open access publication

Article, 2023

On the feasibility of direct hydrogen utilisation in a fossil-free Europe

In: International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, ISSN 0360-3199, 1879-3487, Volume 48, 8, Pages 2877-2891, 10.1016/j.ijhydene.2022.10.170

Contributors (7)

Korberg, Andrei David (Corresponding author) [1] Thellufsen, Jakob Zinck (0000-0001-6119-4572) [1] Skov, Iva Ridjan (0000-0003-4977-6371) [1] Chang, Miguel (0000-0001-7673-0622) [1] Paardekooper, Susana (0000-0001-5856-3015) [1] Lund, Henrik (0000-0002-4930-7885) [1] Mathiesen, Brian Vad (0000-0003-3917-1184) [1]


  1. [1] Aalborg University
  2. [NORA names: AAU Aalborg University; University; Denmark; Europe, EU; Nordic; OECD]


Hydrogen is often suggested as a universal fuel that can replace fossil fuels. This paper analyses the feasibility of direct hydrogen utilisation in all energy sectors in a 100% renewable energy system for Europe in 2050 using hour-by-hour energy system analysis. Our results show that using hydrogen for heating purposes has high costs and low energy efficiency. Hydrogen for electricity production is beneficial only in limited quantities to restrict biomass consumption, but increases the system costs due to losses. The transport sector results show that hydrogen is an expensive alternative to liquid e-fuels and electrified transport due to high infrastructure costs and respectively low energy efficiency. The industry sector may benefit from hydrogen to reduce biomass at a lower cost than in the other energy sectors, but electrification and e-methane may be more feasible. Seen from a systems perspective, hydrogen will play a key role in future renewable energy systems, but primarily as e-fuel feedstock rather than direct end-fuel in the hard-to-abate sectors.


Europe, abate sectors, alternative, analysis, biomass, biomass consumption, consumption, cost, e-fuels, efficiency, electricity production, electrification, energy efficiency, energy sector, energy system analysis, energy systems, expensive alternative, feasibility, feedstock, fossil fuels, fuel, future renewable energy systems, heating purposes, high cost, high infrastructure costs, hours, hydrogen, hydrogen utilisation, industry sectors, infrastructure costs, key role, limited quantity, loss, low cost, low energy efficiency, paper, perspective, production, purpose, quantity, renewable energy systems, results, role, sector, sector results, system, system analysis, system cost, systems perspective, transport, universal fuel, utilisation


  • Innovation Fund Denmark
  • European Commission