As global leaders gathered at COP 23 in Bonn, the Hydrogen Council launched their global vision of the role of hydrogen, developed with support from McKinsey.
In addition, to being a key pillar in of the energy transition, the study shows that hydrogen has the potential to develop US$2.5 trillion of business, creating more than 30 million jobs by 2050.
Taking the Hydrogen Council’s vision for hydrogen to the next level, the study entitled Hydrogen, Scaling Up outlines a comprehensive and quantified roadmap to scale deployment and its enabling impact on the energy transition.
Deployed at scale, hydrogen could account for almost one-fifth of total final energy consumed by 2050. This would reduce annual CO2 emissions by roughly six gigatons compared to today’s levels, and contribute roughly 20% of the abatement required to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius.
On the demand side, the Hydrogen Council sees the potential for hydrogen to power about 10 to 15 million cars and 500,000 trucks by 2030, with many uses in other sectors as well, such as industry processes and feedstocks, building heating and power, power generation and storage.
Overall, the study predicts that the annual demand for hydrogen could increase tenfold by 2050 to almost 80 Exajoules in 2050 meeting 18% of total final energy demand in the 2050 two-degree scenario.
At a time when global populations are expected to grow by two billion people by 2050, hydrogen technologies have the potential to create opportunities for sustainable economic growth.
“The world in the 21st century must transition to widespread low carbon energy use,” said Takeshi Uchiyamada, chairman of the Toyota Motor Corporation and co-chair of the Hydrogen Council.
“Hydrogen is an indispensable resource to achieve this transition because it can be used to store and transport wind, solar and other renewable electricity to power transportation and many other things.
“The Hydrogen Council has identified seven roles for hydrogen, which is why we are encouraging governments and investors to give it a prominent role in their energy plans. The sooner we get the hydrogen economy going, the better, and we are all committed to making this a reality.”
Achieving such scale would require substantial investments; approximately $20 to 25 billion annually for a total of about $280 billion until 2030. Within the right regulatory framework―including long-term, stable coordination and incentive policies―the report considers that attracting these investments to scale the technology is feasible.
The world already invests more than $1.7 trillion in energy each year, including $650 billion in oil and gas, $300 billion in renewable electricity, and more than $300 billion in the automotive industry.
The launch of the new roadmap came during the Sustainability Innovation Forum in the presence of 18 senior members of the Hydrogen Council led by co-chairs Uchiyamada and Benoît Potier, chairman and CEO of Air Liquide and accompanied by Professor Aldo Belloni, CEO of The Linde Group, Woong-chul Yang, vice chairman of Hyundai Motor Company and Anne Stevens, Board Member of Anglo American.