The Potential of Hydrogen in the Chemical Industry
The chemical industry is an important sector when it comes to developing innovative solutions to enable the transition towards a sustainable economy but is facing a huge challenge to become net zero. How can hydrogen help to decarbonise the chemical industry?

According to Deloitte, around 10 million tons of hydrogen is already used in the EU industry, mainly as feedstock to produce ammonia and in the refining industry.

New potential roles for hydrogen have emerged due to the heightened focus on reaching net zero. Therefore, the hydrogen market is expected to exceed 100 million tons by 2050.

Chemical companies have the potential to create a competitive hydrogen advantage

According to research by Capgemini Research Institute published earlier this year, by 2030, 83 per cent of chemical producers expect low-carbon hydrogen to demonstrate value for their organisations.

The report was based on survey responses from 500 executives in the energy and utilities industries. Nearly two-thirds of survey respondents stated that they plan to invest in low-carbon hydrogen initiatives by 2030, and 9 in 10 plan to do so by 2050.

Chemical companies are uniquely positioned to tap into the opportunities of the emerging hydrogen economy and create a competitive advantage by doing so.

Hydrogen is not only a key enabler to become net zero for the chemical industry, but it is also a crucial opportunity for these companies to generate new sustainable revenue streams.

The companies can leverage their global assets, supply chains, existing sales and distribution and knowledge to kickstart their future role in the hydrogen economy.

One chemical company that is focusing on hydrogen is UK chemicals multinational Johnson Matthey, which recently announced it will be partnering with Diffusion Alloys, a specialist diffusion coatings provider, to boost the supply chain for low-carbon hydrogen.

By partnering, Johnson Matthey and Diffusion Alloys will share their areas of expertise and ensure a robust supply of the coated components deployed in Johnson Matthey’s low-carbon hydrogen offering.

Low-carbon hydrogen is an important growth area for the company, and the technology has been chosen for many significant projects around the world.

This includes H2H Saltend with Linde and Equinor, a 600-megawatt low-carbon hydrogen production plant in the Humber, UK; HyNet, a leading UK industrial decarbonisation project; and a large-scale low-carbon hydrogen project in North America.

Companies need to start their journey into hydrogen now to not be left behind

While hydrogen holds significant potential in the chemical industry, there are several challenges that need to be addressed for its widespread adoption.

One of the main challenges is establishing a robust hydrogen infrastructure. This includes the development of production facilities, storage systems, and a distribution network. Building the necessary infrastructure will require significant investment and coordination among stakeholders.

Also, integrating hydrogen into existing chemical processes and infrastructure poses challenges. Retrofitting existing plants to accommodate hydrogen as a feedstock or energy carrier could require investments and modifications. Scaling up hydrogen-based technologies to meet industrial demand will need careful planning and coordination.

Chemical companies must focus on creating a clear strategy and roadmap and assess and define their current position in the hydrogen ecosystem. Companies need to strategically rethink how to position and interact with the economy and value chain to add value.

It is essential that these companies start their hydrogen journey now, and make investments to secure their seat at the table plus ensure a strategic position in the future.

If not, these companies will be following behind and their transition to net zero will be delayed, especially when compared to those who immediately started to look at hydrogen.

Hydrogen Industry Leaders are guiding you through our multimedia platform and in-person events. Through these in-person events, you can hear from key players in the sector and learn how hydrogen can be introduced into your processes.

Visit our event page here to discover how you can secure your place at one of our events to network with key industry leaders, gain valuable insights from hydrogen experts, participate in engaging discussions, and explore how you can use hydrogen to benefit you.