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Hydrogen use in EU decarbonisation scenarios

Green hydrogen visual
Apr 17 2019

A new JRC factsheet collects evidence on the future use of hydrogen in all EU energy consuming sectors, based on comparisons of deep decarbonisation energy scenarios.
Furthermore, the factsheet gives insights on how such a quantity of hydrogen can be produced, on the estimates of the investments that would be required, and on how many jobs would be created in the process.

Decarbonisation kicks off new uses of hydrogen, especially in sectors where it is harder to decrease CO2 emissions. In most decarbonisation scenarios, hydrogen and derived fuels add up to between 10% and 23% of the 2050 EU final energy consumption. The average amount of hydrogen use across those scenarios is 2 000 TWh, which amounts to around 16% of the 2050 EU final energy consumption.

Depending on the way carbon-free hydrogen is produced, supplying this amount of hydrogen requires:

either a significant amount of carbon-free electricity, equivalent to 80% of today's total electricity production, making it the sector with the largest power consumption;
or, a significant amount of natural gas, equivalent to 45% of today's consumption. To make this process a carbon-neutral process, 460 MtCO2 should be captured every year, which would require around 150 large-scale facilities to collect and store the CO2.

Supplying this hydrogen would also require an amount of water equal to a third of the total water consumed today in the energy sector.

These estimates of the investments and resources required for future hydrogen production, as well as their side-effects (such as the potentially positive impact on the job market) are important to guide the policy decisions which will drive the energy transition further.

Further info:

/jrc/en/file/document/179702Two-pager on Hydrogen use in EU decarbonisation scenarios