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Countries around the world are accelerating the deployment of green hydrogen with 72 Gigawatts of projects in the pipeline, according to a report.

Stringent requirements for emissions control and a move towards a sustainable post-pandemic recovery, as well an increasing number of carbon capture and storage schemes are fuelling the momentum towards hydrogen, Fitch Solutions said in a report on Friday.

Asia currently leads in the hydrogen project pipeline, however, Western Europe is expected to see a considerable amount of activity in the sector.

The EU, through its centralised hydrogen strategy and enhanced funding package for this year, is pushing for 40GW of internal market capacity and 40GW of neighbouring market production capacity.

"In addition, of the 46 projects we have captured which have timeframes for completion, 80 per cent are targeted for 2025 or sooner," Fitch Solutions said.

Western Europe is also expected to see the largest number of project completions, with 30 schemes proposed between 2021 and 2030.

Hydrogen is being trialled as an  alternative to fossil fuels, particularly in transportation. Clean hydrogen can slash greenhouse gas emissions from the hydrocarbons sector by 34 per cent, according to BloombergNEF. The growth of hydrogen can fuel a €120 billion (Dh523.1bn) industry in Europe by 2050, according to Aurora Energy Research.

McKinsey, meanwhile, estimates that the development of a hydrogen economy could generate $140bn in annual revenue by 2030 and help support 700,000 jobs in the US.

Fitch Solutions also sees a commensurate increase in the size of projects, as well as their number.

"We note that projects are growing in size from tens of megawatts to several gigawatts. Of the 76 green hydrogen projects, representing an approximate 72GW, 17 are greater than 1GW in scale. In total, these 17 projects account for 66GW of hydrogen production capacity," the report said.

Growth is also fuelled by a number of countries in West Asia such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, pledging to make hydrogen an integral part of their energy mix.

Saudi Arabia, the world's largest exporter of crude, has ambitions of becoming the world's largest hydrogen exporter. A $5bn green hydrogen facility is set to be developed at Neom, which will be a partnership with Acwa Power and Air Products.

Abu Dhabi created a hydrogen alliance backed by key state entities last month as it looks to add significant hydrogen capacity to its clean energy targets.