clean hydrogen market
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Green hydrogen faces barriers that are inhibiting its uptake and require an integrated policy approach to grow market penetration, IRENA indicates.

Green hydrogen is attracting increasing interest globally and in developed and developing economies alike as a solution alongside the growing penetration of renewable energies to advance the energy transition towards net zero emissions.

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A key driver is the falling costs of renewable energies – ‘green’ hydrogen is hydrogen produced from renewable sources as distinct from ‘grey’ or ‘blue’ hydrogen from other sources. Other drivers include the availability of technologies to scale along with growing use of hydrogen.

However, production costs are high, a dedicated infrastructure is lacking and there are significant losses in the value chain among other barriers.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in a new report reviews the drivers and barriers for the uptake of green hydrogen and recommends policies to support its growth.

The hydrogen sector has received some attention from policy makers with dedicated policies but more dedicated policy support is needed at each stage of technology readiness, market penetration and market growth, says IRENA.

The organisation recommends green hydrogen policy should cover four key areas.

Each country should define its level of ambition for hydrogen, outline the amount of support required, and provide a reference on hydrogen development for private investment and finance.

Key factors for each segment of the hydrogen value chain should be assessed and applications with the highest value should be identified and these then focussed on.

A certification system is needed that allows end users and governments to know the origin and quality of the hydrogen. Origin schemes need to include clear labels for hydrogen and hydrogen products to increase consumer awareness and facilitate claims of incentives.

As green hydrogen becomes mainstream, policies should cover its integration into the broader energy system. Civil society and industry must be involved to maximise the benefits.

Further policy support should be given to technology such as electrolysis and to applications in sectors including industry, aviation and shipping.

Hydrogen actors should be allowed to provide value to the entire energy system and to broader economic and social systems, says IRENA.