Abstract for: Dynamics of the transition to renewable hydrogen

Hydrogen gained a lot of attention as an energy carrier to achieving the goal of net-zero emissions targeted by many governments and businesses around the world. Yet, the high production cost of zero-emission ‘renewable’ hydrogen, produced from electrolysis powered by renewable electricity, is hindering its adoption. In this paper, we examine the dynamics of the transition to renewable hydrogen and the role of uncertainties in projections of techno-economic factors on the transition. We propose an integrated framework, linking techno-economic and Monte-Carlo-based uncertainty analysis with quantitative hydrogen supply-demand modelling, to examine hydrogen production by different technologies, and the GHG emissions from feedstock supply and the production process. We find that without taking into account the cost of carbon emissions, hydrogen production will likely be dominated by fossil fuels for the next few decades, while implementing a price on carbon emissions can significantly expedite the transition to renewable hydrogen and cut the cumulative emissions significantly.