‘Indiscriminate use of hydrogen’ could slow the energy transition, report says – CNBC

by | Nov 18, 2022 | Energy

Hydrogen has a diverse range of applications and can be deployed in a wide range of industries.Aranga87 | Istock | Getty ImagesHydrogen use by the G-7 could jump by four to seven times by the middle of this century compared to 2020 in order to “satisfy the needs of a net-zero emissions system,” according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency.In a foreword to the report, IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera said it had “become clear that hydrogen must play a key role in the energy transition if the world is to meet the 1.5 °C target of the Paris Agreement.”Despite this assertion, IRENA’s analysis — which was published on Wednesday, during the COP27 climate change summit in Egypt — paints a complex overall picture that will require a delicate balancing act going forward.Among other things, it noted that “despite hydrogen’s great potential, it must be kept in mind that its production, transport and conversion require energy, as well as significant investment.””Indiscriminate use of hydrogen could therefore slow down the energy transition,” it added. “This calls for priority setting in policy making.”Read more about electric vehicles from CNBC ProThe first of these priorities, IRENA said, related to the decarbonization of “existing hydrogen applications.” The second centered around using hydrogen in “hard-to-abate applications” like aviation, steel, shipping and chemicals.The energy transition can broadly be seen as a shift away from fossil fuels to a system dominated by renewables. Given that it depends on a multitude of factors – from technology and finance to international cooperation – how the transition pans out remains to be seen.A spokesperson for Hydrogen Europe, an industry association, told CNBC that IRENA was “correct that the deployment of large-scale infrastructure and energy production require large-scale investments, and it is true that it requires energy to produce, store and transpo …

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