Ramping up development of green hydrogen production for use in decarbonising heavy-emitting sectors such as steel and petrochemicals will need “rapid action” in streamlining government policy, if H2 production is to meet contribution targets aligned to the Paris Agreement, the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) has underlined, releasing a pair of new reports.

The agency spotlighted that hydrogen would see mushrooming demand globally as countries geared up to meet net zero targets, but that the current green H2 market was “at an infant stage” and “more needed to be done, especially from the policy makers’ side, to maximise green hydrogen’s impact in the decarbonising of the industrial sector and end-use sectors as a whole”.

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“These new reports are particularly opportune because green hydrogen needs rapid policy action to ensure and maximise its contribution to the energy transition,” said Rabia Ferroukhi, director of Irena’s knowledge, policy and finance centre, launching Green hydrogen for industry: A guide to policy making and Green Hydrogen Certification Brief.

“As we know, [our] World Energy Transitions Outlook’s 1.5°C Scenario projects that hydrogen will provide around 10% of the necessary greenhouse gases reduction by 2050.”

Irena hydrogen specialist Emanuele Bianco added: “The industrial sector is already a major consumer of hydrogen, but we need to shift from fossil fuels-based to renewables-based hydrogen. This calls for urgent industrial policy support, and high priority for green hydrogen policy should be placed on the industrial sector.”

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The European Commission is targeting 50% green hydrogen consumption in industry by 2030, “however, the use of green hydrogen in industry is still hampered by cost, technical barriers, lack of a market for green materials and products, lack of sufficient ambitious policies, and carbon leakage risks,” she said.

Irena concludes that green hydrogen industrial policies should start with the introduction of decarbonisation strategies and “tailored sub-sector planning”, while not losing sight of the fact that other energy transition issues, including carbon pricing, “are more urgent than measures to support green product market-creation”.