Hydrogen Generation Market

Global Industry Analysis (2017 – 2020) – Growth Trends and Market Forecast (2021 – 2025)

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Hydrogen Is Set to Change the Future

An explosive, and clean-burning bounteous gas is approximately 75% of all baryonic matter; which makes it one of the most renewable sources (cheaper, and cleaner alternative to fossil fuels) of energy on the planet. It can be used as a feedstock, fuel, or energy carrier, and does not emit CO2 when burnt. The by-products, one of which is water, are safe and leave minimal waste, which is gaining prominence for decarbonising the economy. As nations come forward with net-zero strategies to align with their international climate targets, hydrogen has once again become the talking point for Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, the US, and the UK. It is set to become a globally traded commodity. The hydrogen generation market is projected for an impressive growth outlook during the forecast period.

Supplying hydrogen to industrial users is now a major business around the world. Hydrogen now supplies less than 5% of the world’s energy and its complete potential in clean energy transitions is yet to be realised. Most of it is used for oil refining, and chemical production and will possibly reach nearly a quarter of the global energy consumption by 2050, backed by strong government policies promoting it. Potentially, hydrogen could soon power trucks, planes, and ships. It can also be used to make fertilisers, heat homes, generate electricity, and balance electricity grids, and help heavy industry drive everything from steel to cement. Such a broad application base makes hydrogen an exciting segment of the clean energy market, with a plenty of room for growth in the medium, and long term.

Investments Flow in to Hydrogen Space - Practically a Clean Energy Source

Complete reliance on hydrogen would require staggering quantities of the fuel, which is only as clean as the methods used to produce it. Hydrogen can be extracted from wood, or fossil fuels (which currently provide four-fifths of the world’s energy supply and emit the bulk of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions) such as natural gas and oil, biomass, from water, or from a mix of both. Hydrogen can be generated by splitting water with electricity (electrolysis), or by splitting fossil fuels or biomass with heat or steam, using reforming or pyrolysis.

  • Steam methane reforming (SMR) or auto thermal reforming (ATR) produces blue hydrogen – considered blue when the emissions - carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide - can be captured and stored {underground via industrial carbon capture and storage (CSS)}.
  • Charcoal gasification, i.e., transforming coal into gas produces brown or black hydrogen, which currently accounts for around 95% of global production. However, it is a highly polluting process as both CO2, and carbon monoxide cannot be reused and are released in the atmosphere.
  • Biomass involves organic matter gasification that has lower carbon footprint. With the use of carbon capture, and storage technologies, net carbon emissions can be lowered.
  • Photoelectrolysis produces pink hydrogen which is obtained from electrolysis through nuclear energy. However, the production depends on Uranium availability.
  • Green hydrogen is produced using electricity generated from renewables such as solar energy, biomass, electricity (e.g., in the form of solar photovoltaics (PVs), or via wind turbines), instead of fossil fuels. Its only by-product is water. Although it currently accounts for a mere 1% of the overall hydrogen production, it is in essence the gold standard of hydrogen in the clean energy sector.

Nevertheless, more efficient techniques to generate hydrogen energy with minimal waste have now been developed recently, including proton exchange proton exchange membrane technology, alkaline fuel cells, molten carbonate fuel cells, and ceramic/solid oxide fuel cells.

Hydrogen Generation Gains Ground as Governments Accelerate their Journey Towards Sustainability

The rise of environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) is set to draw new attention to clean energy markets such as hydrogen. Governments from around the world have been developing regulatory policy frameworks that promote sustainability through lowering carbon footprint. Most notably, the landmark Paris Agreement. According to Hydrogen Council, as of early 2021, over 30 countries have released hydrogen roadmaps with national hydrogen strategies in place, and governments worldwide have committed public funding in support of decarbonisation through hydrogen technologies. 200+ large-scale projects (with 85% located in Europe, Asia, and Australia) have been announced across the value chain, with a total value exceeding $300 Bn through 2030. Of this investment, $80 Bn can currently be considered mature, which indicates that these projects are either in their planning stage, have passed a final investment decision (FID), or under construction, already commissioned, or operational.

Some of the energy giants are diversifying in the clean energy sector. Utilities NextEra, Iberdrola, and Uniper have recently forayed into green hydrogen, challenging a sector otherwise dominated by oil companies (Shell, BP, Equinor, and ACWA Power). The top emerging opportunities for hydrogen fuel include the electric vehicle (EV) boom which is set to boost the popularity of hydrogen power as it is exceptionally energy-efficient, and eliminate the need for prolonger charging. Toyota Mirai is an early example of hydrogen fuel cell technology in EVs.

Hydrogen Generation Market at a Snail’s Pace; Hydrogen Has a Long Way to Go before it Mainstreams

Fuel cells are not completely energy-efficient. However, the use of hydrogen is recently gaining prominence across the various industry segments such as oil refining, ammonia production, methanol production, and steel production. Virtually, all of this hydrogen is supplied using fossil fuels, thus there is a significant potential to achieving emission reduction from clean hydrogen. On the other side, although hydrogen generation has been spreading its roots to enable hydrogen as a fuel to put significant contribution to clean energy transitions, the pace is remarkably low at this point in time. Adoption needs to be adopted in those sectors where it is almost completely absent such as transport, building and construction, and power generation.

Recent Industry Developments in Hydrogen Generation Market

Siemens, and Air Liquide have plans to work together to develop electrolysis, and hydrogen technologies. Siemens, GE, and Mitsubishi Power also have programmes underway to make their combustion turbines 100% hydrogen-capable. The world´s largest-class hydrogen production - Fukushima Hydrogen Energy Research Field (FH2R) – was inaugurated in March 2020. Toshiba also installed a 3.5-kW H2Rex pure hydrogen fuel cell system that produces power, and heat at the facility, using hydrogen supplied by FH2R.

HYFLEXPOWER pilot – the consortium of European companies, research institutes, and universities has launched the world’s first demonstration of a fully integrated power-to-hydrogen-to-power project. Siemens Gas and Power is the project coordinator. Moreover, a Green Hydrogen Catapult initiative is a global coalition that will accelerate the scale, and production of green hydrogen by 50-fold in the next six years. The seven founding partners in this initiative are ACWA Power, CWP Renewables, Envision, Iberdrola, Ørsted A/S, Snam, and Yara.

Major Hydrogen Producers in Global Hydrogen Generation Market

AFC Energy, Air Liquide, Air Products, Ballard Power Systems, Inc., Bloom Energy Corp., C3 BioEnergy, Ceres Power, CTP Hydrogen, Chevron Hydrogen Company LLC, Clean Hydrogen Producers Ltd, Doosan Fuel Cell, Enegix Energy, FuelCell Energy, Inc., Gaskatel, GmbH, Hydrogenics, HyperSolar, Inc, ITM Power, Linde Plc, nacero, NIKOLA, Plug Power, Inc., Proton Power Systems, and Rouge H2 Engineering GmbH constitute some of the key hydrogen producers in the global market.

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