World hydrogen consumption forecast to grow

16 November 2022

An engineer works on electricity generation turbines partially fuelled by green hydrogen belonging to a new project in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. (Photo: Reuters.)

The consumption of hydrogen by G7 countries could grow as much as much as sevenfold by 2050, according to a recent study.

The study, which was conducted by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) said those countries have the most favorable conditions for the development of green hydrogen: access to capital, presence of heavy industry, availability of renewable resources, existing green hydrogen industry and technical skills.

The Group of 7 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The commitment by G7 to reach net zero emissions by 2050 will require a significant deployment of green hydrogen, according to the study.

“G7 has a sizeable economic footprint, accounting for 30 per cent of global energy demand,” said IRENA’s Director-General Francesco La Camera. “Through joint action and focused collaboration, it can be a first mover and determine the conditions of a future hydrogen market in line with the Hydrogen Action Pact.”

The report encourages a G7 framework to align policy making and make concrete commitments to harmonize hydrogen standards and certification, share lessons from early implementation, balance the focus on supply with demand creation, promote hydrogen uptake in industrial applications and conduct more targeted collaboration with industry stakeholders and civil society.

While G7 has the potential to consume around 28 per cent of global hydrogen, the aggregated hydrogen demand for G7 members was about 24.2 million tonnes of hydrogen in 2020, mostly from fossil fuels. The United States was the largest consumer in G7, closely followed by the European Union.

Out of the 65,000 hydrogen patents filed globally between 2010 and 2020, G7 members accounted for 50 per cent with two-thirds coming from Japan. Of the G7 members, the European Union as a whole and Germany aim to become technology exporters, building on their industrial development. By the end of 2021, roughly half of all electrolyzer manufacturers were in Europe.

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