A study conducted by the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, commissioned by the H2Global Foundation, has identified key regions where the production and import of green hydrogen derivatives, such as ammonia, methanol, and kerosene, would be economically viable for Europe, particularly Germany, by 2030. The findings indicate that Brazil, Colombia, and Australia are particularly well-suited for the cost-effective import of these climate-neutral PtX products, given their advantageous conditions for green hydrogen production. These regions offer competitive local production costs, ranging from 3.20 to 3.60 euros per kilogram of green hydrogen.
The study emphasizes the importance of PtX projects on a gigawatt scale and underscores the necessity for initiating large-scale projects in suitable production countries as early as possible due to the extended planning and construction phases involved. According to the study’s calculations, Germany will require a combination of domestically produced and imported PtX energy carriers, totaling at least single-digit terawatt-hours by 2030.
One key advantage identified in the study is the high combined full load hours for solar and wind energy systems in these regions, enabling the efficient utilization of Power-to-X processes. Additionally, the study notes that the high energy density and established ship transport logistics of ammonia, methanol, and kerosene make them viable options for long-distance transport.
The study also explores the possibility of importing gaseous green hydrogen via pipelines to Germany, with the option for on-site processing into downstream products. Regions in Southern Europe and North Africa, such as Algeria, Tunisia, and Spain, emerge as favorable choices for this scenario, provided that the necessary pipeline infrastructure is in place by 2030. These regions offer supply costs as low as 4.56 euros per kilogram of green hydrogen.
The study emphasizes that cost-efficient PtX generation hinges on factors such as a favorable combination of wind and solar power, high system utilization, and comparatively low capital costs. The findings highlight the importance of achieving the lowest possible generation costs for renewable electricity. Further cost reductions are anticipated in the future as renewable energy and hydrogen electrolysis technologies continue to optimize and scale up, leading to more competitive sustainable energy sources.
Overall, the study underscores the importance of a coordinated and strategic approach to building a global hydrogen industry that considers both domestic and export needs while engaging local stakeholders in the development of hydrogen generation and export infrastructure.