In this series of data visualizations, McKinsey explores how reaching net-zero emissions by 2050 could be achieved in part by the use of clean hydrogen technology and how leaders could help maximize hydrogen’s potential in the net-zero economy
For hydrogen to become a pivotal player in the energy transition, scale-up over the next decade is critical. Policy makers and business leaders can consider actions in three key areas:
For hydrogen to become a pivotal player in the energy transition, scale-up over the next decade is critical.
• Creating demand. Companies could play a role by pursuing industry-wide transition commitments while policy makers could create incentives—for instance, by introducing direct support mechanisms and mandating quotas or targets.
• Developing infrastructure. Up-front investments are required to develop large-scale infrastructure that enables distribution, such as pipelines and refueling infrastructure.
• Scaling up production. Hydrogen demand will reach mass-market adoption only when low-cost clean-hydrogen supply is available. This will require a scale-up in electrolysis capacity and accompanying renewable-energy capacity, as well as the build-out of carbon capture, utilization, and storage infrastructure. The sooner these investments in gigascale production are made, the earlier hydrogen will reach cost competitiveness.