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GlobalData: hydrogen-based e-fuels to accelerate global energy transition

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Global Hydrogen Review,

Hydrogen is anticipated to be a game changer in the global transition to sustainable energy by offering fuel cells, alternative propulsion systems, and renewable power. With the capability to serve as a long-term, large-scale clean energy storage medium that aids power generation from renewable sources, hydrogen and hydrogen-based e-fuels are reaping the benefits of an unprecedented political and business momentum, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Kiran Raj, Practice Head of Disruptive Tech at GlobalData, comments: “While the race is on for a net zero economy, hydrogen jumps to the top of the global agenda. Several nations, corporations, energy enterprises, and start-ups have realised that now is the time to scale up technologies and bring down costs to tap into the hydrogen potential. New developments should materialise at par with accelerating hydrogen production, revising regulations, developing charging infrastructure, using existing gas infrastructure, and establishing shipping routes to take full advantage of the momentum.”

Shagun Sachdeva, Project Manager of Disruptive Tech at GlobalData, comments: “Growing technology innovations around hydrogen-based e-fuels and number of demonstration projects being carried out in the recent years have enabled building a sustainable future in sectors that cannot be electrified directly such as long-distance aviation, feedstock in chemical production, steel production, and potentially high-temperature industrial processes. At the same time, easier storage and transportation than electricity or pure hydrogen along with being energy-efficient and cost-effective solution has seen rise in popularity of hydrogen-based e-fuels.”

GlobalData’s FutureTech Series report, 'Hydrogen: key disruptive forces for global transition to sustainable energy', highlights over 40 disruptive forces in hydrogen as emerging, accelerating and maturing innovation areas based on their rate of growth in innovation.

Hydrogen-based e-fuels support game-changing use cases across the transportation, pulp and paper, power and shipping sectors in terms of long-haul freight and heavy-duty vehicles (HDVs).

In September 2022, Amazon signed an agreement with renewable fuels technology company, Infinium, to power its transportation fleet with ultra-low-carbon e-fuels derived from green hydrogen and recycled carbon waste.

In July 2022, The Navigator Company and Germany-based developer P2X-Europe announced a joint venture (JV) to produce e-fuels based on green hydrogen and biogenic carbon dioxide (CO2). The strategic partnership enables Navigator to add value to biogenic CO2 from its sustainable forest and pulp and paper production, as well as P2X-Europe’s parent companies, H&R Group and Mabanaft, to scale up market supplies to the chemical sector and non-fossil, green jet fuel for the aviation industry.

In April 2022, Porsche announced its plan to invest US$75 million in HIF Global LLC, a holding company of internationally-active project developers of e-fuel production facilities. The move is in line with Porsche’s plan to electrify 80% of its model line up by 2030.

Sachdeva concludes: “Despite advances in the hydrogen-based technologies, challenges such as optimal regulatory conditions, slow infrastructure development, repurposing of existing pipelines, limited cross-sector collaborations, and associated technical problems may arise due to the technology being relatively new, causing inefficiencies for operators, holding back its widespread adoption. Given such challenges are addressed, diverse potential applications can help hydrogen-based e-fuels transpiring into maximised climate benefit.”

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