BP, one of the world’s largest oil giants, presents its vision on the future of hydrogen in its recent report titled “Energy Outlook 2023.”
While the report highlights the limited role of hydrogen in decarbonizing light vehicles, it emphasizes the fuel’s importance for industries, aviation, and maritime transport. BP’s updated report explores the pathways to achieve zero emissions by 2050. Despite being a major investor in the hydrogen sector, BP does not foresee a promising future for hydrogen-fueled cars. Instead, the company sees electric vehicles as the dominant technology for the automotive industry.
BP aligns with Renault in stating that hydrogen cars will have negligible market potential by 2050. The company firmly believes that hydrogen is not the ultimate solution for decarbonizing the automotive sector. In BP’s vision, 70% of vehicles in 2050 will be electric, with 20% still reliant on petroleum-based fuels, including a small portion powered by biofuels and natural gas. BP’s hydrogen projects are predominantly directed toward steel and chemical industries and its own oil refineries.
When it comes to medium and heavy trucks, BP recognizes hydrogen as one of the main alternatives to diesel. In BP’s “net zero” scenario, hydrogen and its derived fuels, such as ammonia, are projected to capture approximately 30% of the market. The report suggests that 50% of trucks will be powered by electric batteries, indicating that the choice between electricity and hydrogen will depend on the specific use case. Hydrogen trucks offer faster refueling and greater flexibility compared to electric trucks, making them an attractive option for certain applications.
BP’s scenarios do not envision direct use of hydrogen as a fuel in the shipping industry. Instead, the report predicts the utilization of hydrogen derivatives, such as ammonia and methanol. These fuels are expected to account for 55% of the energy share in the maritime sector by 2050, according to BP’s “net zero” scenario. Ammonia is identified as a cost-effective solution among hydrogen-based fuels, despite the challenges associated with its handling. Ongoing developments in ammonia-based technologies suggest the possibility of their future deployment.
BP estimates that hydrogen will represent only 10% of total energy consumption by 2050. The report emphasizes the importance of ammonia, methanol, and other derivatives as the primary hydrogen-based fuels, while acknowledging the handling complexities involved.