IEA report backs hydrogen

The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) new G20 report shows it believes hydrogen could be at the centre of a new, global green-energy trade The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) new G20 report shows it believes hydrogen could be at the centre of a new, global green-energy trade

A new Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) report has come out “in favour of hydrogen as a fuel... and emphasises that industrial centres, including the ports themselves, will be at the centre of the transition”, says Alex Floristean of Hydrogen Europe.

The report – The Future of Hydrogen: Seizing Today’s Opportunities, also puts ‘launch[ing] the hydrogen trade’s first international shipping routes’ amongst the top four priorities which can help lay the foundations for the growth of a global clean hydrogen industry.

It notes that there are significant challenges ahead. At present, most hydrogen comes from natural gas and coal: ‘green’ hydrogen from low-carbon energy is currently costly, infrastructure development is slow and the underpinning regulations need work – in some cases substantial revision - to support uptake.

However, the report also outlines the opportunities, including the capture and reuse of the CO2 from fossil-fuel hydrogen production, and building on existing infrastructure, such as natural gas pipelines. There’s also the possibility of creating hydrogen from renewable sources, something that’s already being explored by a number of wind energy producers.

Most importantly for the maritime industry, it asks that authorities address the investment risks of first-movers, recognising that ‘new applications for hydrogen, as well as clean hydrogen supply and infrastructure projects, stand at the riskiest point of the deployment curve’.

So, has hydrogen’s time finally come – or will the attention once more fizzle out? The fuel is currently “enjoying unprecedented momentum,” said Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, secretary general of Hydrogen Europe, and while he admitted it has been the focus of a media bubble before, he underlined this time “we see companies, governments, international institutions developing their own hydrogen strategies and roadmaps”.

“The G20 report gives the strong signal that hydrogen is a reality that is here to stay... This time it is not hype," concluded Mr Chatzimarkakis.

By Stevie Knight

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