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The Hydrogen Economy can Reduce Costs of Climate Change Mitigation by up to 22%


In response to the urgent need to mitigate climate change via net-zero targets, many nations are renewing their interest in clean hydrogen as a net-zero energy carrier. Although clean hydrogen can be directly used in various sectors for deep decarbonization, the relatively low energy density and high production costs have raised doubts as to whether clean hydrogen development is worthwhile. Here, we improve on the GCAM model by including a more comprehensive and detailed representation of clean hydrogen production, distribution, and demand in all sectors of the global economy and simulate 25 scenarios to explore the costeffectiveness of integrating clean hydrogen into the global energy system. We show that, due to costly technical obstacles, clean hydrogen can only provide 3%–9% of the 2050 global final energy use. Nevertheless, clean hydrogen deployment can reduce overall energy decarbonization costs by 15%–22%, mainly via powering ‘‘hard-to-electrify’’ sectors that would otherwise face high decarbonization expenditures. Our work provides practical references for cost-effective clean hydrogen planning.

Funding source: H.M. was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (BP grant RS-2023-00219466).
Related subjects: Policy & Socio-Economics

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