Suggested Citation: Vijayakumar, Vishnu, Lewis Fulton, Mahdi Shams, Daniel Sperling (2022) Creating a Global Hydrogen Economy: Review of International Strategies, Targets, and Policies with a Focus on Japan, Germany, South Korea, and California. Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis, Research Report UCD-ITS-RR-22-100
Motivated by increasing emphasis on decarbonization, hydrogen as an energy carrier is enjoying unprecedented political and business momentum. This paper reviews the status of hydrogen strategies and progress in major global economies, with a particular focus on four leading jurisdictions (Japan, Germany, S. Korea and California). These have been among the most aggressive, though in different ways. Japan, Germany, and S. Korea have been more focused on developing a sustainable hydrogen supply chain, while California has been more focused on spurring hydrogen demand, especially in the transportation sector. Japan’s strategy involves forging partnerships to import “blue” hydrogen (from methane with carbon abatement strategies) while Germany has focused on “green” (e.g., electrolytic) hydrogen production, along with plans to leverage its extensive natural gas pipelines for hydrogen distribution. Japan anticipates the power sector to be the largest consumer of hydrogen, while others expect the transportation and industry sectors to be the prime movers of future hydrogen demand. Japan, S. Korea and Germany will likely import a substantial portion of their future hydrogen supplies, while California has the potential for low-cost hydrogen production, but will need to establish demand and invest in hydrogen transportation and distribution infrastructure. In all four jurisdictions, investments are still relatively small and there exists huge opportunities for cooperation to develop a self-sustaining global hydrogen market.
Key words: GHG emissions, sector coupling, blue and green hydrogen, hydrogen economy