BAKU, Azerbaijan, September 22. In global hydrogen usage trends, noteworthy disparities have emerged across major consuming regions, with the exception of Europe, which faced setbacks attributed to the ongoing energy crisis triggered by the war in Ukraine, Trend reports.
As of September 22, 2023, the European hydrogen sector experienced a substantial decline in activity, particularly within the chemical industry, due to the significant surge in natural gas prices. Consequently, as the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates, several fertilizer plants curtailed their production or endured extended shutdowns, causing a nearly 6 percent reduction in hydrogen consumption throughout the region.
In stark contrast, North America and the Middle East reported robust growth rates of approximately 7 percent each, effectively offsetting Europe's decline. Meanwhile, China exhibited more modest growth at approximately 0.5 percent, yet it remains the world's leading hydrogen consumer, accounting for nearly 30 percent of global hydrogen usage—a figure more than double that of the United States, the second-largest consumer.
It is important to note that the growth in global hydrogen utilization does not stem from explicit hydrogen policies but rather aligns with broader global energy trends. This expansion primarily occurred in conventional applications, primarily in refining and the chemical sector, and was met by increased production reliant on unabated fossil fuels. Consequently, this growth has had limited positive impact on climate change mitigation efforts.
The adoption of hydrogen in emerging applications within heavy industry, transportation, hydrogen-based fuel production, electricity generation, and storage—critical elements for advancing the clean energy transition—remains minimal, accounting for less than 0.1 percent of the global demand.
In the updated 2023 edition of the International Energy Agency's (IEA) Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario (NZE Scenario), hydrogen utilization is projected to grow at an annual rate of 6 percent throughout this decade. This trajectory suggests that by 2030, global hydrogen usage will surpass 150 million metric tons, with nearly 40 percent stemming from newly emerging applications.
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