Businesses pledge to expand green hydrogen supply and demand at COP26
A group of 28 global companies spanning the mining, manufacturing and financial sectors has pledged to grow both the demand and supply of green hydrogen, in a move that could help nations meet net-zero commitments.
The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) have today (9 November) confirmed that 28 organisations have pledged to grow the hydrogen market.
Announced at COP26, the pledge will help demand, supply and financial or technical support grow in the sector, in a bid to accelerate the deployment and use of green hydrogen. Currently, fossil-based hydrogen represents more than 95% of global annual production.
Pledges from businesses will create a demand of 1.6 million tons per annum (mtpa) of “lower-carbon intensity” hydrogen. This includes replacing grey hydrogen used in refining, chemical and fertilizer sectors, or diesel fuel used in heavy industries such as mining. This, the WBCSD states, would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 14 million tons a year.
On the supply side, the pledges add up to more than 18 mtpa of lower-carbon hydrogen. This would avoid about 190 million tons a year of CO2 emissions, provided it replaces grey hydrogen, but also natural gas for heat and transport.
“Our hope is that these combined pledges spark investments in supply and inspire other users to transition to hydrogen,” The WBCSD’s senior advisor Claire O’Neill stated.
“To further accelerate the development of the hydrogen market, we are encouraging more companies to join this effort and make pledges. We stand ready to work with any company from any sector who is interested in driving progress towards a net-zero, nature positive and equitable future for 9+ billion people to live, within planetary boundaries, by 2050.”
The companies making the pledge are Acciona, Anglo American, Bank of America, bp, CLP, Cummins, EDF, EDP, 8 Rivers, Enel, Engie, Equinor, ERM, Fortescue, GenComm, Hinicio, Johnson Matthey, Linde, Iberdrola, ITM Power, River Simple, Shell, Siemens Energy, Snam, TotalEnergies, Yara, Yokogawa, and Yosemite Clean Energy.
The Hydrogen Council estimates that in 2030, the acceleration of green hydrogen could reduce emissions by 800 mtpa. The WBCSD claims that the pledges announced today equate to nearly a quarter of this total.
The UK’s Hydrogen Strategy, released this August, confirms that the nation is striving to host at least 5GW of “low-carbon” hydrogen production by 2030 and to attract £4bn of private investment in the sector in this timeframe. It covers both blue (natural-gas-based) and green hydrogen and the Government has promised a “twin-track” approach, despite reports that blue hydrogen is taking a larger share of the funding than green. There have been some calls to reverse this trend, as natural gas extraction releases methane and as carbon capture technologies are still emerging.
As Science and Innovation Day begins at COP26, a string of new collaborations has been launched by nations, in a bid to make low-carbon materials and industrial technologies affordable, and to improve climate resilience in developing nations.