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Friday 9 September 2022
The push for harmonised standards, insights from Japan and South Korea, green hydrogen in India and more!

Notes from the diary

The week in green hydrogen

Welcome to GH2’s Weekly Wrap: our effort to stay in touch with you all, capture trends, share what is important and in our diary in a way that is longer than a tweet, but shorter than a podcast or article.

Not a day passes without orders for fuel cell trucks and electrolysers appearing the headlines, at least of the media channels I follow.

This week, I visited Seoul and Tokyo and colleagues visited New Delhi (more on New Delhi below).

The Japanese and Korean economies share many similarities. They are highly sophisticated though dependent on the imports of natural resources and energy. There is a recognition that the import of fossil fuels needs to be brought down. Both countries have developed advanced systems for the use of hydrogen. They make fuel cell cars and trucks, hydrogen stations are starting to crop up and they are increasingly using ammonia to replace coal in power generation. Both countries are the industrial and societal forefront of replacing other fuels with hydrogen and ammonia.

The question is what the associated emissions are for the hydrogen and ammonia that will be used. If petrol cars are replaced with hydrogen cars using grey hydrogen, the climate benefits will be limited. If the coal in the power stations is replaced with ammonia or hydrogen with significant emissions, little will have been achieved.

There is therefore an urgent need and growing recognition in Japan and Korea that the supply chain needs scrutiny, that their sources of energy for the future needs looking at.

My experience is that we are finally starting to see a realisation that blue hydrogen is not likely to create some kind of transition pathway. With current carbon capture projects struggling to reach a capture rate of even 60% (when at least a capture rate of 90% is needed for net zero scenarios), we are just not going to see significant quantities of blue hydrogen be delivered to Japan and Korea any time soon.

It will be interesting to see the impact of the recently adopted US Inflation Reduction Act 2022 in countries like Japan and Korea. There ought to be some healthy competition in terms of creating enabling conditions for the renewable energy economy to compete with fossil fuels.

In Japan, which in 2017 was probably the first country in the world to adopt a hydrogen strategy, the government is reportedly due to announce further measures to enable the hydrogen economy before the end of the year. In Korea, where a new hydrogen act was adopted earlier this year, detailed measures including on how emissions are accounted for, are expected in the coming months.

I end by quoting the newly appointed CEO of Wallenius Wilhelmsen, Lasse Kristoffersen, one of the world’s largest roll-on/roll-off carriers and at the forefront of the energy transition in global shipping:

“For the majority of us…we have never known a world without Queen Elizabeth II…I remember very well her words to us all at COP26: “It’s really irritating when they talk, but they don’t do.” In respect of her memory, let us make sure we act.”

I will only add: In respect of future generations, let’s make sure we act.

Jonas Moberg

GH2's work to scale up the
green hydrogen economy

Some of the things we’ve been up to this week

The need to harmonize global and national green hydrogen standards

We have just published an article on the necessity to harmonize global and national green hydrogen standards. We are often asked how the Green Hydrogen Standard interacts with emerging national and regional standards, so we have explained our approach using three examples: (1) the EU’s definition of “renewable hydrogen” under the 2018 Renewable Energy Directive; (2) the greenhouse gas emissions thresholds for production tax credits under the United States’ Inflation Reduction Act 2022; and (3) Australia’s proposed Hydrogen Guarantee of Origin scheme.

Put simply: there are significant differences, which presents significant challenges for green hydrogen producers and consumers. All governments have rules for activities within their borders. It is no exception when it comes to the emissions profile and sustainability criteria when producing green hydrogen.

Our key point is that, by adopting the Green Hydrogen Standard certification process, companies can demonstrate compliance with national requirements and their alignment with global best practice. Piloting of the standard is underway (see below). GH2 is also in a dialogue with a group of countries about their rules and hydrogen standards; it is envisaged that the Green Hydrogen Standard will form the basis for the further development of their regulatory environment.

We will continue to advocate for greater convergence in emissions and sustainability standards, which will lower compliance costs for developers (and their customers) while ensuring that the growing green hydrogen industry has close to zero-emissions and contributes to sustainable development.

India: GH2 and beyond

Two important events took place this week in New Delhi. We supported a summit on green hydrogen investment strategies for India which covered the array of issues that must be considered for the green hydrogen sector to take root. In a forward to a whitepaper published for the summit, chair of GH2’s Green Hydrogen Development Plan Erik Solheim noted that India’s green hydrogen policy is putting the country on the path to becoming a green hydrogen superpower.

In parallel, the First EU-India Green Hydrogen Forum took place. European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson outlined her hopes for collaboration with India before rushing back to meet with EU energy ministers to disuss emergency measures on reducing rising costs, where of course green hydrogen must be part of the solution. H.E. Mr R.K. Singh, India’s Minister of Power and New and Renewable Energy, made clear that India’s green hydrogen strategy included exports of green hydrogen and green ammonia. However, he alluded to the risks of restrictive European regulations on green hydrogen. Indeed, the co-chair of the Confederation of Indian Industry and chairman of AVADA, Vineet Mittal, referred specifically to the EU’s Delegated Act on additionality which as we have said previously does risk being a barrier to exports of green hydrogen to the EU.

To top off the week for green hydrogen in India, the Wall Street Journal today underlined the critical role of major companies Adani (a GH2 member) and Reliance Industries to the country realizing its decarbonisation goals. Green hydrogen is at the centre of each companies’ plans to transition away from fossil fuels.

The other thing that India has going for it is active civil society groups which will monitor and support the sustainable development of green hydrogen in the country. We commend the work of the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), WRI India and Youth for Green Hydrogen with many of its founding members from India.
Testing of green hydrogen projects under GH2 standard
Given the growing appreciation of the need for consistent global standards, we are progressing our work with several leading green hydrogen producers to further test and refine the procedures for green hydrogen accreditation and certification under the Green Hydrogen Standard. Six companies across four continents are taking part, with more companies planning to join in Q4 2022. We are doing final screening ahead of appointing consultants to undertake this test phase and will make a further announcement shortly. There is additional detail on the project on the GH2 website.

This work is taking place in parallel to the development of an annex to the Standard that will address the methods for calculating the emissions associated with green hydrogen derivatives, including ammonia. The draft will be made available for comment in Q4 2022.

Coming up


Africa Green Hydrogen Forum, 26-27 September, Abidjan

The Africa Green Hydrogen Alliance was formed by six leading African countries, Egypt, Kenya, Mauritania, Morocco, Namibia and South Africa, to intensify collaboration and supercharge development of green hydrogen projects on the African continent.  

The Alliance is convening at the Africa Green Hydrogen Forum, co-organised by the African Development Bank, UN High Level Champions and GH2. The event will bring together representatives from African governments with high potential for green hydrogen development, share good practices and policies that will support the growth of global green hydrogen markets and agree clear targets and messages for green hydrogen at COP27. A new study will be considered which would establish a 2030 green hydrogen deployment target across the AGHA member countries to be announced at COP27 as Africa’s green hydrogen ambition with milestones. The report will identify high level infrastructure and financing needs.

Join our community

We invite companies, governments and civil society to join the Green Hydrogen Organisation community. GH2 is a Swiss non-profit foundation that has been established to promote green hydrogen sustainably to decarbonise key parts of the global economy for everyone’s benefit. We believe that climate disaster will only be prevented if the use of oil, gas and coal stops urgently. To do this, the world needs to accelerate the production and use of green hydrogen, made from renewable energy and water.

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