31 March 2020 | Articles
Hydrogen is an energy carrier and can be produced from a wide variety of energy sources. Its market is well established with a global demand currently standing around 8-10 EJ, most of it consumed in the chemical sector. At present, roughly 95% of worldwide hydrogen production comes from fossil fuels.
Hydrogen from renewables can be produced through different pathways, with the most established being the use of renewable electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen in an electrolyser. IRENA's report “Hydrogen from renewable power: Technology outlook for the energy transition” gives an overview on electrolyser technologies and highlights the technical potential to channel large amounts of renewable electricity to sectors for which decarbonisation is otherwise difficult, such as industry, buildings and transport as well as in niche applications, such as remote locations. By doing so, hydrogen from renewable power can directly displace hydrogen produced from fossil fuels as well as replace fossil fuels and feedstocks in several processes. In addition, the IRENA report “Hydrogen: A renewable energy perspective”, released in 2019 at the second hydrogen ministerial in Japan, expands on the previous report bringing insights about next steps to develop hydrogen from renewables and forecasts costs of its production.
IRENA’s work on hydrogen from renewable power focuses on assessing its role in the energy transition as an enabler to integrate higher shares of renewable energy in the power sector and in end-uses such as transportation and manufacturing. The Power Sector Transformation team uses the IRENA FlexTool to assess the impact of hydrogen production on power systems as well as its potential to improve flexible capabilities in power systems.