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Hydrogen Council study: hydrogen could contribute to 20% of CO2 emissions reduction targets by 2050

In Bonn, as global leaders gathered at COP 23, the Hydrogen Council coalition (earlier post) released a report developed with support from McKinsey quantifying the potential for hydrogen in the energy transition.

According to the study, if 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. In addition to being a key pillar in of the energy transition, the study shows that hydrogen has the potential to develop US$2.5 trillion of business, creating more than 30 million jobs by 2050.

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. 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.

—Takeshi Uchiyamada, Chairman of Toyota Motor Corporation and co-chair of the Hydrogen Council

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. Solutions are technologically mature and industry players are committed. We need concerted stakeholder efforts to make this happen; leading this effort is the role of the Hydrogen Council.

—Benoît Potier, Chairman and CEO, Air Liquide

The launch of the new roadmap came during the Sustainability Innovation Forum in the presence of 18 senior members of the Hydrogen Council led by co-chairs Takeshi Uchiyamada, Chairman of Toyota and Benoît Potier, Chairman and CEO, Air Liquide and accompanied by Prof. Aldo Belloni, CEO of The Linde Group, Woong-chul Yang, Vice Chairman of Hyundai Motor Company and Anne Stevens, Board Member of Anglo American.

During the launch, the Hydrogen Council called upon investors, policymakers, and businesses to join them in accelerating deployment of hydrogen solutions for the energy transition. It was also announced that Woong-chul Yang of Hyundai Motor Company will succeed Takeshi Uchiyamada of Toyota in the rotating role of the Council’s co-chair and preside the group together with Benoit Potier, CEO Air Liquide, in 2018. Mr. Uchiyamada is planning to return as Co-chairman in 2020, coinciding with the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, an important milestone for showcasing hydrogen society and mobility.

Launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos in early 2017, the Hydrogen Council is a first-of-its-kind global CEO initiative to foster the role of hydrogen technologies in the global energy transition. Current members include 18 leading multinationals: Air Liquide, Alstom, Anglo American, Audi, BMW GROUP, Daimler, ENGIE, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai Motor, Iwatani, Kawasaki, Plastic Omnium, Royal Dutch Shell, Statoil, The Linde Group, Total, and Toyota, as well as 10 players from across the value chain: Ballard, Faber Industries, Faurecia, First Element Fuel (True Zero), Gore, Hydrogenics, Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsui & Co, Plug Power, and Toyota Tsusho.

The coalition collectively represents total revenues of over € 1.5 trillion and more than 2 million jobs around the world.



' Our vision sees hydrogen powering more than
400 million cars, 15 to 20 million trucks, and around 5 million buses in 2050, which constitute
on average 20 to 25% of their respective transportation segments. Since hydrogen plays a
stronger role in heavier and long-range segments,
these 20% of the total fleet could contribute more than
one-third of the total CO2
abatement required for the
road transportation sector in the two-degree scenario.
In our vision, hydrogen also powers a quarter of
passenger ships and a fifth of locomotives on nonelectrified
tracks, and hydrogen-based synthetic
fuel powers a share of airplanes and freight ships.
For buildings, hydrogen builds on the existing gas infrastructure and meets roughly 10% of
global demand for heat. In industry, hydrogen is used for medium- and high-heat processes,
for which electrification is not an efficient option. Current uses of hydrogen as a feedstock are
decarbonized through clean or green production pathways. In addition, hydrogen is used as
renewable feedstock in 30% of methanol and about 10% of steel production.'

(linked study)


Even handed commentary on BEVS, their strengths and weaknesses:

'BEVs have the highest well-to-wheel energy efficiency (60% when powered by electricity
from renewables, 30 to 35% when powered by gas- or coal-based electricity; compared
to roughly 25 to 30% for ICEs11), while batteries have the lowest energy density per weight
(0.6 MJ per kg), making them well suited for lighter vehicles and shorter ranges.
ƒ Hydrogen, when stored aboard a vehicle, has a much higher energy density per weight than
batteries (currently around 2.3 MJ per kg12), allowing FCEVs to travel longer distances and
perform better for heavier vehicles for which batteries become impractical and inefficient.
The energy efficiency of FCEVs is lower than that of BEVs, however (roughly 30% from
well to wheel if produced through electricity).
ƒ Synthetic fuels have the highest specific energy, which allows them to be used in aviation
and shipping, but they suffer from low overall energy efficiency of about 10%.'


Cost projections:

'Hydrogen is advantageous for vehicles with long range, mileage, and heavy payloads (Exhibit
9). Using 2030 cost estimates, for example, a BEV powertrain with a 30-kWh battery (the size
of the battery in a 2016 Nissan Leaf) would be about 35% less expensive than an FCEV with
similar storage capacity. As capacity increases, however, the FCEV becomes cheaper, since
adding hydrogen storage costs less than adding batteries. At about 55 kWh, both powertrains
cost the same, which translates into a range of about 300 km. Beyond that, FCEVs are likely
to be less expensive than BEVs. At a range of around 1,000 km, which is the range offered by
conventional thermal engines for passenger cars, the FCEV has a cost advantage of about
55%. For trucking, even larger capacities are required to move heavy payloads across long
distances, for which hydrogen is well suited.'


Have you taken note of this yet?



I am not sure why you consider that relevant on this thread.

