The sheer scale of the coming build-out of green hydrogen projects — as well as the current wait for subsidies that is holding up deployment — has been laid bare in new figures from Aurora Energy Research.
The UK-based analyst says that 1,125GW of hydrogen electrolyser projects are currently in development around the world (including all electrolysis developments, not just those using renewable energy), but adds that 1% of those are under construction, with only 450MW currently in operation.
“Installing 1TW [1,000GW] of electrolyser capacity remains a distant reality: 86% of the global pipeline is in the early planning stage of development, meaning projects lack key details such as specific locations, technology providers or target milestone timelines, and only 1% of the pipeline is in construction,” Aurora stated in a press release.
Aurora tells Hydrogen Insight that 14.9GW of electrolytic hydrogen projects are currently under construction, including 11.6GW from the Point Tupper project in Canada and Neom/Helios Green Fuels in Saudi Arabia, but while those are close to final investment decisions, construction has not yet begun, as far as Hydrogen Insight can ascertain, and the initial phases add up to around 4GW, rather than 11.6GW.
Only 269GW of the total is planned to be in operation by 2030, the analyst adds.
The good news is that despite earlier fears, enough electrolysers will be produced to meet demand from developers in the coming years, Aurora says, with annual manufacturing capacity on track to reach 48GW in 2025 — a 60% increase on announced planned capacity from just six months ago.
The bad news is that the hoped-for reductions in the cost of clean hydrogen — with, for instance, the US aiming to produce green H2 for $1/kg by 2031 — will not materialise.
“The average wholesale low-carbon hydrogen price will fall from €7 ($7.73) per kg in 2025 to €2.8/kg in 2050,” Aurora states.
While the figures include projects planning to use grid or nuclear electricity to produce hydrogen, the vast majority will undoubtedly be for green H2 projects requiring renewable energy.
According to the World Bank’s general rule of thumb, 1GW of electrolysers will require 2GW of renewable energy to produce green hydrogen.
So that means that around 538GW of new wind and solar power would be needed by 2030 to produce 269GW of renewable hydrogen — on top of the new green energy required to decarbonise the world’s power grids. This is entirely doable — just under 300GW of new renewables projects were installed worldwide in 2022.