The global deployment of electrolysers at green hydrogen projects has finally passed the gigawatt mark, having risen 60% in the past year to 1.1GW, according to a new report from the Hydrogen Council.

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This amounts to roughly 150,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year, compared to an annual capacity of 710,000 tonnes of “low-carbon” hydrogen.

While the growth rate has doubled in the past two years, 260MW of the 400MW was for the Kuqa project in northwest China, which, as Hydrogen Insight reported earlier this week is operating at well below full capacity due to problems with its Chinese electrolysers.

China has installed 610MW of electrolysers — including the world’s second-largest green hydrogen facility, the Ningxia project in Inner Mongolia, which Hydrogen Insight understands is also not operating at full capacity.

In joint second place are Germany and the US, each with 60MW, followed by Spain, Taiwan, Sweden and Canada, each with “about 20MW”.

“However, deployment is not moving as fast as previously expected by developers,” explains the report, entitled Hydrogen Insights December 2023 Update. “Although announcements in 2021 indicated 6GW of the electrolysis would be operational by the end of 2022, operational deployment as of October 2023 stands at 1.1GW, or about 20% of that number.”

Nevertheless, a further 12GW of electrolysis projects have reached final investment decision (FID), representing 1.3 million tonnes of green hydrogen. Roughly 7GW of that capacity is in China, with 2GW in the Middle East and 2GW in the US and Europe.

This volume of electrolysers should not be difficult to produce, with annual electrolyser manufacturing capacity having risen from 9GW to 11GW this year, the Hydrogen Council points out.

About 305GW of electrolysis projects have been announced and are due to be completed by 2030, representing 32 million tonnes of green hydrogen.

Of the seven million tonnes of clean-H2 production capacity announced in the past nine months, “more than 90% is for renewable hydrogen driven by the high growth in announcements coming from renewables-rich regions in the global south”.

Only 7% of announced clean hydrogen projects (including blue hydrogen, infrastructure and end use) have reached FID, the report says, representing investments totalling $39bn.