Hydrogen Deployment at Scale: The Infrastructure Challenge
Authors: Nicola De Blasio, Fridolin Pflugmann and Henry Lee
Despite the optimism surrounding clean hydrogen, key uncertainties remain. One of hydrogen’s attractions is that it can provide carbon-free energy in multiple sectors—transport, heating, industry, and electricity generation. But this advantage also creates uncertainties. The infrastructure needed in an economy in which hydrogen is primarily used as a transport fuel is very different from one in which its primary value is as a heating fuel.
Today no major hydrogen pipeline networks exist, and no liquified hydrogen ships are in commercial operation. There is a true chicken and egg problem. If there is no infrastructure to move hydrogen, will investments in supply and demand happen at the pace needed to meet national decarbonization targets? This challenge raises an even more pressing question: what should be the respective roles of the public and private sectors in deploying enabling infrastructure at scale?
For Academic Citation: De Blasio, N., Pflugmann, F., and Lee, H. (2021), “Hydrogen Deployment at Scale: The Infrastructure Challenge" Harvard University, August 2021.
The Guardian (2021), “Oman plans to build the world’s largest green hydrogen plant” https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/may/27/oman-plans-to-build-worlds-largest-green-hydrogen-plant, accessed June 2021.