During the summer of 2023, following his initial research on monitoring hydrogen transport and storage systems, Tim ten Brundel investigated what data exchange can be expected within the developing hydrogen market. Tim examined the characteristics, challenges, data needs and requirements of different types of hydrogen stakeholders. In more than 20 interviews, he conducted discussions with (future) hydrogen market parties, collaborative platforms, research institutes and government institutions. The main goals of this research include gaining valuable insights into the necessary data exchange within the evolving hydrogen market and better understanding the different market dynamics, parties and their associated operations within a future renewable energy system.

What follows is the first of two articles detailing the findings in his white paper “What essential data exchange can be anticipated in the evolving hydrogen market?”

Hydrogen often is recognized as crucial in a future renewable energy system. This envisioned system must match energy demand and supply over time, considering different energy carriers' availability, price levels and emissions intensity.

Flexibility is expected to become an essential operational requirement within this energy system. Due to dependencies on various discontinuous energy sources, balancing the energy system will become significantly more complex over time.

Practically, this balancing can be done on a national and international scale, whereas also within national regions renewable energy can be both produced and consumed.

Hydrogen & energy transition

The envisioned hydrogen market will not stand on its own. Commonly named functions related to the energy transition are assisting an overloaded electricity system, a means to transport renewable energy over longer distances, and a way to enable hard-to-abate sectors to use renewable energy.

Energy and utilities executives cited the energy transition and the drive to carbon neutrality as their top business priority in our 2023 Voice of Our Clients global research

Within the expanding hydrogen market, extensive investments need to be made, which currently necessitates many evolving bilateral contracts. However, to grow into a mature hydrogen trading market, there are several identifiable requisite developments, including the exchange of data on how hydrogen is moving from production to consumption.

Hydrogen data exchange

Regarding future hydrogen system operations, there needs to be coordination with other identified energy markets across different timelines. For example, in smaller regions, hydrogen supplier and consumer data could be available on shorter timeframes, leading to more precise balancing.

Within the evolution of a hydrogen trading market, a significant challenge includes real-time data sharing across market parties. Drawing on past examples, there is a soloistic focus on energy.

Due to the expected discontinuity in the supply of energy from renewable sources and constraints of the current electricity infrastructure, change is needed to keep balancing the energy system. Next, there is the need for data exchange related to the alignment between regional hydrogen initiatives and realizing a hydrogen trading market over time.

Hydrogen parties’ characteristics & data needs    

Within this introduction to the white paper, and further detailed in the upcoming second installment, we will focus on different hydrogen market roles, their characteristics and associated data needs. The statements made within the paper are based on a wide range of conversations with hydrogen market parties, industry collaboration platforms, research institutes and governmental institutions. Respectively, we will focus on hydrogen trading, production, transportation, storage and consumption.

Hydrogen trading

Global hydrogen trading often is identified as a significant driver of future energy balancing. Currently, national governments are establishing diplomatic partnerships to trigger international hydrogen streams. However, these partnerships are often voluntary, which means that companies themselves need to arrange global hydrogen streams in the years to come.

Global hydrogen trading standards, like the upcoming United Nations guidelines, are seen as crucial requirements. Explicitly, clearance is needed on how to mark the emissions intensity of hydrogen produced and consumed, since the color spectrum cannot capture all emissions of hydrogen production and the steps within its supply chain.

Focusing on the related data needs, besides demand and supply data, the price levels of hydrogen in different countries are recognized as essential to mutually share. Indirectly, weather forecasts and renewable energy price levels in specific countries are needed to estimate the impact on the future amounts of hydrogen to be produced, and the applicable price levels.

Learn more about the outcomes of this research in Part Two, ‘How the exchange of data could impact hydrogen production, transportation, storage and consumption.'