Working Paper

Life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of hydrogen as a marine fuel and cost of producing green hydrogen in Brazil

The International Maritime Organization is seeking to halve greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 compared to 2008 levels. To achieve that goal, cleaner alternative fuels, such as renewable electrolysis hydrogen, are crucial. Brazil is a potential renewable hydrogen producer given its abundant renewable energy sources.

This study estimates renewable electrolysis hydrogen production costs and life-cycle GHG emissions for maritime applications in Brazil. It compares life-cycle GHG emissions to that of conventional fuel marine gas oil (MGO) and among different pathways to produce, transport, store, and use hydrogen in maritime applications.

The study finds that Brazil has competitive advantages to produce renewable electrolysis hydrogen, given its lower costs compared to other regions. It also finds that Brazilian renewable electrolysis hydrogen has lower life-cycle GHG emissions than MGO; its GHG intensity is almost 80% lower than when produced by grid-average electricity. Finally, the study finds that significant climate benefits would only be achieved if hydrogen production is powered by additional renewable electricity. Therefore, policies to promote renewable hydrogen in Brazil and its use in maritime transportation are needed.

Alternative fuels