Cost-competitive green hydrogen: how to lower the cost of electrolysers?
The higher cost of green hydrogen in comparison to its competitors is the most important barrier to its increased use. Although the cost of renewable electricity is considered to be the key obstacle, challenges associated with electrolysers are another major issue that have important implications for the cost reduction of green hydrogen. This paper analyses the electrolysis process from technological, economic, and policy perspectives. It first provides a comparative analysis of the main existing electrolyser technologies and identifies key trade-offs in terms of cost, scarcity of materials used, technology readiness, and the ability to operate in a flexible mode (which enables them to be coupled with variable renewables generation). The paper then identifies the main cost drivers for each of the most promising technologies and analyses the opportunities for cost reduction. It also draws upon the experience of solar and wind power generation technologies with respect to gradual cost reduction and evaluates development paths that each of the main electrolyser technology types could take in the future. Finally, the paper elaborates on the policy mechanisms that could additionally foster cost reduction and the overall business development of electrolyser technologies.