Industrial companies boost target for green hydrogen in climate fight

(Reuters) – A global coalition of industrial companies said on Thursday it has boosted a target for emissions-cutting hydrogen generated with renewable power such as wind and solar energy.

Companies and governments have touted green hydrogen, derived from water using electrolyzers powered by renewable energy, as a way to cut carbon emissions. But it now costs about four times more to make green hydrogen than it does to make “grey hydrogen” using electrolyzers powered by natural gas or other fossil fuels.

The Green Hydrogen Catapult (GHC) set a goal of 45 gigawatts (GW) of electrolyzers, powered with green electricity, to be developed with secured financing by 2026, with targeted commissioning in 2027. The electrolyzers could produce enough hydrogen to power about 45 average-size steel mills, while cutting greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the need for fossil fuels, the group said.

The GHC was founded by companies including Fortescue Future Industries, the clean energy unit of Australian mining company Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (FMG.AX), Danish wind power company Ørsted (ORSTED.CO) and Swedish startup H2 Green Steel.

The new goal, announced in Glasgow, Scotland at the U.N. COP26 climate talks, is far higher than a goal of 25 GW that GHC set late last year.

“The time is now to build the green hydrogen industry, and Fortescue Future Industries is aiming to supply 15 million tonnes of green hydrogen to the world by 2030,” said Julie Shuttleworth, CEO of Fortescue Future Industries.

Green hydrogen can be used in fuel cells that power vehicles. It also can be mixed with natural gas to make a cleaner burning fuel for industrial applications, or used in making synthetic fuels for ships.

“Green hydrogen is a critical part of a sustainable energy future and one of the largest business opportunities of our time,” said Jules Kortenhorst, the chief executive at Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), a Colorado-based nonprofit that helped organize the coalition.

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