unrealistic hydrogen gloas

Michael Liebriech in a recent LinkedIn article commented about unrealistic 20230 hydrogen goals which came out of COP28 in Dec 2023. In summary, he says there is a trillion-dollar funding gap. He provides evidence of hydrogen hype. The US’s Hydrogen Shot program, launched in June 2021, aimed for “three ones”: clean hydrogen at $1 for 1kg in one decade.

  • The IEA’s 2023 Global Hydrogen Review expects 150 million tons of clean hydrogen to be produced by 2030.
  • The Hydrogen Energy Ministerial set a target of 90 million tons of clean hydrogen by 2030.
  • Existing projects are less than 10% of those targets and committed are less than 1%
  • The cost of clean hydrogen at a price of $3-5/kg is more realistic than $1/kg within a decade.
  • Even with subsidies, it is unlikely that enough clean hydrogen will be produced to meet the 2030 target.

Summary of Liebreich’s Unrealistic 2030 Hydrogen Goals

You would need to retrofit with CCS or replace almost half of the existing fossil-fuel-based hydrogen production; build 60 times more clean hydrogen production capacity than has been funded to date; and create 50 million tons of annual demand in sectors that do not currently use hydrogen at all.

Michael Liebreich Clean Hydrogen’s Missing Trillions

Despite numerous hydrogen projects in the pipeline, a significant funding gap threatens the ambitious goals for clean hydrogen production by 2030. Key points:

High Targets, Low Progress:

BNEF’s Clean Hydrogen Database shows potential for 170 million tons of production, while IEA estimates 38 million tons by 2030.
However, only 1.5 million tons are in production or near final investment decision, highlighting a major shortfall. Most are for ammonia

Financial Hurdle:

To achieve the Hydrogen Energy Ministerial’s 90 million-ton target by 2030, a staggering $2.1 trillion more in funding is needed, representing over a 90% deficit.

This funding gap explains the increasing project delays and abandonment, and will likely persist in the foreseeable future.

Reality Check:

The author emphasizes the need for a reality check regarding hydrogen’s role in decarbonization, urging for more practical and attainable goals considering the substantial financial constraints. In particular he refers to the hydrogen ladder for use only where there is no real alternative.

hydrogen ladder v5

References and Further Reading

Liebreich: Clean Hydrogen’s Missing Trillions https://about.bnef.com/blog/liebreich-clean-hydrogens-missing-trillions/

Zun, M. T., & McLellan, B. C. (2023). Cost Projection of Global Green Hydrogen Production Scenarios. Hydrogen, 4(4), 932-960. https://doi.org/10.3390/hydrogen4040055