• Hydrogen
  • Electricity Generation
  • Hydrogen Economy

Hydrogen Initiatives in Emerging Markets

Shayne Willette
Feb 14, 2020


As far as discussions go in the climate change, energy, political, and economic nexus, hydrogen’s role in decarbonization has been a tantalizing topic—and for good reason. Hydrogen’s properties allow it to permeate across different energy sectors, including electricity generation, transportation, and industry. 

While hydrogen is a global commodity, consumption is largely concentrated in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. However, lesser-developed markets are beginning to create plans and policies to integrate the element into their economies. The following is a snapshot of what some countries outside of North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific can do to advance the hydrogen economy. 


In 2019, Chile hosted its second annual Green Hydrogen for Chile’s Energy Transition conference, a gathering of experts from around the world to speed up integration of green hydrogen (hydrogen produced via electrolysis using renewable electricity) into the Chilean economy. Currently, most Chilean hydrogen is produced from natural gas and used in industry. However, Chile is aiming to use its vast solar resources (the Atacama Desert has highest long-term solar irradiance on Earth) for electrolytic hydrogen production. 

As one of the world’s largest energy importers, Chile aspires to export the fuel as well. Japan positioned itself as a potential suitor due to its energy deficit and mutual transition to greater hydrogen integration. Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry targets importing 300,000 tons of hydrogen by 2030 with a cost target of ¥30/Nm3 (equivalent to $3/kg of hydrogen), a significant opportunity for Chile.

South Africa

Back in 2008, South Africa launched its HySA program to develop its hydrogen and fuel cell capabilities. The 15-year program is nearing its end, but South Africa has made tremendous strides since the program’s inception. In July 2019, the country’s Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology noted HySA’s effect on establishing companies in the hydrogen space. Plans are currently in place to use HySA intellectual property to power over 200 homes in the rural community of KwaZulu-Natal.


Argentina has one of the most enticing renewable energy markets in the world; wind and solar are the country’s cheapest unsubsidized source of energy. In September 2019, Argentina and Japan signed a Memorandum of Cooperation to boost green hydrogen development by promoting investments and facilitating Argentina’s participation in the global sustainable energy chains.


On January 15, 2020, Turkey’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister delivered a speech focused on hydrogen, declaring it “the energy carrier of the future.” The speech was grounded in Turkey’s initiative to inject hydrogen into its gas grid toward the end of 2021 to decrease fossil fuel consumption. Most of Turkey’s hydrogen is expected to be produced from its domestic coal supply.

The Next Decade

Hydrogen's success depends on the extent to which initiatives and targets of countries are met. Hydrogen’s momentum is at its highest in recent memory, but stakeholders across the value chain must continue collaborating to reduce market barriers and overall risk to fully meet hydrogen’s potential.