I and everyone else will of course welcome better batteries when and if they happen, but getting your hopes too high on the basis of a couple of patent applications from a company which has not had notable success to date is premature to say the least.


FCs are moving in for new passenger trains. Siemens et al will soon offer FC/e-trains with 1000 Km range without overhead cables. Chinese, French, So-Korean and Japanese rails will not be far behind.

Long range Class 8 FC/e-trucks and buses will also hit the market place in the early 2020s.

More will have to be done to distribute clean H2 generated with surplus/excess REs. Germany, Japan and California are leading but others will have to board the train.


I just wanted to reiterate my view briefly on things, I believe hydrogen works best in bigger vehicle down to smaller, I believe Battery only vehicles to have the opposite trend of smaller classes to bigger, with some overlap in both but will each have its strengths towards their respective ends of the spectrum.

The reason I believe this, is the cost and weight of batteries are nowhere near effective for replacing heavier duty vehicles.

Having said that, I don't see the point in so many hydrogen small cars, 10-15million small cars seems way to high for me. Trucks/suvs both light duty and bigger will likely have hydrogen alternatives to diesel. I believe the number provided is rather small... fleets will jump on any technology to save them time, and money. In 2050, there will be wide spread autonomous trucking.

Big fleets will have autonomous trucks by 2050, it makes monetary sense, why pay 1 driver to drive one truck, when you can have a computer drive one truck as much as 3 drivers with 3 trucks, constantly, non stop, even 30-50 hours coast to cost if needed.

I'd wager 10 million Trucks/SUVs up from the 500,000, and maybe 5-6mil in car sales, there is no point to having a $35k-40k H2 car, when we might actually have 500 mile range $30K BEVs. The inverse is true for the larger vehicles, as hydrogen generation is more or less modular with application size, the storage tanks don't scale up in cost as the necessary batteries alone would. 1MWh of batteries is handedly out down by a large H2 tank as far as storage goes for the likes of a semi.

Uptime is amazing on H2, and BEVs as well, so these should take off.


CheeseEater said:

'Having said that, I don't see the point in so many hydrogen small cars, 10-15million small cars seems way to high for me'

With due respect, have you read the study?

They are not talking about small cars, but larger ones. with cars the size of the Model S and X with big batteries of 100kWh showing clear advantages in running on hydrogen, and the tipping point being at about 55kWh.


If you have a fast-charging battery and can get power from the road at regular intervals, the practical BEV can have a very small (100 mile or less) battery and not have to stop to recharge EVER.

This is the final nail in the coffin of hype-drogen.


Since compact, affordable, longer lasting (20,000+ hrs) FCs and on board low cost H2 tanks are a reality the only thing holding massive production and sales of FCEVs (all sizes) are clean H2 station networks.

More research and funds are required to integrate Hydro/Solar/Wind clean energy generation together with H2 generation/storage and distribution.

Germany and California are showing the way but a few hundred more States, Cities and Countries should soon board the train?
Progressive vehicle manufacturers are contributing but it is not fast enough. Power (e-energy) producers should get involved in all 50 States and many other countries.


55 kWh is about a 200-mile battery.  If you can manage with a 100-mile battery, the FC will always cost more than the BEV.  Hydrogen from anything other than NG or coal will always cost more than electricity.

It's over.  The battery car won, on EVERY count.


Still wonder what will eventually cost less for all weather extended range (500 miles) electrified vehicles:

1) 165+ kWh ultra quick charge, mass produced battery pack or
2) 100+ kWh ultra quick refill, mass produced FC with H2 tank.

The large battery pack would probably weight a lot more and take much longer to refill.

The battery pack would probably fit better under the floor.

When and if H2 will be extracted from water, with ceramic membranes, with very little or no lost and without CO2, H2 cost could approach REs.


Harvey, don't you get it?  With the ultra-quick charge and conductive charging in motion on the road, the EV becomes practical even for long-distance travel with a 30 kWh battery or even smaller.  The crossover for the H2 drivetrain to be competitive is ~55 kWh.

When and if H2 will be extracted from water, with ceramic membranes, with very little or no lost and without CO2, H2 cost could approach REs.

Except for the 60-70% losses in the double conversion.  Except for the cost of O&M on the systems.  Except for the interest on the money required to buy all that hydrogen production gear.

H2 is ALWAYS going to be more expensive than "renewable" electricity from which it's made.  Multiples more expensive.

While tiny networks with a few or even one H2 station per city get built, electricity is already everywhere.  Hypedrogen is DEAD.  When the subsidy money is pulled, into the grave it will go.

And Bri

priduce excess hydro gen and start selling bi-fuel gasoline hydrogen ice little cars where it cost less to fuel and pollute less. These lab employees are just interrested to collect fat grants and do not have a single idea how to put their wet dream in actual commercialisation. Is it clear now. A bifuel ice car only cost approx 2500$ more. Stop head fU&?$#K


Energy (all types) cost/price is and has not been stable.
Variations are widespread and huge changes have occurred.

1) REs went for $0.30+/kWh to under $0.05/kWh.
2) Nuclear went from under $0.02/kWh to over $0.24/kWh.
3) Hydro went from $0.01/kWh to over $0.08/kWh.
4) Coal/NG went from $0.015/kWh to over $0.06/kWh.
5) Energy from FCs (fixed and/or mobile) may/will drop ten folds in the next 20 years or so.

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