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Perspective on the hydrogen economy as a pathway to reach net-zero CO2 emissions in Europe


The envisioned role of hydrogen in the energy transition – or the concept of hydrogen economy – has varied through the years. While in the past hydrogen was mainly considered a clean fuel for cars and/or for electricity production, the current renewed interest stems from the versatility of hydrogen and the multiple roles that it can take in the transition to CO2 neutrality, where the common denominator is the capability of tackling emissions from distributed applications and complex industrial processes. However, the hydrogen economy will not materialise without strong political support and robust infrastructure design. This is because hydrogen deployment needs to tackle multiple barriers at once, including technology development for hydrogen production and conversion, infrastructure co-creation, policy and market design and business model development. In light of these challenges, we have brought together a group of hydrogen researchers that span the multiple disciplines involved to give a perspective on the status of the hydrogen economy, and on what is needed to deploy the hydrogen economy as part of the drive towards net-zero-CO2 societies. We do this by analysing (i) hydrogen end-use technologies and applications, (ii) hydrogen production methods, (iii) hydrogen transport and storage networks, (iv) legal and regulatory aspects, and (v) business models. For each of these, we provide key take home messages ranging from the current status to the outlook and needs for further research. Overall, we provide the reader with a thorough understanding of the elements in the hydrogen economy, state of play and gaps to be filled.
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Academic article


  • EC/H2020 / 691712
  • Research Council of Norway (RCN) / 271498




  • Mijndert van der Spek
  • Catherine Banet
  • Christian Bauer
  • Paolo Gabrielli
  • Ward Goldthorpe
  • Marco Mazzotti
  • Svend Tollak Munkejord
  • Nils Anders Røkke
  • Nilay Shah
  • Nixon Sunny
  • Daniel Sutter
  • J.P. Martin Trusler
  • Matteo Gazzani


  • Heriot-Watt University
  • University of Oslo
  • Paul Scherrer Institute
  • Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zürich
  • United Kingdom
  • SINTEF Energy Research / Gassteknologi
  • Imperial College London
  • Utrecht University
  • SINTEF Energy Research



Published in

Energy & Environmental Science




Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)






1034 - 1077

View this publication at Cristin