Last edited 21 May 2021


Hydrogen (H) is a chemical element with atomic number 1. It is the most abundant chemical substance in the universe. At standard temperature and pressure it occurs as a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas H2 which is highly combustible.

Net Zero by 2050, A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector, published by the International Energy Agency in May 2021, states: ‘Hydrogen is used in the energy system to refine hydrocarbon fuels and as an energy carrier in its own right. It is also produced from other energy products for use in chemicals production. As an energy carrier it can be produced from hydrocarbon fuels or from the electrolysis of water with electricity, and can be burned or used in fuel cells for electricity and heat in a wide variety of applications. To be low-carbon hydrogen, either the emissions associated with fossil-based hydrogen production must be prevented (for example by carbon capture, utilisation and storage) or the electricity input to hydrogen produced from water must be low-carbon electricity. In this report, final consumption of hydrogen includes demand for pure hydrogen and excludes hydrogen produced and consumed onsite by the same entity. Demand for hydrogen-based fuels such as ammonia or synthetic hydrocarbons are considered separately.’

Hydrogen-based fuels include ammonia and synthetic hydrocarbons.

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