The GH2 Green Hydrogen Standard
The Green Hydrogen Organisation (GH2) launched the Green Hydrogen Standard at the Green Hydrogen Global Assembly & Exhibition in Barcelona in May 2022.
“The Standard provides certainty and transparency to investors and other stakeholders that green hydrogen is exactly that: hydrogen made with renewable electricity which conforms to the highest standards on emissions, ESG and the sustainable development goals.”
– Malcolm Turnbull, GH2 Chair
In the first global effort of its kind, green hydrogen projects that meet the Green Hydrogen Standard (“the standard”) will be licensed to use the label “GH2 Green Hydrogen” and will be eligible to obtain and trade GH2 certificates of origin for green hydrogen and derivatives such as green ammonia.
GH2’s definition of Green Hydrogen
Green hydrogen is hydrogen produced through the electrolysis of water with 100% or near 100% renewable energy with close to zero greenhouse gas emissions (<=1 kg CO2e per kg H2 taken as an average over a 12-month period).
GH2’s definition is based on the technologies that are the leading candidates for scaling up green hydrogen production: hydropower, wind, solar, geothermal, tidal, wave and other ocean energy sources. The Standard refers to “near 100% renewable energy”. There is some flexibility (e.g., for backup systems) so long as the maximum greenhouse gas emissions threshold is not exceeded.
Validating “close to zero” emissions of <1 kg CO2e per kg H2
The production of renewable electricity can involve some greenhouse gas emissions. In certain circumstances, there may be some greenhouse gas emissions associated with electrolysis and associated processes (such as water treatment / desalination). Accordingly, GH2 refers to “close to zero greenhouse gas emissions”. The Standard requires that projects operate at <=1 kg CO2e per kg H2 (taken as an average over a 12-month period).
The <=1 kg CO2e per kg H2 threshold is considerably lower than the thresholds proposed by other so-called “clean hydrogen” or “low carbon hydrogen” standards, which have significantly higher emissions threshold to accommodate hydrogen production based on fossil fuels. Green hydrogen is the only option aligned with a 1.5-degree pathway.
What GHG emissions are included?
It includes “scope 1” emissions from production, including water treatment and desalination and “scope 2” emissions from on-site or purchased renewable electricity. The Standard builds on the methodology proposed by the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE).
It is expected that project operators report on the emissions associated with the delivery of hydrogen and its derivatives. The standard also encourages project operators to report on the embodied emissions associated with green hydrogen production.
What other aspects are covered in the Green Hydrogen Standard?
The Standard requires that the environmental, social and governance consequences of green hydrogen production are addressed and requires that the development opportunities and impacts of green hydrogen production are considered. Key questions include:
- Are the social and environmental impacts of new projects fully considered?
- Does the project comply with international human rights standards and are human rights promoted where the energy is produced?
- Has a good faith effort to engage key stakeholders and communities actively been made?
- Have key stakeholders and communities been provided with the information and potential opportunities to engage that they see as most relevant and needed?
These issues are vital considerations for investors, customers, consumers and the communities that host green hydrogen projects.
The Green Hydrogen Standard booklet
Green Hydrogen Standard fact sheet
For more information, contact Sam Bartlett (firstname.lastname@example.org)