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International trade and green hydrogen: Supporting the global transition to a low-carbon economy

This joint report by IRENA and the World Trade Organization (WTO) provides insights on current and future green hydrogen trade dynamics, and outlines key policy elements that can advance the development of green hydrogen markets.


By complementing renewable electrification and contributing to the decarbonisation of heavy industry, shipping, aviation and other key sectors, green hydrogen could play a pivotal role in limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C.

IRENA estimates that hydrogen and its derivatives would satisfy 14% of global final energy demand by 2050 in its World Energy Transitions Outlook 1.5°C Scenario. To achieve this, total hydrogen production must increase more than five-fold from current levels to 2050.

The scale-up of green hydrogen as a decarbonisation vector will require massive deployment of renewable power and electrolyser capacity, requiring the development of new supply chains. This will have significant implications for international trade of renewable hydrogen and related commodities, as well as trade in associated equipment and services along the value chain.

This publication, jointly produced by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the World Trade Organization (WTO), explores how trade policies can support the development of green hydrogen. It maps trade-related challenges within the hydrogen supply chain, assesses potential global trade scenarios, and provides concise recommendations for policy makers to scale-up green hydrogen-related markets.