With clean hydrogen emerging as a key component in reducing emissions in "hard-to-abate" sectors like steel-making and the chemical industry, a better understanding of its water footprint is becoming increasingly important – particularly in water-stressed regions of the world. This report, co-authored by IRENA and Bluerisk, offers a groundbreaking analysis of the water implications of the global hydrogen industry.
The report provides an in-depth analysis of water withdrawal and consumption intensities across various hydrogen production pathways, with green hydrogen emerging as the most water-efficient clean hydrogen production technology. The findings are based on extensive interviews with industry experts and thorough literature reviews. The report also explores the projected increase in global hydrogen production and its implications for freshwater withdrawal, emphasising the importance of integrating water considerations into energy planning.
In particular, the report emphasises the need for careful consideration of water use in hydrogen production in areas facing water scarcity, to ensure sustainable and resilient energy and water sector development. By offering tailored recommendations, the report aims to guide policymakers and industry towards more water-efficient practices, ensuring a sustainable balance between meeting energy needs and conserving water resources.