World Bank and global shipping among those making hydrogen the big winner at COP27 – HYCAP.
Last year, COP26 placed clean hydrogen at the top of the global decarbonization agenda, with the global availability of affordable, renewable, low-carbon hydrogen by 2030 becoming one of its five pillars.
This year, the role of hydrogen in achieving net zero has been further strengthened. Scaling up low-emission hydrogen production was one of five sector-specific priority actions named in the summit’s breakthrough agenda.
Priority actions included developing common definitions for low-emission and near-zero-emission hydrogen to provide credibility and transparency and help guide billions of pounds of hydrogen investment, and to accelerate the deployment of essential infrastructure projects, including at least 100 hydrogen valleys.
A hydrogen valley is a city, region, island or industrial cluster – where multiple hydrogen applications are combined into an integrated hydrogen ecosystem that consumes a significant amount of hydrogen, improving the economy behind the project.
The two most significant announcements came from the World Bank and the global shipping industry.
The World Bank has announced the creation of the Hydrogen for Development Partnership (H4D), a new global initiative to boost the deployment of low-carbon hydrogen in developing countries. The multilateral lender aims to unlock significant investment from public and private sources, foster capacity building and provide developing countries with access to concessional finance and technical assistance to scale up hydrogen projects.
The shipping industry has taken a big step forward as companies such as Maersk, MAN ES and the Getting to Zero Coalition have made strong commitments to the adoption of green hydrogen and hydrogen-derived fuels to achieve their decarbonization goals.
Signatories to the agreement have committed to achieving commercially viable, zero-emission ocean-going vessels from 2030 with the intention of exclusively using zero-emission propulsion sea freight services by 2040; scaling up green hydrogen production to 5.5 million tonnes per year by 2030; and full decarbonization of the maritime sector by 2050 at the latest.
Existing commitments made by Green Hydrogen Catapult, which includes Acwa, CWP, FFI, Iberdrola, Orsted and Snam, would be able to meet 90% of the maritime sector’s green hydrogen demand by 2030, according to the statement.
Lauren Craft, editor of Energy Intelligence New Energy, said:
The real winner at COP27 is hydrogen, which has seen widespread support as a potential replacement for gas in hard-to-decarbonise sectors of the economy.
“Gas continues to be seen as a transition fuel in the energy transition – but its role may be short-lived and less stable than once believed.”
Many COP27 delegates said time is running out for new gas assets to be fully utilized and monetized before 2050, the date most countries set for reaching net zero, according to Craft. Hydrogen, on the other hand, got nearly universal support, she said.
The agreements supporting this statement include an $80 million loan to Egypt Green from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to build the country’s first green hydrogen facility.
The funding will be used to build a 100 MW electrolyser powered by renewable energy, delivering up to 15,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year, which will be used to produce green ammonia to be sold in Egypt and internationally .
The agreement is a building block of the EU-Mediterranean Renewable Hydrogen Partnership, which aims to provide the necessary infrastructure and financing frameworks to support the development of a renewable hydrogen industry and trade in EU and Egypt, helping the EU achieve its RePowerEU goal of reducing its dependence on Russian gas with 20 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen by 2030.
Kenya’s president announced a plan to produce 30 GW of green hydrogen generation after signing a 500 billion Kenyan shillings ($4 billion) deal with the UK that will provide 2 billion in funding. KES over the next three years, with the aim of unlocking KES 12 billion in climate finance through CPF Financial Services and other private investors.
A large order for electrolyzers manufactured by Israeli company H2Pro from Moroccan renewable energy developer Gaia Energy was also announced at COP27.
Saudi Arabia also explained its intention to be one of the world’s largest suppliers of green, low-carbon hydrogen, with a production target of 4 million tons / year by 2030. Standards production units would be configured to meet market requirements in Europe and Asia-Pacific, the head of hydrogen at the Saudi energy ministry, Zeid al-Ghareeb, told delegates in Sharm el-Sheikh.
Green hydrogen produced by Saudi Arabia with alkaline electrolyzers, including capex, was valued at $3.20/kg this month, among the cheapest hydrogen sources in the world, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights .
Saudi Arabia plans to produce 650 mt/d of renewable hydrogen fueled by 4 GW of wind and solar power at its Neom project in the northwest of the Kingdom, with first production scheduled for 2026. It is also developing a plant of hydrogen “on a global scale”. in Jubail reforming natural gas with carbon capture technology, to produce 420 mt/d of hydrogen.
So while COP27 disappointed many after failing to find an agreement to phase out the use of fossil fuels, agreements accelerating the use of clean hydrogen provide more than a silver lining.
Fossil fuels cannot be phased out without a viable replacement and clean hydrogen is the only replacement. Industries from steel production to construction to transportation and energy need hydrogen, which produces zero carbon emissions when burned or used in a fuel cell, to decarbonize.
Thanks to the agreements announced in recent weeks, a hydrogen economy is getting closer and closer.
The World Bank and global shipping among those who made hydrogen the big winner at COP27, November 22, 2022