08 Dec 2020, 13:28
Sören Amelang

Most studies underestimate complexity of green hydrogen imports – think tank

Clean Energy Wire

The large-scale import of green hydrogen is highly complex and many studies underestimate the problems that still need to be solved, says a report by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (Fraunhofer ISI). The future market for hydrogen imports to Germany and Europe could be worth between 100 billion and 700 billion euros per year, depending on the applications for hydrogen and other energy sources derived from it, the researchers say. "The topic of importing green hydrogen in all its complexity is still too little understood, and the challenges and tasks still to be solved in the future are therefore partly underestimated," the report says, pointing to high uncertainties regarding future import prices, sustainability criteria, the availability of capital, international cooperation, among others.

The researchers argue that many existing analyses significantly underestimate future hydrogen import prices because they focus on production costs while neglecting other price components, such as taxation, profits, risk premiums, and expenses for research and development, "or even scarcity prices (see mineral oil)”. The report also says that current studies mostly focus on supply and demand forecasts for individual countries. "What is missing, however, is a global overview of supply potential as well as a global overview of demand potential and the extent to which they fit together. For a comprehensive analysis, possible producing countries worldwide would have to be identified and analysed."

Hydrogen is seen as a major building block for a climate-friendly future energy supply, but most experts and the government say Germany will rely on large imports as it doesn't have enough space to produce hydrogen with renewable power. 

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