The Green Hydrogen Economy-Current Situation & Analysing the Future Market.

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The current situation

Right now, almost all hydrogen produced worldwide is “grey,” which means it is produced from natural gas. Without a price on carbon emissions, grey hydrogen is inexpensive (€1 to €2 per kilogram), but it compounds the challenge of improving environmental sustainability. Green hydrogen, in contrast, uses renewable electricity to power electrolysis that splits water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. Because green hydrogen doesn’t require fossil fuels, it is a better long-term solution to help decarbonize economies. Yet green hydrogen—currently costing €3 to €8/kg in some regions—is more expensive than grey.


The most attractive production markets for green hydrogen are those with abundant, low-cost renewable resources. In parts of the Middle East, Africa, Russia, the US and Australia, for example, green hydrogen could be produced for €3 to €5/kg today. In Europe, production costs vary from €3 to €8/kg. The low end of these ranges can be achieved most easily in locations with access to low-cost renewable energies plants.


Yet production costs will decrease over time, due to continuously falling renewable energy production costs, economies of scale, lessons from projects underway and technological advances. As a result, green hydrogen will become more economical. The challenge is anticipating those trends and acting in time.

Analysing the future market

PwC evaluated the production cost trajectory of green hydrogen worldwide, giving us a better understanding of early movers and potentially large suppliers across countries and regions.


The key results of our analysis include the following:


Through 2030, hydrogen demand will grow at a moderate, steady pace through many niche applications across the industrial, transport, energy and buildings sectors.


Through cross-sector collaborations, new alliances will form to develop hydrogen projects.Hydrogen production costs will decrease by around 50% through 2030, and then continue to fall steadily at a slightly slower rate until 2050.


By 2050, green hydrogen production costs in some parts of the Middle East, Africa, Russia, China, the US and Australia will be in the range of €1 to €1.5/kg.


Over the same time period, production costs in regions with limited renewable resources, such as large parts of Europe, Japan or Korea, will be approximately €2/kg, making these markets likely importers of green hydrogen from elsewhere.


Even regions with good renewable resources but densely populated areas will import hydrogen, as land constraints limit the production of green electricity for direct use and conversion to hydrogen.


Many large countries—such as the US, Canada, Russia, China, India and Australia—have regions for both competitive and non-competitive hydrogen production, which could prompt them to develop in-country trading.


Export and import hubs will develop around the world, similar to current oil and gas hubs, but with new players in renewable-rich regions.