The Role of Blockchain in Green Hydrogen Value Chains

Authors: Nicola De Blasio and Charles Hua

October 2021


A rainbow of colors currently dominates almost every conversation on the transition to a low-carbon economy: green, grey, blue, turquoise, pink, yellow - an ever-increasing palette to describe the same colorless, odorless, and highly combustible molecule, hydrogen. The only difference is the chemical process used to produce it.

As energy systems increasingly evolve from centralized to decentralized, from “grey” to “green,” stakeholders will need to efficiently account for and track emissions and green molecules in a transparent, secure, and standardized way, and must be able to do so along value chains from production to consumption.

Today, the origin of a commodity is certified through certificates of origin. However, the certification process can be complex, requiring many intermediaries that add time, labor, and cost burdens. Furthermore, concerns over whether commodities are accurately counted and traded pose challenges to scalability. Innovative technologies like blockchain could significantly simplify carbon accounting and green certification processes.

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For Academic Citation: De Blasio, N., and Hua, C. (2021), “The Role of Blockchain in Green Hydrogen Value Chains" Belfer Center, Harvard Kennedy School, October 2021.


Swan, M. (2015), “Blockchain: Blueprint for a new economy” O'Reilly Media Inc.

Brooklyn Microgrid,, accessed October 2021.