How Green are National Hydrogen Strategies

December 8th, 2022

R&D Focus Areas:

Lead Organisation:
Australian National University (ANU) 

Not applicable  


Start date:
June 2021  

Completion date:
February 2022 

Key contacts:
Dr. Wenting Cheng:
Dr. Sora Lee: 

Part of the ANU AUD$10 million 2019 – 2023 Grand Challenge Zero-Carbon Energy for the Asia-Pacific. 
ANU College of Law’s 2020 New Research Individual Grant for open access publication 

Project total cost:
Part of the ANU AUD$10 million 2019 – 2023 Grand Challenge Zero-Carbon Energy for the Asia-Pacific 

Project summary description:
Since Japan promulgated the world’s first national hydrogen strategy in 2017, 28 national (or regional, in the case of the EU) hydrogen strategies have been issued by major world economies by the end of 2021.

This project provides an evaluation framework to understand regulatory stringency for green hydrogen: that is, to what extent national hydrogen strategies support decarbonisation pathways for hydrogen production and innovation. As carbon emissions vary with different types of hydrogen, and as green hydrogen produced from renewables-based energy can be a zero-emissions fuel/energy source, this project interrogated the commitment of the national hydrogen strategies to achieve decarbonisation objectives, focusing on the question “how green are the national hydrogen strategies?”  

An output of this project (see Cheng and Lee – 2022) was the creation of a typology of regulatory stringency for green hydrogen in national hydrogen strategies, analysing the text of these strategies and their supporting policies, and evaluating their regulatory stringency toward decarbonisation. Our typology includes four parameters, fossil fuel penalties, hydrogen certifications, innovation enablement, and the temporal dimension of coal phasing out.

Following the typology, national hydrogen strategies are categorised into three groups: zero regulatory stringency, scale first and clean later, and green hydrogen now. We find that most national strategies are of the type “scale first and clean later”, with one or more regulatory measures in place. This research identifies further challenges to enhancing regulatory stringency for green hydrogen at both national and international levels.

This framework can be helpful both for governments that already have a hydrogen strategy to review their national hydrogen strategies in (continuous) periodical reviews and in supporting the design of hydrogen strategies for jurisdictions that have yet to prepare a hydrogen strategy.  

Related publications and key links:
Cheng, Wenting, and Sora Lee. “How Green Are the National Hydrogen Strategies?.” Sustainability 14, no. 3 (2022): 1930.  

Higher degree studies supported:
Not applicable 


December 2022