Most critics of fuel cells and hydrogen as a source of energy claim that it makes no sense to spend energy generating a fuel. According to BNEF, what they miss is that solar and wind power will make green hydrogen cost less than the one extracted from natural gas with carbon capture by 2030. In 2050, green hydrogen will be cheaper than natural gas itself on an energy-equivalent basis in 15 of the 28 countries analyzed.
That’s a lower price than was expected from a previous assessment from BNEF on the same topic. To be more precise, it is 13 percent lower in 2030, and 17 percent lower in 2050 than the renewable H2 forecast BNEF made before this one.
That means green hydrogen, created by alkaline electrolysis, will cost only $2/kg by 2030. In 2050, it will cost less than $1/kg in many places. Brazil could be a leader in hydrogen production, with a cost of only $.055/kg by 2050 if it uses its onshore winds to produce it.
These estimates to establish the LCOH2 (levelized cost of hydrogen) were created with the updated forecast on the LCOE (levelized cost of renewable electricity). According to BNEF, the LCOE for solar energy will be 40 lower in 2050 than was predicted two years ago.
That gain is responsible for the lower price for hydrogen, one of the main hurdles fuel cell vehicles have to face. Another one, more pressing, is the lack of hydrogen stations for expanding the sales of such vehicles, which raises an interesting discussion.
When Tesla started to sell its cars, it created its own fast-charging network to offer an experience as close as possible to that of combustion-engined cars. Today, Superchargers are considered an integral part of the Tesla ownership experience to the point of being crucial to the buying decision. Some customers only buy Tesla vehicles because they want to use Superchargers.
On the other hand, Hyundai did not create a hydrogen station network for the ix35 or the Nexo. Neither did Toyota for the Mirai. The most important part of Nikola’s plans involved doing that, but we have heard very little about these hydrogen stations after they were announced. It is good news that hydrogen prices are falling faster than expected. However, we still need to figure out who is willing to sell it.