Life Cycle Assessment shows that (green) electricity will still have the highest impact on the global warming potential of hydrogen produced by PEM electrolysers in 2050.

TUM.PtX News |

Latest findings from the Kopernikus P2X project show that based on a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) the global warming potential of green hydrogen depends mainly on the generation technologies available for the electricity production.

The recently published report from the Kopernikus P2X project analyzed among other research questions how  final demand sectors can be decarbonized by the utilization of (green) hydrogen.  The chair or Renewable and Sustainable Energy Systems takes part in two specific tasks within the project. With an energy system model the pathways to a sustainable energy transition to a sector coupled Europe are investigated by focusing mainly on the electricity and the hydrogen sector (for further processing to P2X products). In the second task a Life Cycle Assessment is conducted to evaluate how PEM electrolysers will develop in the future and what impacts of the produced hydrogen are to be expected from a life cycle perspective.

The Life Cycle Analysis has shown that electricity will stay the highest influencing factor in all impact categories. For the “global warming potential” category there will be zero direct emissions on European level with an electricity mix of >95% renewable energies by 2050, but there will still be indirect/embedded CO2 emissions due to the production and construction of the electricity generation technologies. It is worth mentioning that even if it is virtually impossible to achieve zero emissions from a Life Cycle perspective, through the PEM Electrolyzer development and using green electricity, the GHG of produced hydrogen are expected to reduce in 2050 to one ninth of the current value. In the next report (will be published in August 2022) this analysis will be conducted on an even higher level of detail.

Project web page:

Roadmap 3.0 (only available in German):