- Hydrogen trade could hit 150 mln tonnes a year by 2050
- N. Asia seen taking 55% of seaborne hydrogen
- Mideast, Australia dominate green hydrogen plans
- Green hydrogen could be competitive with blue by 2030
MELBOURNE, Oct 28 (Reuters) – Hydrogen could make up around one-third of global seaborne energy trade by 2050 from zero now as countries consider the fuel source as a way to achieve net-zero carbon emissions, according to forecasts from consultants Wood Mackenzie.
WoodMac sees global demand for hydrogen reaching 530 million tonnes a year by 2050 from less than 1 million tonnes currently, in an accelerated energy transition scenario limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.
About 150 million tonnes of that will be traded on the seaborne market, with 55% of the import demand expected to come from northeast Asia, it said in a report on so-called low-carbon hydrogen released on Thursday.
“The global energy trade is set to see its largest disruption since the 1970s and the rise of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC),” Prakash Sharma, head of markets and transitions for Asia at WoodMac said in the report.
Low-carbon hydrogen refers to hydrogen derived in processes with few or no carbon dioxide emissions. For example, so-called blue hydrogen is produced from natural gas with the carbon dioxide released in the process captured and stored, while green hydrogen is made by splitting water in an electrolyser powered by renewable energy.
Hydrogen is considered the likely replacement for coal, oil and gas where electrification of energy use is not possible – such as in trucking, shipping, steel and cement making.
The countries best positioned to export hydrogen are Saudi Arabia, Australia and Russia, already the world’s top three energy exporters, Sharma said in an interview.
WoodMac forecasts green hydrogen, currently around three times the price of blue hydrogen, will be competitive with blue by 2030.
Saudi Arabia and Australia are well positioned to grab big market shares in both blue and green hydrogen, Sharma said.
Not only do both countries have abundant solar and gas resources, they both have strong potential for carbon capture and storage (CCS), key for blue hydrogen.
“Without CCS and without hydrogen, there is no net zero,” Sharma said.
The Middle East accounts for the biggest share of green hydrogen projects announced worldwide at 34%, ahead of Australia with 23%, WoodMac said.
That does not include Australian iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group’s (FMG.AX) ambition to produce 15 million tonnes a year of green hydrogen by 2030, which Sharma said would be a “Herculean task”. read more
Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Christian Schmollinger
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