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Renewable hydrogen ‘at least cost’ possible within a decade – IRENA

'Green' hydrogen produced using renewable electricity could be cost-competitive with fossil fuels by 2030, according to a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Today, green hydrogen is two to three times more expensive than ’blue’ hydrogen, which is produced from fossil fuels combined with carbon capture and storage technology. 

However, the IRENA report – Green Hydrogen Cost Reduction: scaling up electrolysers to meet the 1.5°C climate goal – says falling costs for solar and wind power will change the picture. Improved performance and economies of scale for electrolysers could also play a role in helping green hydrogen reach cost parity with fossil fuels. 

The production cost for green hydrogen is determined by the renewable electricity price, the investment cost of the electrolyser and its operating hours. IRENA notes that renewables are already the cheapest sources of power in many parts of the world. But investment costs for electrolysis facilities must fall, as well.

According to the report, three factors could drive costs down – standardisation and mass-manufacturing of electrolyser stacks, optimisation of supply chains and enhanced efficiency in operation. IRENA analysis found that today’s green hydrogen manufacturing capacity of less than 1 GW must grow to beyond 100 GW in the next 10 to 15 years to ensure output is cost-competitive. 

In the best-case scenario, using low-cost renewable electricity at $20 per MWh in large, cost-competitive electrolyser facilities could produce green hydrogen at a competitive cost with blue hydrogen already. If rapid scale-up and aggressive electrolysers deployment take place in the next decade, the report says green hydrogen could start competing on costs with blue hydrogen by 2030 in many countries.

News Item details

Journal title: Energy World

Organisation: International Renewable Energy Agency

Subjects: Hydrogen -

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