Green Hydrogen Standard Committee meets to consider next steps

The Green Hydrogen Standard Committee will meet on Monday 18 March at 14:00 – 15:00 CET to discuss their 2024 work program.

Stakeholders wishing to join the Committee are invited to contact GH2 via:

A key challenge for our standards and certification work is that the vast majority of green hydrogen projects are yet to reach final investment decision (FID). We are using pre-qualification under the Green Hydrogen Standard to help early-stage projects attract funding and demonstrate to investors and other stakeholders that these projects are genuinely low carbon and designed sustainably.  

For the rest of 2024, we suggest the following priorities:

1. Develop and publish case studies of Green Hydrogen Sustainability Leadership.

Throughout 2024 we will be documenting how green hydrogen project developers are addressing sustainability challenges, e.g., on renewable electricity sourcing and grid impact assessment, water resource management, community consultation and hydrogen leakage. These issues are often neglected in hydrogen standards and certification, but are crucial for securing support from customers, investors, banks, regulators and host communities. In addition to presenting case studies to the Committee, we will publish the findings on the GH2 and GHS websites and promote best practice at upcoming events including New York Climate Week and COP 29.

2. Working toward Full Life Cycle emissions accounting, including embodied GHG emissions.

The GHS 2.0 states:

“GH2 is committed to the full life cycle analysis (LCA) of greenhouse gas emissions associated with green hydrogen production and [use], including embedded emissions. Our emissions thresholds for green hydrogen and green ammonia are currently based on a “well to gate” methodology in line with the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE 2023). The GHS also expects project operators to calculate and report on the emissions associated with the storage, conversion and delivery of hydrogen and its derivatives and encourages project operators to calculate and report on embodied emissions. … The expectation is that the boundaries of the emissions assessment framework will be widened to cover a full life cycle assessment, and that the emissions thresholds will be lowered in accordance with emerging best practice.”

This work will be challenging. There are different views on the methods that should be applied for calculating embodied GHG emissions, and a wide range of estimates for renewable electricity and hydrogen production infrastructure. We plan to draw on a number of existing studies. The G-res Tool developed through a multi-stakeholder research project led by the International Hydropower Association illustrates the kind of work that is needed, covering full life cycle emissions in an open-source format that gives investors, regulators and local communities greater confidence in the carbon footprint calculations for hydropower projects.

3. Hydrogen emissions.

We recently wrote a blog on how addressing hydrogen leakage will make green hydrogen an even better climate solution, and welcome the excellent work being done by organizations like EDF to raise awareness on these issues (see an excellent overview here). We suggest that the Working Group that formed in 2023 continues its work on best practice relating to: (1) evaluating the risks associated with hydrogen emissions, (2) develop plans to minimize emissions; and (3) establishing systems to measure and report on hydrogen emissions. We suggest that the group revisits whether to establish a maximum threshold for hydrogen emissions within the system boundary covered by the Standard.

4. Guidance on water resource management.

There is strong demand from project developers for more support and guidance relating to water resource management. IRENA recently published a report Water for hydrogen production which concludes that green hydrogen is the most water efficient hydrogen production pathway. We suggest that the Working Group continues its work on issues relating to desalination, groundwater extraction, cooling and wastewater treatment, especially in contexts where there are weakness in national regulation.

As we have done previously, we suggest that working groups are formed. In 2023, the Committee formed 6 working groups. Most of these have now completed their work (culminating in changes to the Standard), although we are open to convening further meetings if there is interest in revisiting any of these issues.