Hydrogen Near Tipping Point to Accelerate Decarbonization, New Research Shows

Hydrogen is poised to accelerate the global energy transition as the industry exhibits steep learning curves and finds ways to produce the gas more efficiently and at lower cost, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Mannheim and Harvard Business School.

Green hydrogen has considerable potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in industries that are difficult to decarbonize, including heavy-duty transportation, energy-intensive manufacturing, and long-term energy storage. “Widespread adoption of hydrogen, however, is widely considered to depend on substantial cost declines of power-to-gas technologies,” explains Professor Gunther Glenk, Assistant Professor at the University of Mannheim and Climate Fellow at Harvard Business School.

The new study, which Glenk co-authored with Philip Holler and Professor Stefan Reichelstein (both University of Mannheim), estimates how quickly gains are made for different hydrogen technologies. Based on global observations of installed power-to-gas systems, the authors project that the life-cycle cost of clean hydrogen production will likely fall in the range of 1.6–1.9 US dollars/kg by 2030, a decline from about 3–5 US dollars/kg today.

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