How does hydrogen help renewables?

Sun, wind, biomass, tides, waves and geothermal heat: the earth is its own powerhouse of energy and is in perpetual, plentiful supply. We have to unlock the full potential of renewable technologies by investing in their unlimited capacity to produce hydrogen so they can be used in abundance.

Our power will increasingly come from renewable energy

Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius will require a dramatic increase in the use of renewable electricity, 23% in 2015 of energy used to 68% in 2050 according to the IEA. Nearly every country has agreed to take major steps to increase their renewable electricity share, which will mean massive change for the 2.9 billion people still relying on wood, coal and charcoal for cooking and heating homes. Or the one billion people still lacking access to electricity, while a further one billion have an unreliable supply. Increasing adoption of renewables will lead to cleaner air, new employment opportunities and better access to clean energy for millions of people.


Hydrogen can solve some of renewables’ biggest challenges. And top of that list is moving energy affordably to places when sun and wind are not available.

Great, so what’s the problem?

The biggest challenge with renewable energy is storage. How can we store energy when it’s too windy or for when it’s not sunny enough?

Traditional fossil-fuel plants provide a consistent and predictable amount of electricity. Without a doubt, the biggest problem with renewable energy is that it is not as reliable:

  • The energy supply could drop when it’s most needed. For example, energy output from a solar farm can drop without warning due to clouds obscuring sunlight from the panels and can vary significantly between seasons.
  • Energy supply could go too high, creating problems for the energy grid. For example, when it’s a particularly windy day, the electricity grid may not always be able to absorb excess wind power.

Hydrogen is one of the technologies to help with storage:

Renewable energy can be used to power the electrolysis of water, a chemical reaction that stores renewable energy by transforming it into hydrogen. The hydrogen can then be used at a time and place where its power is required.

Did you know?

Hydrogen can store excess renewable energy over days, weeks or even months. Allowing consumers to use renewable energy created even when there is no wind or sun.

Important synergies exist between hydrogen and renewable energy and can broaden the reach of renewable solutions.

how can hydrogen help store renewable energy?

Let's take a closer look at a practical example


Imagine your local supermarket has installed solar panels and wind turbines at its distribution center.

Hydrogen can be used to power the cooled storage for fresh produce at moments when there is no sun or wind.
Hydrogen-powered forklifts can be used to move goods to their storage in the distribution center and get them ready for pick-up.
Hydrogen-powered trucks can be used to transport the goods for delivery to your neighbourhood supermarket.

Advantages of hydrogen storage

Renewable hydrogen comes with clear advantages:

Hydrogen can store large quantities of renewable energy for a long time.

Hydrogen can be transported over long distances – from regions with abundant solar and wind resources (like Australia) to energy-hungry cities thousands of kilometres away.

Stored hydrogen can be used in many different ways. Hydrogen like electricity can also be used in as fuel for transport. Because it can provide heat at very high temperatures, it is also suited to power energy-intensive industries.

The future has good things in store

Renewable power will be able to provide the bulk of global power demand (86%) by 2050.