IEA expects global low-carbon hydrogen trade to grow, resilient supply chains needed

Economy Materials 3 September 2022 14:22 (UTC +04:00)
IEA expects global low-carbon hydrogen trade to grow, resilient supply chains needed
Maryana Ahmadova
Maryana Ahmadova
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BAKU, Azerbaijan, September 3. Sufficient trade infrastructure needs to be deployed in order to establish low-carbon hydrogen market globally, Trend reports via the latest publication from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

“Currently, more than 100 projects aiming to trade hydrogen (or its derivatives, such as ammonia and synthetic fuels) are under development around the globe, with about half of them based in the South East Asia region. If all these projects are realized, the equivalent of nearly 5 Mt of H2 could be being traded by 2030,” the report said.

As the IEA explained, the supply chain for low-emission hydrogen is complex and evolving, as some of the required technologies are not yet commercially available. Thus, building a sustainable supply chain will require extensive action on several fronts.

“Significant investment is required across the whole value chain, including upstream renewable energy capacity, infrastructure for the transport and storage of hydrogen, and manufacturing capacity for key technologies such as electrolyzers and fuel cells. Realizing these investments requires an understanding of future low-emission hydrogen demand and the scale of production to de-risk them,” the IEA noted.

According to the IEA, various means of low-carbon hydrogen transportation need to be expanded for the development of resilient hydrogen supply chains.

“Short-distance hydrogen transport is likely to be dominated by pipelines. The transport of hydrogen via pipeline is a mature technology, but it is capital-intensive, requiring high upfront investment. Converting existing natural gas pipelines to hydrogen can substantially reduce the cost, but the technical feasibility needs to be assessed individually for each pipeline or network, while regulations and technical standards may need to be adapted to allow for such a conversion,” the report said.

Also, there are alternatives options for long-distance hydrogen transport, mostly at an early development stage, such as in liquefied form, using ammonia, liquid organic hydrogen carriers.

“Furthermore, after being used to transport hydrogen to its destination, the carrier needs to be shipped back, increasing the cost of this transport option,” the IEA noted.


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