The Hydrogen Council report ‘Scaling Up Hydrogen’ sets out hydrogen’s contribution as a key pillar of the energy transition. This report by McKinsey Associates is a comprehensive and quantified roadmap to scale deployment. It shows that hydrogen has the potential to develop US $2.5tn of global business, creating more than 30 million jobs by 2050.
Deployed at scale, hydrogen could account for almost one-fifth of total final energy consumed by 2050. This would reduce annual CO2 emissions by roughly 6 gigatons compared to today’s levels, and contribute roughly 20% of the abatement required to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius.
On the demand side, the Hydrogen Council sees the potential for hydrogen to power about 10 to 15 million cars and 500,000 trucks by 2030, with many uses in other sectors as well, such as industry processes and feedstocks, building heating and power, power generation and storage. Overall, the study predicts that the annual demand for hydrogen could increase tenfold by 2050 to almost 80 EJ in 2050 meeting 18% of total final energy demand in the 2050 two-degree scenario. At a time when global populations are expected to grow by two billion people by 2050, hydrogen technologies have the potential to create opportunities for sustainable economic growth.
“The world in the 21st century must transition to widespread low carbon energy use,” said Takeshi Uchiyamada, Chairman of Toyota Motor Corporation and co-chair of the Hydrogen Council. “Hydrogen is an indispensable resource to achieve this transition because it can be used to store and transport wind, solar and other renewable electricity to power transportation and many other things. The Hydrogen Council has identified seven roles for hydrogen, which is why we are encouraging governments and investors to give it a prominent role in their energy plans. The sooner we get the hydrogen economy going, the better, and we are all committed to making this a reality.”
Achieving such scale would require substantial investments; approximately US$20 to 25 billion annually for a total of about US$280 billion until 2030. Within the right regulatory framework – including long-term, stable coordination and incentive policies – the report considers that attracting these investments to scale the technology is feasible. The world already invests more than US$1.7 trillion in energy each year, including US$650 billion in oil and gas, US$300 billion in renewable electricity, and more than US$300 billion in the automotive industry.
“This study confirms the place of hydrogen as a central pillar in the energy transition, and encourages us in our support of its large-scale deployment. Hydrogen will be an unavoidable enabler for the energy transition in certain sectors and geographies. The sooner we make this happen the sooner we will be able to enjoy the needed benefits of Hydrogen at the service of our economies and our societies,” said Benoît Potier, Chairman and CEO, Air Liquide.