“The most important thing is adoption of customers. For electrolyser manufacturers of course the key thing is demand for electrolysis equipment and that in turn means demand for green hydrogen. That includes the users of grey industrial hydrogen, the users of fossil fuel molecules, need rapid adoption to green hydrogen.”
The message conveyed by Cooley in the opening keynote sets the tone for the summit; that hydrogen is a key clean energy carrier that is crucial to attaining global climate goals however more must be done to support its adoption.
Cooley told the summit, “The key thing for customers is the revenue model. Actually, having a business model that works for them. So, energy security and decarbonisation is one thing but the business models need to work. So that policy needs to be a policy which is stable but long enough for industrial customers and industrial companies have.”
The financial incentives and stable policies aiming to support the growth of hydrogen is crucial to its development. This is why Cooley had referenced the bold plans by Europe increase its hydrogen production targets in 2030.
Creating a stable region to invest in hydrogen is crucial to scaling its production and supporting the integration of hydrogen to also decentralise the energy vector. And further spotlight on the climate crisis is required to rapidly scale the hydrogen economy.
In light of the Russian-Ukraine conflict, it has brought hydrogen to the spotlight with many identifying the clean energy carrier as a primary method to transition away from Russian fossil fuel and gas dependency.
“It a genuine tragedy that we had to have an energy war to shine a light on what many of us in the industry have already known, which is that not only does green hydrogen give you a route to decarbonisation and energy storage, but also energy security,” Cooley said.
“It is tragic that a war has had to shine a light on that.”
With further popularity in hydrogen technologies expected to accelerate in light of recent geopolitical factors and an increase in production targets, technologies that can greatly improve the quantity of hydrogen produced will be crucial to achieving these outlined targets.
ITM Power are supporting the growing need to scale hydrogen production by developing gigafactories for electrolyser manufacturing.
“We moved in at the beginning of last year to the world’s largest electrolyser factory with a capacity of 1GW per annum and we raised the £250m on the London stock market with a plan to take us to 5GW per annum with manufacturing capacity by the end of 2024. And in fact, we are now looking at designing and building our second gigafactory, which will take us by the end of next year to 2.5GW per annum,” Cooley said.
In producing these gigfafactories, more electrolysers can enter the market and integrate hydrogen into the heart of the European energy sector. And of course, the cost-parity of green hydrogen is a key aspect in supporting it adoption. This however could not be an issue moving forward with green hydrogen now cost-competitive with blue and grey hydrogen.
Cooley told the Summit, “There are many places in Europe now where, without even including the carbon price, which adds about half a dollar or half a euro per kilogram, green hydrogen is cost competitive with blue and green and industrial grade hydrogen a very important point to get to.
“Because, of course, the market for grey hydrogen across the world is 70 million tonnes per year, and 70 million tonnes is equivalent to 600GW of electrolysis equipment. So the important entry market now for green hydrogen is replacing industrial grey hydrogen made by natural gas.
“The imperatives that we’re seeing, of course, is not only energy storage, not only decarbonisation, but it’s now also energy security.”
But what about the future for hydrogen? Cooley believes this looks very bright with the correct frameworks and support currently being shown.
“I think the outlook is incredibly strong for the green hydrogen industry and for the electrolyser industry,” Cooley explained.
“Electrolysis, of course, gives you a long duration energy storage for renewable power. We now have cost parity with industrial hydrogen, which is a market of 70 million tonnes per year.
“We have very strong policy drivers about energy security and also decarbonisation, so I think the outlook for green hydrogen in the coming few years is incredibly strong.”
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