Just as every journey begins with a single step, every transformational innovation begins with financing. A hydrogen economy, after all, will not simply appear out of thin air after more than a century’s investment in a carbon-based economy. Somebody will have to pay for the generators and infrastructure necessary to produce and deliver hydrogen to its users.
Fortunately, markets are increasingly coming around to the idea of investing in hydrogen. Graham Cooley, CEO of electrolyzer manufacturer ITM Power, told Wood McKenzie’s Power & Renewables conference that capital markets are now fully aware of the investment opportunities in green hydrogen. Ben Gallagher, Wood McKenzie lead analyst, emerging technologies, says that at least US$4.5 billion ($6.1 billion) was invested in the hydrogen market in 1Q2021 with 55 projects announced after a dip in 2Q2020 and 3Q2020.
According to Bank of America (BoA), sectors seen to benefit most from hydrogen are those where decarbonization with renewable electricity is not possible like steel, heating and transport. They see hydrogen tech and renewable utilities as promising given that renewable capacity needed for green hydrogen production could grow 10-fold by 2050. Industrial gas and chemicals are also seen to “gain share of this energy supply and self-decarbonization” as well, though oil demand could fall 20% if road transport transitions fully to hydrogen by 2050.