Publications

- June 1, 2021: Vol. 8, Number 6

The ‘hard-to-decarbonize’: Some economic sectors still heavily reliant on fossil fuels

by Kali Persall

Up to $3 trillion of infrastructure investment may be needed by 2030, and up to $20 trillion by 2050 to develop the “hydrogen economy,” according to a report by QIC.

The report, titled Gathering Pace: Infrastructure opportunities in the hydrogen economy, notes that although significant progress has been made globally to reduce carbon emissions from electricity generation, there has been very little progress in reducing carbon emissions from transport and heavy industrial uses — sectors that collectively account for more than 40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. These sectors continue to rely on fossil fuels, and although hydrogen demand from industrial users has grown exponentially in the previous few decades, it is currently manufactured almost entirely from coal and natural gas.

At present, the production of hydrogen is responsible for some 830 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, which is equivalent to the carbon produced annually by the United Kingdom and Indonesia combined.

The current challenge is to transition to clean hydrogen that is powered by low-cost, zero-carbon sources. QIC expects that meeting this challenge will result in exponential growth in adoption among industrial users and a broadening of hydrogen use into other “hard-to-decarbonize” sectors, such as long-haul and heavy transportation, building heating, and long-term power storage.

Overall, QIC estimates the coming decade will be a period of enormous growth for the hydrogen economy, backed by a surge in global government policies. QIC also expects exponential improvement in the cost-competitiveness of hydrogen applications over the coming decade, occurring through increased electrolyzer production and hydrogen storage facilities, as well as continued cost reductions in renewable energy.

“By 2030, we foresee the hydrogen economy to be well established but still growing rapidly, driving the next significant leap forward in decarbonization,” noted QIC.

Read the full report at this URL: https://bit.ly/3el1uCo.

 

Kali Persall is a reporter at Institutional Real Estate, Inc. and editor of iREOC Connect.

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