Hydrogen demand worldwide reached 94 million tonnes in 2021, exceeding the previous annual high of 91 million tonnes reached in 2019, according to IEA report.
Almost all of last year’s increase was met by hydrogen produced from fossil fuels without carbon capture. And while demand for new hydrogen applications jumped by 60% in 2021, the growth was from such a low base that it rose to just 40,000 tons.
Considering today’s government policy settings, the new report estimates that global hydrogen demand is set to reach 115 million tonnes by 2030. If governments fully deliver on their current climate pledges, that number could rise to 130 million tonnes, with more than a quarter of it being met by low-emissions hydrogen.
If all projects in the pipeline come to fruition, the production of low-emissions hydrogen could reach 16 million to 24 million tonnes per year by 2030, with more than half of it coming from electrolysers running on renewable energy. Completion of all the projects in the pipeline could result in the world’s capacity to produce hydrogen via electrolysers rising to up to 290 gigawatts in 2030 compared with 0.5 gigawatts in 2021.
Today, the global capacity to manufacture electrolysers stands at 8 gigawatts a year, but based on industry announcements, it could exceed 60 gigawatts a year by 2030. And if electrolyser projects in the pipeline are completed, and the planned scaling up in manufacturing capacities takes place, costs could fall by around 70% by 2030 compared with today.
Fatih Birol, IEA Executive Director, said, “There are growing signs that hydrogen will be an important element of the transition to an affordable, secure and clean energy system, but there are still major advances in technology, regulation and demand needed for it to fulfil its potential.”