Companies Make Hydrogen Pledge at COP26

11.11.2021 - The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI) have announced that 28 companies, including the likes of energy industry giants Shell and BP, have pledged to grow the hydrogen market.

Announced during Industry Day at COP26, the initiative called H2Zero will accelerate the use and production of hydrogen as an essential part of the future net-zero energy system.

“The uncertainty over supply and the lack of commitment for demand are two challenges associated with the development of hydrogen as part of the global energy system,” said Ben van Beurden, CEO of Shell and chair of SMI’s Hydrogen Taskforce. “We brought companies together to tackle this status quo and send a strong signal to markets and governments for hydrogen to reach its full potential.”

Other companies making pledges across three categories – demand, supply and financial or technical support – represent sectors such as mining, vehicle and equipment manufacturers, and financial services. One of these is UK multinational specialty chemicals and sustainable technologies company Johnson Matthey, which has committed to invest about £1 billion in the research, development and deployment of clean hydrogen processes by 2030.

On the demand side, the pledges, which total 1.6 million t/y of lower-carbon intensity hydrogen, focus on replacing grey hydrogen, currently used widely in the refining, chemical and fertilizer sectors, or diesel fuel used in heavy industries such as mining. This would reduce CO2 emissions by more than 14 million t/y, equal to the annual emissions of more than six million cars in Europe.

On supply, the pledges add up to more than 18 million t/y of lower-carbon hydrogen, avoiding about 190 million t/y of CO2 emissions, if it replaces grey hydrogen, natural gas for industrial heat and petroleum fuels in transportation.

“Our hope is that these combined pledges spark investments in supply and inspire other users to transition to hydrogen,” said WBCSD senior advisor Claire O’Neill. “To further accelerate the development of the hydrogen market, we are encouraging more companies to join this effort and make pledges. We stand ready to work with any company from any sector who is interested in driving progress towards a net-zero, nature positive and equitable future for 9+ billion people to live, within planetary boundaries, by 2050.”

The Hydrogen Council estimates that in 2030, using hydrogen could potentially avoid the emission of approximately 800 million t/y of CO2. The pledges announced equate to nearly one quarter of this total.

Author: Elaine Burridge, Freelance Journalist