Hydrogen is the most abundant chemical substance in the universe. In this regard it is almost the exact opposite of fossil fuels, which are incredibly rare and hard to extract. So wouldn’t it be great if we could swap fossil fuels for renewable sources such as hydrogen? This Falling Walls Circle Plenary Table explores the challenges and opportunities that may arise from the successful deployment of hydrogen technologies aimed at building more resilient economies and energy systems.

While green hydrogen may play a big role in the decarbonisation of big industries, its production and acceptance remain stunted for now. “The principal problem is cost”, says Philip Green, “the solution is scale”. But in order to produce at scale, the supply chain has to adapt: Renewable sources such as wind and solar energy have to be scaled at the same time so that they can meet the demand of increased green hydrogen production. As Philippe Tanguy puts it: “Producing hydrogen is the easy part. It is the infrastructure and logistics in between that have to be dealt with very carefully.”

Closing the gap between producers and off-takers

Similarly, accessibility and acceptability of green hydrogen have to be addressed. Big industries, such as steel producers, truck manufacturers and heat providers, need to switch over to renewable sources. “The affordability of green hydrogen is critical in unlocking these industries and their resources”, says Marius Brand. To cut down costs and drive up acceptability, political incentives and subsidies may be needed to close the still existing gap between producers and off-takers.

The experts also address the involvement of the Global South: As they agree, a global energy transition cannot be a western thing, and in order to advance a strategically integrated energy system based on renewable sources, developing and emerging countries have to play a pivotal role.