Green hydrogen to account for 20% of European power demand by 2050 -Statkraft

A new hydrogen fuel cell truck made by Hyundai is pictured at the Verkehrshaus Luzern (Swiss Museum of Transport) in Luzern, Switzerland October 7, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo

OSLO, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Hydrogen produced from renewable energy sources will account for 20% of Europe's power consumption in 2050, and for 10% globally, a report published by Norwegian power company Statkraft on Thursday showed.

Green hydrogen is produced by splitting water molecules with a current of renewable electricity in electrolysers. The gas is touted as a clean replacement for fossil fuels in industries that are otherwise hard to decarbonise.

European power demand will rise to just over 5,000 terawatt hours (TWh) in 2050, with green hydrogen production accounting for around 1,000 TWh, up from current demand of around 30 TWh, Statkraft's sixth annual Low Emissions Scenario report showed.

The company is one of Europe's largest renewable energy producers and also operates several gas plants in Germany. It uses its analysis from the Low Emissions Scenario as the foundation for future investments.

Global power demand will likely more than double by 2050 to just over 60,000 TWh as electrification is seen as the main tool to reduce carbon dioxide emissions with renewable energy meeting about 80% of that demand, it found.

At present, green hydrogen production is more expensive than traditional production from fossil fuel sources, but Statkraft said that would change.

The company expected investment costs for electrolysers to fall by 60% by 2050, which coupled with storage could ensure a steady supply for industry.

"Seasonal storage can be beneficial in markets with significant power price differences between seasons, for example in Europe," the report said.

It is published ahead of the U.N. Climate summit (COP 26) in Glasgow, Scotland, from Oct. 31 to Nov. 12, where representatives from nearly 200 countries will meet for talks to strengthen action to tackle global warming under the 2015 Paris Agreement. read more

Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees as per the Paris Climate Accord will require more renewables and electrification at a faster pace than at present, Statkraft said.

Statkraft is involved in several green hydrogen projects, including projects to supply steel works and fertiliser production. read more

Reporting by Nora Buli; editing by Philippa Fletcher

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