Glasgow, COP26, Tuesday 9 November – The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) today announced on Industry Day at COP26 the pledges of 28 companies to drive growth in the demand for, and supply of, hydrogen.
This new initiative, comprising of these companies – H2Zero – will accelerate the use and production of hydrogen as an essential part of the future net-zero energy system.
Pledges across three categories – demand, supply and financial or technical support – have been made by 28 companies representing different sectors from mining to energy, vehicle and equipment manufacturers, and financial services.
The Hydrogen Council estimates that in 2030, the decarbonisation potential for hydrogen could equate approximately 800 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions avoided. The pledges announced today equate to nearly one quarter of this total.
On the demand side, the pledges – which total 1.6 mtpa of lower-carbon intensity hydrogen – focus on replacing grey hydrogen, currently used widely in the refining, chemical and fertilizer sectors, or diesel fuel used in heavy industries such as mining. This would reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 14 million tons a year – the equivalent to the annual emissions of more than six million cars in Europe.
On the supply side, the pledges add up to more than 18 mtpa of lower-carbon hydrogen. This would avoid about 190 million tons a year of CO2 emissions, if it replaces grey hydrogen, natural gas for industrial heat and petroleum fuels in transportation. This would be the equivalent of nearly the combined annual emissions of The Netherlands and Tunisia.
“The uncertainty over supply and the lack of commitment for demand are two challenges associated with the development of hydrogen as part of the global energy system,” said Ben van Beurden, Chief Executive Officer of Shell and Chair of the Hydrogen Taskforce at SMI. “We brought companies together to tackle this status quo and send a strong signal to markets and governments for hydrogen to reach its full potential.”
“Our hope is that these combined pledges spark investments in supply and inspire other users to transition to hydrogen,” added Claire O’Neill, Senior Advisor at WBCSD and former COP26 President-Designate. “To further accelerate the development of the hydrogen market, we are encouraging more companies to join this effort and make pledges. We stand ready to work with any company from any sector who is interested in driving progress towards a net-zero, nature positive and equitable future for 9+ billion people to live, within planetary boundaries, by 2050.”
Transforming the global energy system will require unprecedented collaboration between the private and public sectors. Policymakers are required to create a stable investment framework that will accelerate the deployment of clean hydrogen, creating numerous opportunities for employment and economic development.
SMI recently published policy recommendations to accelerate the adoption of hydrogen fuel cells specifically for transportation, while WBCSD recently published a set of policy recommendations to accelerate the deployment of hydrogen with the lowest possible carbon intensity. The deployment and rapid scaling up of hydrogen will be crucial to helping countries and businesses alike meet their net-zero emissions commitments by 2050.