quality and standards

Quality Infrastructure for Green Hydrogen: technical standards and quality control for the production and trade of renewable hydrogen


IRENA’s World Energy Transitions Outlook 2023 states that a combination of technologies is needed to keep the world on a 1.5°C climate pathway. By supporting the production and use of renewable-based hydrogen it is possible to advance the deep decarbonisation of the energy sector. A key driver of this energy transition is green hydrogen (GH2) which is hydrogen that is produced from renewable sources of energy. GH2 has a versatile range of applications from industry to transport – for this reason, many countries across the world are defining ambitious plans and strategies for the production, trade, and use of GH2.

To ensure the successful implementation of national and international GH2 strategies, it is of paramount importance to ensure that (i) the technology and infrastructure used to produce and transport GH2 can be monitored, measured, and validated that they perform as required; and (ii) GH2 can be traded at a global scale, whilst ensuring the sustainability and safety of GH2 production and its derivatives.

These two objectives can only be achieved when a robust quality infrastructure (QI) is established and easily accessible to all relevant stakeholders.

What is QI? consists of all activities which provide confidence that a technology will meet the expectations of consumers, investors, and other stakeholders, such as standards, metrology, testing, certification, inspection, accreditation and quality management systems.

One of the challenges for the deployment of GH2 is the perceived technical risk: the diffusion of GH2-related technologies with poor quality and safety could undermine the sustainable energy transition. Operationalising QI in GH2 production and trade activities can address this risk and at the same time spur technological improvement. A well-functioning QI can promote quality assurance and generate confidence in the market about the conformity of GH2 products, processes, and services.

To promote the importance interlinkage between QI and GH2, IRENA in partnership with Germany’s National Metrology Institute (PTB) (with financial support from Germany’s The Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development) are implementing a project entitled “Quality Infrastructure for Green Hydrogen: technical standards and quality control for the production and trade of renewable hydrogen”.

The objective of this project is to provide an analysis on the role of QI services as an instrument for a successful global production and use of GH2 and selected GH2 derivatives.

The primary outputs of the project are as follows:

  • Output 1: A roadmap on the development of the quality infrastructure to overcome existing quality, sustainability and safety challenges in green-hydrogen production and trade is defined and communicated.
  • Output 2: For at least one selected country, as result of a national stakeholder engagement process, recommendations are defined for an action plan to overcome existing quality, sustainability and safety challenges in green-hydrogen production and trade. The project will also oversee the implementation of at least one recommendation in the action plan.
  • Output 3: A global stakeholder network is established including policy makers, green hydrogen industry, QI institutions and development community.

This project aims to support policy makers across the world ensure that their priorities and targets for green hydrogen production can be met through the availability of a comprehensive QI ecosystem. The development of the roadmap from this project will provide decision makers with a technical foundation and strategic orientation on the key quality considerations that will be required for the scale up of GH2 production and trade.

To add a dimension of practicality, the project will also aim to test the proposed roadmap in a pilot country to validate the suggestions by developing a tailored action plan to address the challenges associated with GH2 production and trade.

To support the implementation of this project, IRENA and PTB will be engaging with different QI stakeholders across sectors, with the vision of creating a network that can continue the discussion on this important topic thereby ensuring long-term replicability and sustainability.

Summary of “QI for GH2” findings from Desk Research Study Report

Summary of Survey Results Responses from Desk Research

21 June 2022 Workshop Minutes on Quality Infrastructure for Green Hydrogen

21 June 2022 Workshop Quality Infrastructure for Green Hydrogen PowerPoint Slides