On November 15, Energy Day at COP27, the World Bank Group announced the Hydrogen for Development Partnership (H4D), a new global initiative to boost the adoption of low-carbon hydrogen in developing countries.

Low-carbon hydrogen offers a solution to decarbonise heavy industries that produce more than 25 per cent of global CO2 emissions, for which there is presently no viable alternative to fossil fuels

Low-cost, low-carbon hydrogen fuel can become a viable replacement for diesel in transportation. Hydrogen also has the potential to provide long-term energy storage options and bolster the reliability of renewable energies with variable outputs, like solar photovoltaics and wind.

H4D will help facilitate financing for hydrogen investments in the next few years, both from public and private sources. 

The partnership will foster capacity-building and regulatory solutions, business models, and technologies toward the rollout of low-carbon hydrogen in developing countries.   

Through H4D, developing countries will gain further access to concessional financing and technical assistance to scale up hydrogen projects. 

David Malpass, President of the World Bank Group, said, “Low-carbon hydrogen can have a significant role in countries seeking to accelerate their clean energy transition.

“Our new hydrogen partnership will enable developing countries to prepare low-carbon hydrogen projects and boost energy security and resilience for their people while lowering emissions.”

fuel plant

For low- and middle-income countries, low-carbon hydrogen has the potential to generate export revenues. This will lead to the creation of a value-added export sector that generates jobs for skilled labour, promoting food security, since hydrogen can be used to produce ammonia, a key component of fertilisers.  

It can also generate energy capacity to meet local needs, including decarbonising in-country manufacturing and smelting sectors, and provide energy access to remote populations.

The main activities of the H4D partnership, to be hosted in the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) of the World Bank, will include:

  • Convening international cooperation to increase the knowledge base in low-carbon hydrogen technologies for developing countries.
  • Building capacities by following a global public goods approach.
  • Understanding requirements from emerging markets and the private sector for the deployment of low-carbon hydrogen and its derivatives.
  • Creating opportunities to inform innovation and for new technologies to gain visibility.
  • Generating policy dialogue on enabling the deployment of low-carbon hydrogen across countries.
  • Fostering collaboration with private sector partners for clean hydrogen projects.