Beefed-up definition of what constitutes green hydrogen to be expanded to biomass-derived H2 and methanol




Green Hydrogen Standard 2.0 accreditation will include option to demonstrate compliance with EU Delegated Acts


An updated version of the world’s first industry-led international Green Hydrogen Standard (GHS) that defines what constitutes renewable hydrogen is to be expanded to include whole lifetime emissions, and definitions for green methanol and synthetic methane.


The group behind the GHS, Swiss non-profit the Green Hydrogen Organisation (GH2), also plans to include parameters for hydrogen made with from biomass-fired power stations for the first time.


Dubbed the Green Hydrogen Standard 2.0, the new programme additionally hopes to smooth producers’ path to subsidy access in two major markets.


A new accreditation procedure will allow producers to opt in to demonstrate compliance with the EU’s Delegated Act rules — which demand the use of additional renewables capacity and matched electrolyser operation measured across a month — as well as forthcoming US Treasury rules, up to the existing GHS standard’s emissions threshold of 1kgCO2-equivalent (CO2e) per kg of H2 produced.


GH2 and its six industry partners, which include billionaire Andrew Forrest’s Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), plan to launch the beefed-up standard at COP28 in Dubai this November.


Central to the programme is the plan to align the existing GHS more closely with the UN’s goals of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, primarily by expanding it beyond well-to-gate emissions accounting to full lifecycle emissions, including the transport, storage and distribution of hydrogen beyond the production plant.


The current incarnation of the GHS, launched in May last year and the first standard pioneered by the green H2 industry itself, defines green hydrogen as produced by water electrolysis powered by 100% renewable energy.


The original standard allows exceptions for back-up power and desalination needs as long as overall emissions are not pushed over the GHS’s critical emissions standard of 1 kgCO2e/kg hydrogen produced over a 12-month average.


The GHS 2.0 would expand this to include the associated emissions related to transporting, storing and distributing H2 up until the point of consumption — a key step up from well-to-gate to lifecycle emissions.


It would mean that the energy needs relating to compressing hydrogen for pipeline transport, for example, would be accounted for against the full lifecycle standard.


The same would apply for trucking or shipping hydrogen, or storing it in a compressed or liquefied form. Liquefying hydrogen is extremely energy intensive, as it needs to be kept at temperatures below minus 253°C.


However, GH2 has not yet said what level it would set for the lifetime emissions threshold for green hydrogen under the new rules — noting only that it believes the EU’s equivalent standard of 3.38kgCO2e/kgH2 is “too high”.


The group is awaiting input from the intergovernmental International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE), which is currently developing a new methodology to assess full lifecycle emissions, with the expectation that the IPHE’s recommendations will be incorporated into GHS 2.0.


Should there be a delay to IPHE’s final report, GH2 will introduce some intermediary measures.


But in a briefing to its members earlier this month, GH2 expressed some anxiety that the IPHE recommendations might underestimate the emissions impact of upstream methane emissions associated with fossil-based hydrogen such as grey H2 and blue hydrogen with carbon capture and storage.


“Concerns were expressed about validating the IPHE/ISO methodology if it is too lenient on grey and blue hydrogen by not properly accounting for emissions associated with the upstream natural gas value chain (especially methane emissions) as well as robust requirements for the permanence of carbon storage,” the briefing read.


And GH2 also plans to use GHS 2.0 protocols for defining other hydrogen-derivatives such as green methanol and synthetic methane, a spokesman for the GH2 told Hydrogen Insight.


In January, the Swiss group introduced a protocol defining green ammonia as made from green H2 (defined under the GHS) and made into NH3 at an emissions intensity of just 300g/kgNH3.


And hydrogen made with biomass-fired power stations will also be included in the definition for the first time, in order to allow producers some flexibility and address some of the sustainability issues surrounding biomass in the supply chain.


Specifically, the standard will seek to set standards to minimise deforestation and food security risks associated with biomass production.


The current GHS is being piloted by GH2’s six green hydrogen partners, all of which will be collaborating on the new programme.



Hot News

FuelCellChina Interviews