Hydrogen will likely play a crucial role in clean energy transition with increase in its use in sectors such as transportation, buildings and power generation. Interest in the use of hydrogen technology is increasing in a range of niche transport market segments, besides other applications. In the short to medium term, hydrogen technology could be used to replace compressed natural gas (CNG) in some areas with minor changes to the existing infrastructure.

Listed below are the key regulatory trends impacting the hydrogen industry, as identified by GlobalData.

Regulatory framework is essential for the development of clean hydrogen – another barrier to hydrogen development

Governments and industry need to work together to ensure that the current regulations do not create a bottleneck for investment. New hydrogen applications, along with clean hydrogen supply and infrastructure projects constitute the riskiest point of the hydrogen deployment curve. Targeted and time-bound loans, guarantees along with other tools can assist the private sector in investing, and share risks and rewards.

Project developers continue to face difficulties where regulations and need for permits are unclear, unfit for new purposes, or incompatible with sectors and countries. Knowledge sharing along with harmonised standards is important for equipment, safety and certifying emissions from numerous sources.

Increasing support

An increasing number of countries are providing direct support to investments in hydrogen technologies, together with a number of sectors which they are targeting. Currently, there are about 50 targets, mandates, along with policy incentives which are set up to promote hydrogen technology, with the majority focusing on transport. In the past few years, spending on hydrogen power research, development and demonstration (RD&D) by national governments increased globally.

Environmental impact – decarbonisation

The only by-products of hydrogen-powered fuel cells are water and heat – with no pollutants or greenhouse gases (GHG) involved. Hydrogen provides ways to decarbonise a number of sectors – consisting of long-haul transport, chemicals, iron and steel – where it is hard to decrease carbon emissions. It can enhance air quality and energy security. Besides, hydrogen technology helps increase flexibility in energy systems.

This is an edited extract from the Hydrogen – Thematic Research report produced by GlobalData Thematic Research.