Abstract: Many governments are incentivising green hydrogen as a strategy for decarbonising hard-to-abate sectors such as industry, heavy-duty transport, and dispatchable power. Policy targets and growing investments into green hydrogen anticipate significant reductions in production cost as deployment expands, creating low-cost carbon abatement opportunities at <100 USD per tonne. Among the many recent studies and reports emphasising its broad potential, several fallacies related to green hydrogen's present or future cost have gained prominence. These misconceptions have arisen from numerous cost assessments that incorrectly combine low-cost electricity with high electrolyser utilisation rates, do not include appropriate storage and distribution costs, and inaccurately compare green hydrogen production costs with the delivered prices of fossil fuels. Here, we determine the delivered price of green hydrogen by end-use sector, assigning appropriate storage and distribution costs by assessing each sector's specific requirements. At current delivered prices, carbon abatement opportunities less than $300/tCO2 are limited to petrochemical refining, ammonia synthesis and heavy-duty transport, but only in regions where hydrogen produced from natural gas costs ≥ $4/mmbtu or diesel costs ≥$7/gallon. Our results show that even if production costs reduce to <$2/kg as widely projected, low-cost carbon abatement opportunities will remain limited if storage and distribution capital costs do not decrease. Our results indicate that the opportunity for green hydrogen is narrower than widely suggested, demonstrating the importance of retaining a broad range of technological options to decarbonise the hard-to-abate sectors.

Speaker: Roxana Shafiee is an interdisciplinary scientist and researcher examining whether climate change, environment, and energy policies are backed by the best available science and technology research. Roxana holds a PhD in Environmental Research from the University of Oxford and was an Environment, Climate Change and Energy Researcher at the Scottish Parliament following her doctoral research. In 2022, Roxana was awarded the Stanback Postdoctoral Fellowship in Global Environmental Science at the California Institute of Technology and now continues her research as an Environmental Fellow at the Harvard University Center for the Environment in the Salata Institute for Climate and Sustainability.