How will we transport it Internationally and who will the new players be?
In 2050, about a quarter of all the hydrogen produced could be traded internationally, says the report, World Energy Transitions Outlook 2022 by the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), amounting to more than 100 million tonnes of green hydrogen, and more than 50 million tonnes of blue.
About half of these volumes would be traded via pipeline, with the other half transported by ammonia ships.
Pure hydrogen is expected to be transported mainly using existing natural gas networks repurposed to carry hydrogen. They represent the cheapest option for transporting pure hydrogen
The costs of transporting hydrogen through new pipelines would be twice as high but that’s still lower than shipping options for distances of 3,000-5,000km
For longer distances or places without existing natural gas infrastructure, ammonia ships become the most attractive option
Liquid hydrogen will only have a niche role in global trade. The high equipment cost limit its application
Clean hydrogen production will need to grow from negligible levels today to 614 million tonnes per year by 2050 to keep global heating to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels,
Two thirds of that hydrogen (409.3 million tonnes) would be produced from renewable energy, with the remaining third being blue — derived from natural gas with carbon capture and storage. Today, about 70-75 million tonnes of mainly grey hydrogen (derived from methane or coal) is produced globally each year
The report adds that 80% of the ammonia shipped globally would be used as ammonia — for fertiliser, chemical feedstock or as a marine fuel — rather than converted back to hydrogen. The most cost- and energy-intensive step is the reconversion back to hydrogen, which can be avoided by using the ammonia directly rather than as a hydrogen carrier
Who will be involved in this International trade?
Chile, North Africa and Spain could represent almost 75% of the global pipeline hydrogen trade
North Africa and Spain take advantage of their high-quality solar resources and proximity to northwest Europe, which has high hydrogen demand poor renewable resources and an existing natural gas network
Morocco, Australia and the US would together account for three quarters of the global ammonia trade market. UK, Russia, China, India, Latin America, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and South Africa would also export ammonia
Only China would export hydrogen in its liquid form to South Korea and Japan
Japan, South Korea and non-EU European countries are expected to import almost all of their hydrogen and ammonia demand
So who will be the companies to take this new business forward?
Who has the knowledge and expertise?
Who has the financial strength?
Who has control of the natural raw materials and assets?