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Hydrogen, Commercial Now – Part 1

Hydrogen, Commercial Now – Part 1

This is the first part in a four-part series looking at the commercial competitiveness of hydrogen. To help us in this review we are going to be looking at a very helpful chart in the recent report titled “Path to Hydrogen Competitiveness”(1) released by the Hydrogen Council at the end of January. It visualises the competitiveness of hydrogen against incumbent solutions as well as other low-carbon solutions

Figure 1: Taken from Hydrogen Council “Path to Hydrogen Competitiveness”

In the debate that often surrounds the validity of hydrogen as an energy storage mechanism, hydrogen is usually evaluated in a binary manner: all in, or all out. However, as with most things, it isn’t black and white. The Hydrogen Council’s report nicely addresses those who would say hydrogen has no relevance, or indeed those who might say it is the only route forward. This series builds on the report and will cover the following:

  1. In this first instalment we provide an overview of the factors driving competitiveness.
  2. In the second instalment we take a closer look at scenarios where hydrogen is the best answer (the top right quadrant of the Hydrogen Council’s chart).
  3. In the third we will review at the transition cases, where things must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis (the intersections between quadrants).
  4. And lastly, we consider cases where hydrogen is either the right low-carbon answer but it might cost more than incumbent solutions, or where hydrogen probably isn’t the right answer (left two quadrants).

Where is hydrogen the best answer?

Hydrogen is most competitive where an asset is highly utilised, consuming a large amount of energy, and mobile. Put simply, the competitiveness of hydrogen is driven by 3 factors:

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