Shipping to need 5m tons hydrogen by 2030: Hydrogen Council

COalition of CEO's behind hydrogen-developing businesses issue COP26-timed report on huge role green hydrogen to play by 2050, stating also huge role in shipping for hydrogen based fuels

The Hydrogen Council, an industry body made up of organisations in favour of hydrogen as a route to decarbonisation, has issued a new report to underline its message about the need to scale up support for the molecule to become a part of societal decarbonisation. The contents of the 56 page report include a need to use hydrogen-based fuels in shipping. 


A press release from the Council states “As the UN Climate Change Conference convenes in Glasgow, the Hydrogen Council CEO coalition is calling on world leaders – public and private – to show concerted effort to materialise announced hydrogen plans around the globe to get the world on track with climate targets. Going hand in hand with electrification, the development of the hydrogen economy is vital to enable deep decarbonisation worldwide in a cost-effective and efficient manner, allowing countries to meet their climate goals, boost green growth and create sustainable jobs”. 


“To stimulate the bold action needed, the Hydrogen Council is putting forward new, comprehensive data on the carbon abatement potential of hydrogen, alongside a ready-to-deploy toolbox of instruments and measures to create enabling policy frameworks for renewable and low carbon hydrogen.


The Council’s “Hydrogen for Net Zero” report shows that hydrogen can provide the lowest-cost decarbonisation solution for over a fifth of final energy demand by mid-century – contributing a cumulated reduction of 80Gt of CO2 – and is thus an essential solution to reach the 1.5°C climate scenario. Within the next decade, global demand for renewable and low carbon hydrogen could grow by 50%. By 2030, this would translate into an annual CO2 emissions abatement equivalent to the total volume of CO2 emitted by UK, France, and Belgium combined. However, this important steppingstone requires a significant scaling up of production, infrastructure and end uses now.


For international shipping this report suggests that the industry will need 5 million metric tons of hydrogen-based fuels by 2030, if the industry wishes to remain on a decarbonisation trajectory that is inline with the Paris Agreement. This is equivalent to 6% of ocean going vessels having such fuels.

The report from the Hydrogen Council states:

In long-distance shipping, hydrogen-based fuels are the only scalable decarbonization alternatives, and each fuel has different characteristics. It is not yet clear whether one technology will dominate, but the adoption of hydrogen-based fuels should reach about 6% to track net-zero targets.

Given the long lifecycles of ships and resulting long lead-times to replace fleets, industry stakeholders must today plan for the transition by deploying “hydrogen-ready” ships. Engines must be adapted, and port infrastructure must support the bunkering of new fuels.

The report also points to the need for increased investment in hydrogen transportation, either through pipelines or shipping, particularly to unlock untapped renewable resources that are not connected to a global hydrogen supply chain. 


The Council states that the hydrogen industry has built a solid foundation with more than 520 large-scale projects and 90+ GW of electrolyser production capacity announced worldwide, equivalent to $160bn of direct investments. 

“Closer public-private collaboration is critical to increase investments: a fourfold increase is required by 2030 to put the world on the trajectory to Net Zero. Only by frontloading investments and funding support in this decade can we scale up hydrogen to the level needed to reach global climate goals by 2050, while bringing costs down.



A “Policy Toolbox for Low Carbon and Renewable Hydrogen”, released in tandem with the above report, represents what the Hydrogen Council calls a comprehensive assessment of dozens of hydrogen policy measures applied across different segments of the value chain at different stages of market maturity. 


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