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Transforming Desalination for a Sustainable Future

Hydrogen, a remarkably versatile element, has huge potential influence across diverse industries, one of those being the desalination sector. This industry stands as a beacon, supplying life-sustaining fresh water to regions grappling with scarcity. Yet, the path to desalination is fraught with challenges, notably the voracious appetite for energy, a costly and ecologically harmful affair. It's here that hydrogen comes in.


Hydrogen can be used to power the desalination process, making it more efficient and environmentally friendly. Green hydrogen, which is produced using renewable energy sources, can be used to power the desalination process. According to a study by Roland Berger, the burgeoning green hydrogen sector could necessitate a modest 250,000-500,000 cubic meters (m³) per day of desalination capacity by 2030. This figure could skyrocket to an astounding 10-20 million m³ per day by 2050 if the world is to meet its climate ambitions.1


Desalination companies will need to expertly navigate the emerging green hydrogen ecosystem of hydrogen consortia and policymakers. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) highlights a significant target in this journey: to limit global warming to well below 2 °C compared to pre-industrial levels. Achieving this ambitious goal hinges on a substantial increase in the demand for green hydrogen, potentially reaching up to 500 million tonnes per annum (mtpa) by 2050.2 The production of green hydrogen uses renewable electricity to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, with roughly 9m³ (9,000 litres) of purified H2O required for each tonne of H2. Desalination costs $0.70-3.20 per m³ of purified water, depending on the size and location of the plant.3


The role of desalination in meeting the increasing water demands of the green hydrogen industry is crucial. Our analysis sheds light on the anticipated major centers of green hydrogen production and, consequently, where the need for desalination services is likely to emerge. Desalination companies should take proactive steps today to gear up for the expected surge in demand and align their strategies and capabilities with the evolving needs of the green hydrogen industry.4

Hydrogen’s role in the desalination industry is crucial, and the use of green hydrogen can make the process more efficient and environmentally friendly. The desalination industry will need to adapt to the emerging green hydrogen ecosystem to meet the increasing water demands of the green hydrogen industry.



2.    Ibid.


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