Sustainable hydrogen to become more cost-effective by 2030

Sustainable hydrogen Power-to-Gas (PtG) technologies are forecast to become more affordable and energy-efficient in the next decade, reveal experts at University of Mannheim Business School.

According to a study by Prof. Gunther Glenk, Prof. Stefan Reichelstein and doctoral candidate Philip Holler at the Mannheim Institute for Sustainable Energy Studies (MISES), the life-cycle cost of electrolytic hydrogen production is projected to fall by at least $1.6 per kg by 2030.

The researchers analysed system prices and conversion efficiency for three prevalent PtG technologies: alkaline, polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) and solid oxide cell (SOC) electrolysis.

They find that, over the past 20 years, every time the total number of installed PtG technologies doubled, system prices dropped by 14–17% and the amount of energy required for electrolysis was reduced by 2%.

While the US Department of Energy’s target of producing clean hydrogen at a cost of $1 per kg within the next decade is ambitious, the researchers suggest it is not unrealistic.

“Hydrogen is increasingly considered crucial for storing and flexibly delivering large amounts of clean energy. Widespread adoption of hydrogen energy is widely believed to hinge on continued advances in PtG technologies that convert renewable electricity into hydrogen. To accelerate improvements in these technologies, governments worldwide have introduced sizable subsidy programs for the development, manufacturing and deployment of hydrogen equipment,” explains Prof. Glenk.

This study is available as a working paper from the University of Mannheim.