Green hydrogen may be a small part of today’s global energy mix, but it is set to play an increasingly crucial role in the net zero scenario, thanks to its suitability for hard-to-electrify or energy-intensive industries.

However, while the green hydrogen sector features prominently on political and strategic agendas, less than 1% of global hydrogen production in 2021 was based on low-emission technologies. This emergent sector offers great potential therefore in terms of decarbonization and will create fresh economic opportunities for stakeholders along its entire value chain.

Overall, there needs to be a swift, significant increase in renewable energy generation so that the surplus can be used to produce hydrogen. That goes hand-in-hand with the expansion of the hydrogen infrastructure (electrolyzers, storage, transportation and usage) and the development of new applications to drive demand.

A new study by Ferdinand Consultants for Germany’s National Metrology Institute, the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB), explains how quality infrastructure creates the basis for the development of the green hydrogen sector by reducing existing risks and supporting the positive sustainability impact of investments.

Quality infrastructure comprises the public bodies, private companies, regulatory and legal frameworks of the value chain. It relies on the components of metrology, standardization, testing, accreditation, conformity assessment, and market surveillance.

Robust, internationally recognized criteria and quality assurance mechanisms must be put in place to prevent technical barriers to trade, green washing and unintended negative sustainability or local economy impacts. This is especially relevant in Africa and Latin America, whose abundant renewable energy sources make them ideal green-hydrogen producers.

There are significant challenges to be addressed across a number of quality infrastructure services. For example, there is a need for clear, internationally recognized criteria for life-cycle assessments to estimate emissions releases and any negative environmental impacts. Another important area is the “guarantee of origin” required to differentiate green hydrogen from other hydrogen types.

The publication examines the existing gaps between the demand, both current and projected, and supply of quality infrastructure services. It also sets out key learnings to help policymakers and sector stakeholders effectively support quality infrastructure and foster the development of the green hydrogen industry.

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