Green hydrogen supply: Short-term scarcity, long-term uncertainty
Green hydrogen and derived electrofuels are important components of climate change mitigation scenarios as they enable emissions reductions in sectors inaccessible to direct electrification. However, scaling up supply is critical and challenging since electrolysis capacity needs to grow 6,000-8,000-fold until 2050 to meet the net-zero emissions scenarios of IEA and IRENA. Here, using a probabilistic technology diffusion model, we show that even if electrolysis capacity grows as fast as wind and solar power, the growth-rate champions, green hydrogen supply will remain scarce in the short term and uncertain in the long term.
We believe that our analysis is relevant to modellers as it can help to parametrise plausible expansion pathways of green hydrogen for climate change mitigation scenarios in IAMs. In an Extended Data Figure, we show that IAM scenarios included in the IPCC databases tend to use far less green hydrogen than envisaged by policy targets, industry plans, or other net-zero emissions scenarios. This demonstrates that the awareness of hydrogen’s critical importance for climate change mitigation is already acknowledged by many actors, while it is just emerging in the IAM community.
Adrian Odenweller, Falko Ueckerdt, Gregory F. Nemet, Miha Jensterle, Gunnar Luderer (2022): Probabilistic feasibility space of scaling up green hydrogen supply. Nature Energy.