In February 2022, GTI Energy, S&P Global Commodity Insights and the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) launched the Open Hydrogen Initiative (OHI), a collaboration to further transparency into the environmental impact of hydrogen production and help unlock its full potential as an important driver of energy transitions.
According to S&P Global Commodity Insights’ hydrogen outlook, global hydrogen demand grows from 70.4 million tons in 2020 to 97 million tons in 2030 and 249 million tons in 2050. Hydrogen demand is currently concentrated in oil refining and ammonia production, but nearly 90% of projected demand growth through 2050 comes from new sectors like heavy-duty transportation, steel production, and long-term energy storage. Decarbonizing hydrogen supply is critical to initiate uptake in these new sectors, and an industry-standard emissions measurement and verification process is key to providing the market transparency that facilitates new supply agreements.
There is a high degree of variability in the carbon intensity of hydrogen production, even using the same technologies or pathways. Precise measurements of hydrogen’s carbon intensity at the production facility (also known as the asset level) are needed to reflect more accurately the environmental bona fides of a given kilogram of hydrogen produced and overcome the limitations of the “color-wheel” labeling model.
An apples-to-apples comparison of hydrogen production carbon intensity would hold benefits for stakeholders throughout the value chain—producers, users, engineers, academia, market participants, investors and policymakers.
Now, GTI Energy and S&P Global Commodity Insights have announced a cohort of new stakeholders to their Open Hydrogen Initiative (OHI).
Each founder and stakeholder brings various levels of technical support, R&D perspective, and real-world marketplace insights to close the methodology gap that undermines the commoditization of hydrogen.—Paula Gant, Ph.D., President and CEO of GTI Energy
Initial OHI industry stakeholders now include EQT, National Grid, Shell, ExxonMobil, Dominion Energy, LanzaTech, Equinor, BlackHills Corporation, Nicor Gas, NYSEG, Oklahoma Natural Gas, Duke Energy, DTE, and Southwest Gas Corporation. Nonprofit, academic, and observer partners include Clean Air Task Force, The University of Newcastle Australia, Queen Mary University of London, Columbia University, Stanford University’s Hydrogen Initiative, Breakthrough Energy, Bipartisan Policy Center, Center for Houston’s Future, Government of Alberta, Clean Hydrogen Future Coalition, Renewable Hydrogen Alliance, Operations Technology Development (OTD), Evergreen Climate Innovations, and Hydrogen Forward.
Development of the OHI measurement toolkit is already underway and ongoing, with a launch of demonstration projects targeted within the next 16 months. Initial stakeholder work is centered on the characterization of hydrogen production processes to understand energy and material flows and major emissions hotspots.
The mission of OHI is to create objective, credible, peer-reviewed, transparent and open-sourced tools that allow participants from across the hydrogen value chain to assess the carbon intensity of hydrogen at the asset level. The creation and adoption of these technical protocols will help build and harmonize the hydrogen market, contextualize climate solutions, advance transparency and support global trade in low-carbon hydrogen.