Hydrogen is a versatile energy carrier, which can help to tackle various critical energy challenges. Hydrogen can be produced from almost all energy resources, though today’s use of hydrogen in oil refining and chemical production is mostly covered by hydrogenfrom fossil fuels, with significant associated CO2 emissions.

Hydrogen Tall

Key findings

Global demand for pure hydrogen, 1975-2018


Demand for hydrogen continues to rise, almost entirely supplied from fossil fuels

Supplying hydrogen to industrial users is now a major business around the world. Demand for hydrogen, which has grown more than threefold since 1975, continues to rise – almost entirely supplied from fossil fuels, with 6% of global natural gas and 2% of global coal going to hydrogen production. As a consequence, production of hydrogen is responsible for CO2 emissions of around 830 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year, equivalent to the CO2 emissions of the United Kingdom and Indonesia combined.

Electrolyser capacity installed by year, 2010-2018


Larger electroylser projects are needed to demonstrate accelerated scale-up

In 2018, hydrogen maintained its unprecedented recent momentum, with over 20 MW of electrolyser capacity coming online. However, a key metric for sustainability and cost reductions is the size of the largest individual project installed, which was 10 MW in 2018 – still below the size needed to demonstrate accelerated scale-up. Larger projects of 100 MW are announced, however, and a 20‑MW project in Canada is under construction.