As of 2022, almost all of world's 90 Mt/yr hydrogen production is fossil-fuel-based and unabated, i.e., without CCS, Trend reports with reference to DNV GL.
"This includes about a quarter of ammonia plants that capture their process emissions (only around half their carbon emissions) and provide the recovered CO2 to be used in urea production (carbon capture and utilization - CCU), accounting for some 8 MtH2/yr. Only a few refineries, methanol and fertilizer production facilities use CCS (carbon capture and storage) to capture emissions from the dilute flue gas stream (usually up to 85-90 percent of the total CO2 emissions) and store long-term, with a combined capture capacity of less than 10 MtCO2/yr. Most of these facilities are in the US and Canada," the company said in its latest report.
DNV GL noted that methane reforming, almost all of which is steam methane reforming (SMR), is the most common way of producing hydrogen for ammonia and methanol production.
"Coal gasification is the principal route used in China, but has limited use elsewhere. In oil refineries, about half of the hydrogen is produced as a by-product of other processes in the refinery or from other petrochemical processes integrated into certain refineries. The other half is produced primarily from methane reforming, or coal gasification in the case of China. The future hydrogen supply mix will be shaped by two related trends: firstly, the use of hydrogen as an energy carrier will increase, and secondly, there will be a gradual replacement of existing production capacity with lower-emission alternatives," the report reads.
DNV GL notes that as the main motivation for hydrogen use in energy systems is to decarbonize sectors that cannot be electrified, only low-carbon production routes are future contenders.
"With energy use of hydrogen and its derivatives dominating hydrogen demand after 2040, the supply mix will be increasingly low-carbon. In 2030, we forecast that a third of global supply will be low-carbon and renewable, with fossil fuels with CCS taking a 14 percent share of the global total and hydrogen from electrolysis 18 percent. In 2050, 85 percent of world's hydrogen supply will be from low-carbon routes, broken down as follows: 27.5 percent from fossils with CCS, 25.5 percent from grid-connected electrolysis, 17.5 percent from dedicated solar-based electrolysis, 13 percent from dedicated wind-based electrolysis and 1 percent from dedicated nuclear-based electrolysis," the report says.