• IRENA report sees energy security concerns hastening hydrogen economy and changing geopolitical landscape

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

Francesco La Camera, director-general of the International Renewable Energy Agency, has suggested to the Financial Times that Europe’s current gas crisis could spur a faster transition to the use of green hydrogen.

With the volatility of natural gas prices, there is hope that green hydrogen production would be less prone such fluctuations, especially as a significant portion of production could be domestic. A new IRENA report on the subject foresees that a “new cartography of energy geopolitics” and corresponding diplomacy will be produced by the hydrogen economy (which may provide 12% of the world energy demand by 2050, if the 1.5oC target for limiting global average surface temperature rises is met).

Interestingly, in its analysis, IRENA predicts that Sub-Saharan Africa will have the largest potential for producing green hydrogen cheaply, followed by the Middle East and North Africa, then North America, closely followed by Oceania and then Latin America. (Russia appears not to have been assessed as having a great deal of potential, or perhaps has not been analysed.) The report also notes that, as production will be geographically diversified, profits per unit of energy may be lower than for oil and gas, while the FT notes that the current high prices of natural gas make the price comparison between blue and green hydrogen production quite different than in the past – i.e. relatively more favourable for green.