The G7 countries have committed to accelerating hydrogen use in natural gas infrastructure and thermal power facilities. The nations agreed on a new hydrogen deal to accelerate the development of blue and green hydrogen and tackle both the climate challenge and the rising energy crisis that has been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.
The Hydrogen Action Pact (G7-HAP) will commit the G7 nations of Germany, the US, UK, Japan, Italy, France and Canada to increase the development of green and blue hydrogen in specific industries, as well as accelerate regulatory measures and other hydrogen standards.
The recent report by G7 climate and energy ministers stated that accelerating global markets and supply chains for low-carbon and renewable hydrogen were critical in enabling a path toward the complete decarbonisation of our economies. This strategy needs to become more prominent based on the existing geopolitical disruption, which has led to record energy prices and a significant impact on our energy security.
The G7-HAP confirms the financial commitment to accelerate blue and green hydrogen development, focusing on the best practices for sustainable production and continued discussions of the emerging geopolitical events and developing a global hydrogen economy.
The G7 has also pledged to support the development of low-carbon and renewable hydrogen and its derivatives in the decarbonisation of natural gas infrastructure and for zero-emissions thermal power development. Low-carbon hydrogen typically relates to blue H2 from fossil-fuel based gas with incomplete carbon capture and storage. This has caused some controversy, especially as the report that suggests an urgent need to reduce dependence on Russian gas.
Some industry experts have highlighted concerns about singling out hydrogen use in natural gas infrastructure – pipelines that some believe have no significant role in the decarbonisation of heating, the fuel’s primary role today, due to the cost and technical challenges. Supporting hydrogen for thermal power generation is also considered a wasteful use of expensive fuels. Using renewable electricity to generate green hydrogen before compressing, storing and transporting this hydrogen and then burning it to create electricity would result in a considerable efficiency loss.
While natural-gas infrastructure and thermal power generation were identified by the G7, some industry experts believe there needs to be a use of clean hydrogen in non-electrifiable sectors, like ammonia fertiliser production and in heavy industries such as steel, cement and long-distance shipping. These markets require significant amounts of grey hydrogen or dirty fossil fuels. The IEA recently announced an urgent requirement for all G7 industrialised economies to reduce the six billion tonnes of CO2 emissions produced from heavy industries, which account for 25% of the G7 energy emissions. Industry experts believe these industries need to be the primary focus of new hydrogen plans.
In addition to the G7-HAP, the ministers also pledged further research and development toward low-carbon aviation, including hydrogen and electric solutions. The current energy crisis indicates the necessity and opportunity for Europe to reduce its reliance on Russia by diversifying its energy supply and focusing on accelerating the development of clean, safe and sustainable energy solutions. The G7 ministers highlight the pivotal role of low-carbon and renewable hydrogen in achieving net-zero emissions and an energy-secure future.