Efforts in order to boost hydrogen, which happens to be a fuel seen as critical in order to meet the worldwide climate goals, are racing at a rapid pace, especially in the US, thereby threatening Europe’s lead, as per a report.
Planned hydrogen electrolyer projects have jumped by 18% in the past 6 months across the world, thereby surpassing one terawatt of electricity capabilities for the very first time, as per the semi-annual report floated by energy research company Aurora.
North America, apparently, has seen the highest increase in planned hydrogen projects in the last 6 months, as per the consulting firm based out of Oxford. Although Europe still happens to be the most popular area when it comes to new hydrogen projects, the share has fallen from 63% six months ago to 56% as of now, and as per the prediction of the report, the majority share will be lost by 2025.
It is well to be noted that clean hydrogen happens to be a small but fast-growing area when it comes to transitioning to lower-power energy sources. The clean-burning gas is predicted to play a major role when it comes to decarbonizing heavy industries like steel and chemicals. That said, low-emission hydrogen production presently happens to be small compared to where the researchers believe it ought to be.
As per the IEA, the total hydrogen production will have to be almost 180 million metric tonnes by the end of this decade from where it presently is, i.e., just above 90 million tonnes as of date, so as to touch net zero carbon emissions in 2050. Apparently, the low emissions of gas production happen to be less than 1% of the present overall production and will require an elevation to above 90 million tonnes by 2030.
Electrolyzers make use of electricity when it comes to splitting water in order to bring about hydrogen, and once it is powered by renewable electricity, the output can be labelled as green hydrogen, which happens to be regarded as an emission-free energy.
The fact is that hydrogen can be generated by using fossil fuels as well; however, the output is not considered clean unless the greenhouse gas emissions released while producing it are captured and stored.
Europe, as is the case, has long been a dominating force in the ever-growing hydrogen sector; however, the lead now looks to be slipping, particularly when the US plans to spend a vast amount of funds in order to boost renewable energy production as well as invest in hydrogen.
Notably, Europe’s diminishing share of hydrogen projects happens to be a direct reason for the EU’s slow response to the US IRA as well as a prolonged delay when it comes to concrete regulations as far as renewable energy is concerned, says lead hydrogen researcher at Aurora, Dilara Caglayan.
The EU has been regarded as an early adopter when it comes to new low-carbon technologies like hydrogen electrolysers, solar power, and electric vehicles. That said, it has been slow to respond to the current US administration’s IRA, which went on to earmark $369 billion when it comes to green energy programmes. One of the important things is that the US happens to offer straightforward and generous tax credits to clean hydrogen manufacturers, whereas the US took many months to get into the finer details of the incentives, mostly involving more red tape.
The US’s vast spending has triggered fears across Europe that cleantech companies would regard it as a more alluring place when it comes to building new projects or even plan to shift entirely.
In February this year, the EU outlined its new plans to elevate Europe’s competitiveness when it came to low-carbon industries, and in the following month, it proposed to allow foreign incentives that could be matched in the sector.
Europe is in front as far as building a regional market for hydrogen is concerned, which includes creating producers of hydrogen and consumers within proximity. Aurora says, the European low-carbon hydrogen rates might as well fall, reaching €2.8 kilogrammes by 2050 as the new supply begins coming online. The demand for hydrogen is expected to increase by 60% by 2030 and thereafter increase threefold by 2040 as compared to what it is now.