'Clean' H2 supply to skyrocket 30-fold by 2030

That’s according to BNEF:

  • From 0.5 million metric tons (Mt) of capacity online today, annual low-carbon hydrogen supply could grow 30x by 2030.

  • Over half of supply in 2030 comes from electrolysis, but blue H2 plays a significant role.

  • The US is expected to become the single largest producer of clean H2 by 2030, accounting for almost 37% of global supply.

  • China, Europe and the US could account for over 80% of clean H2 supply by the end of the decade, driven by supportive policies and a pipeline of advanced projects

  • Governments are likely to miss their aggregate H2 demand goals for 2030 by almost two-thirds due to longer project completion timelines and insufficient policy support.

Most believe that weight makes battery electrics unsuited to heavy trucks, locomotives, airplanes, etc. Hydrogen is the most promising alternative–usually with fuel cells converting it to electricity.

For now Air Products is the leading supplier. But other compressed gas companies like Linde are players. They will build hydrogen plants under long term supply contracts for any major customer. Usualky from natural gas–now often with carbon capture for blue hydrogen. Electrolysis hydrogen is building slowly.

Long term i think major energy companies are likely to buy in when they see good numbers. For now compressed gas companies own the market.

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Natural gas is usually priced in dollars per million British thermal units ($/MMBTU). For example, the front month Henry Hub futures price for natural gas is currently around $2.50/MMBTU.

From BloombergNEF, the average cost of producing green hydrogen in 2023 was $6.40/kg. The gross heating value of hydrogen is 61,084 BTU per lb, and there are 2.2 lbs per kg. Therefore, $6.40/kg converts to $47.62/MMBTU.

From the chart in the BloombergNEF article, and performing the above conversion, the cost of producing hydrogen on a MMBTU basis is:

Gray hydrogen:  $15.85
Blue hydrogen:  $23.07
Green hydrogen: $47.62
Natural Gas:     $2.50

Note: Gray hydrogen is the most common form of production, coming from the steam reforming of natural gas. Blue hydrogen is the same as gray, except the CO2 emissions are captured and sequestered someplace.

There are some city buses and other large vehicles that currently run on natural gas, but that share of vehicles on the road is still small. It is difficult to see how those few applications will convert over to hydrogen, no matter what the color.

  • Pete

In addition to hydrogen being more than an order of magnitude more expensive than nat gas, it also takes a lot more energy to make it than the hydrogen produces.

“BloombergNEF estimates that to generate enough green hydrogen to meet a quarter of the world’s energy needs would take more electricity than the world generates now from all sources and an investment of $11 trillion in production and storage.”



This is a dumb premise. Why would you use green hydrogen to meet a quarter of the world’s energy needs? Why not use it only where it has real benefits? Say aviation where you have a payload problem. Sandy Munro suggested it would make sense on trucks.

The Captain


You wouldn’t. You’re missing the point – which is that it takes more than four times as much energy to produce hydrogen than you get out of.

In comparison, globally the EROI (energy return on investment) for oil and gas is about 20, far above unity.

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Am I? Maybe in aviation it makes sense despite the four fold energy decrease during production.

The Captain


Maybe, but that is a policy/political question. To make those planning decisions well, it is necessary to know the economic numbers. They don’t look good for hydrogen. Another technology might work better. Perhaps staying with jet fuel and capturing an equivalent amount of carbon dioxide elsewhere may work out to be a better approach.


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The main advantage of hydrogen is portability. Energy density per wt and maybe per volume better than batteries. Especially if you consider hydrogen equivalents like ammonia or maybe methanol.

Long distance electric trucks are likely problematic. I can imagine a pony express system where driver pulls over for a newly charged truck cab every hundred miles.

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I’m afraid my first reply was not appropriate. Yes, it is necessary to know the economic numbers. That was not my issue. My issue was about style. Let me try again, changing the emphasis.

Where did the author get the number a quarter of the world’s energy needs? It is a number that justifies saying would take more electricity than the world generates now from all sources. The one quarter number is a straw man argument! Why would the world not use the appropriate source of energy in every application?

Enough of that! :grin:

The Captain


Actually its portability is quite a challenge as it requires all kinds of special infrastructure and processing making it both a technical and financial headache

'Pouring petrol into a tank is quick and easy, just as it is hooking up the cable to recharge the battery of an electric car. Hydrogen, on the other hand, is a difficult gas to handle because, having a low volumetric energy density, it has to be highly compressed at high pressures (from 350 to 700 bar) to be packed into a tank in sufficient quantities to power a car. 5/6 kg of hydrogen are required to cover about 600 km. In a car’s tank, if it were not compressed, there would be enough hydrogen to cover just 5 km.

Another difficulty lies in transport, in other words, how to carry hydrogen to the refuelling stations to supply travelling cars. Here, the first problem consists in the fact that in order to be distributed, special pipelines are necessary because those intended for methane and natural gas are not fully compatible, unless natural gas-hydrogen mixtures with a low hydrogen content are used. The alternative would be to carry it in liquid state, like oil derivatives, but the liquid state of hydrogen is reached at a temperature of -253 degrees Centigrade, with heavy energy expenditure to transform it and then keep it in the liquid form.’

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The challenges (including costs) of using hydrogen as a transportation fuel are so great I don’t see it happening except for perhaps some select, niche, uses. Maybe long distance shipping. Ships can only refuel in port anyway, so that makes the infrastructure piece a lot simpler. Not simple, but simpler.

Hydrogen does have some promise as storage, however. Lots of renewable wind and solar is curtailed. In theory, could use that energy to manufacture hydrogen and then use the hydrogen later to make dispatchable electricity.

This is important because the more dispatchable green electricity you have, the less wind, solar, and batteries you need, so the whole system comes a lot cheaper.

And it’s not important. The writer was just trying to make an easier-to-grasp way of explaining that it takes a hell of a lot of energy to produce hydrogen.


It’s important to a writer.

The Captain

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That is exactly the reason people are looking into ammonia as a hydrogen source. Already has a distribution system in place for use as fertilizer and easily converted to hydrogen when needed.

Very much like propane in handling. Liquifies easily. Pressure required is low. But fumes can be toxic–but high odor means usually not a problem. Deaths usually happen when victim is trapped and cannot escape.

But adds processing and costs.

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