Green hydrogen to spur platinum demand by 2030

Hydrogen applications could account for as much as 9% of platinum demand, exceeding 650,000 ounces a year, according to Bloomberg Intelligence research

Green hydrogen technology's growth could boost platinum demand by nearly 700,000 ounces a year by 2030, potentially doubling to 1.7mn ounces by 2035, according to Bloomberg Intelligence research.

Based on a moderate adoption scenario, it found the platinum market could be in a 300,000-ounce annual deficit by 2030. 

Hydrogen applications could account for as much as 9% of platinum demand, exceeding 650,000 ounces a year by early next decade, a more than tenfold increase from 65,000 ounces in 2021.

Green hydrogen production and storage, electricity production from hydrogen, and road and marine applications may set the pace. Road transport has potential to be the largest demand source, accounting for about 50% of overall hydrogen-related demand.

Marine transport's contribution may be low this decade, but may eventually account for 20% of hydrogen-related demand by 2035.

Iridium, a by-product metal, is a vital part of electrolyzers. Demand for it could increase 35% by 2030 from 2021 levels.

Fuel-cell electric vehicles 'best placed' for heavy payloads

Fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEV's) may be best-placed for long-range or heavy payload applications, which require rapid refueling due to hydrogen's superior energy density versus batteries.

Hydrogen-fueled vehicles can achieve much longer ranges than pure battery-electrics per unit of weight of the vehicle's energy storage capacity. In a scenario where FCEV market share in the heavy- and medium-duty segment reaches 7%, the combination of a thrifted loading of 0.13g of platinum a kw alongside a greater proportion of 300-and-greater kw trucks in the sales mix could push platinum demand to 350,000-400,000 ounces by 2030.

Marine transport demand could reach 70,000 ounces annually by 2030 before accelerating to 300,000 ounces by 2035.

Though the mature Alkali-Water Electrolysis (AWE) route for green hydrogen production may retain market share leadership due to its lower capital cost, Proton-Exchange Membrane (PEM) electrolyzers are highly responsive to changes in load, and can operate efficiently at low part-loads.

This makes the technology ideal for operating in tandem with renewable power. Furthermore, hydrogen is produced under pressure, and on the "dry" side of the cell, making the hydrogen more suitable for direct use applications.

Capital costs of around $400 a kw for the PEM technology could fall closer to the current $270 a kw for a 1MW stack as PGM loadings are reduced.

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