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What is low carbon hydrogen and what are bp’s hydrogen plans?

We're aiming to be a net zero company by 2050 or sooner. Learn what low carbon hydrogen is and why we believe it will play a crucial role in meeting the world’s net-zero targets
Green hydrogen, commonly defined as electrolytic low carbon hydrogen, is made by water electrolysis using renewable power such as solar or wind.
Blue hydrogen, or CCUS-enabled low carbon hydrogen, is hydrogen that is extracted from natural gas but the vast majority of CO2 produced during the process is captured and stored permanently.

What is low carbon hydrogen?

Low carbon hydrogen can either be produced by electrolysis of water powered by renewable energy or from natural gas where CO2 produced is captured and stored. Hydrogen, alongside other low carbon energy vectors such as electricity from renewables like wind and solar or biofuels, is highly versatile and will play a key role in the energy transition, decarbonizing applications in industry, energy and transportation.

Under the Net Zero scenario in the bp Energy Outlook, it is projected to provide roughly 8% of total final energy consumption by 2050. When we factor in additional hydrogen demand to generate electricity and produce fuels such as ammonia, methanol and synthetic jet fuel, total hydrogen demand could be roughly double this.


There are three main types of hydrogen production which are differentiated using colours – green, blue and grey. Green and blue hydrogen are both types of low carbon hydrogen. Grey hydrogen is produced via natural gas but without CCUS, so it has a large greenhouse gas footprint and is not low carbon.

“bp analysis shows that hydrogen could have around an 8% share in final energy consumption by 2050. When we include other hydrogen demand to produce synthetic fuels and generate power, total hydrogen demand nearly doubles. To put that into context, this would be broadly similar to the share of the global energy mix that natural gas has today.”
Felipe Arbelaez

Felipe Arbelaez, SVP, hydrogen and CCUS

Why does hydrogen matter?

Hydrogen energy matters because the world’s collective ability to reach net zero emissions by 2050 will be dependent on finding solutions to decarbonize all areas of the economy.

Low carbon hydrogen is a core technology to decarbonise applications across industry, transportation and energy, in particular in those applications hard to reach by direct electrification or lacking other decarbonization pathways. 

bp is targeting sectors where the switch to electrification will be most difficult. One of these is heavy industry – where hydrogen will play an important role in decarbonizing high-grade industrial heat processes such as those in the steel, cement, refining, and petrochemical sectors, and as a feedstock for industries (i.e., iron and steel production, and ammonia for fertilizer, methanol and refining).  Another is the transport sector – where hydrogen or fuels derived from hydrogen (e.g. ammonia, methanol or synthetic jet fuel) will provide low-carbon solutions for heavy-duty, long-haul segments of transport, including aviation, shipping and heavy goods vehicles.

bp pledges that by 2030 it aims to:

Produce at least 500 ktpa new hydrogen in core markets comprising low and ultra-low carbon hydrogen, with up to 50% ultra-low carbon hydrogen from renewable sources. Some of this new production will be used in our European refineries as a substitute for the natural-gas based SMR-grey hydrogen currently used. Have a network of more than 50 hydrogen refuelling stations dispensing low carbon and renewable ultra-low carbon hydrogen, with an initial focus in Germany and the UK.


We will publicly report progress against the pledge in bp’s sustainability report. 

What approach to hydrogen is bp calling for?

To help fulfil hydrogen’s vast potential, we believe a twin-track approach, involving both electrolytic and CCUS-enabled hydrogen, is the best way forward. This approach aligns with bp’s Net Zero Scenario within our Energy Outlook, which forecasts that virtually all hydrogen will be either electrolytic (around 70%) or CCUS-enabled (around 30%) by 2050. It will take huge support to make hydrogen a widespread reality.


CCUS-enabled hydrogen represents an important stepping-stone to scaling up the hydrogen economy, and its growth will ultimately help drive down the cost of electrolytic hydrogen. While additional renewable energy and large-scale electrolyser technology to generate electrolytic hydrogen at scale is developed, low carbon CCUS-enabled hydrogen will play an important role in allowing industries to decarbonize. CCUS-enabled hydrogen complements the intermittent renewable power that drives electrolytic hydrogen. bp is therefore calling for policy and financial support for both low carbon hydrogen technologies.

Job opportunities in hydrogen at bp

bp aims to build a leading position as an integrated low carbon hydrogen provider, capturing at least 10% of key markets by 2030. We are focusing on core markets where hydrogen is the best low carbon solution – for example, where switching to electricity will be difficult. To help us achieve all this, we’re growing the hydrogen team here at bp.

Who is investing in green hydrogen?

bp is investing in green and blue hydrogen to help grow the industry. We have been leveraging demand and creating partnerships to develop both electrolytic and CCUS-enabled low carbon hydrogen projects around the world.


In November 2020, bp and Ørsted signed a letter of intent to work together to develop a project for industrial scale production of electrolytic hydrogen at bp’s Lingen refinery in north-west Germany, powered by renewable energy generated by an Ørsted offshore wind farm in the North Sea.


bp is also planning one of the UK’s largest CCUS-enabled hydrogen production facilities, called H2Teesside. It targets 1GW of hydrogen production by 2030 and would capture and send for storage approximately two million tonnes of CO2 per year, equivalent to capturing the emissions from heating one million UK households. The project also complements bp’s role of working alongside a range of commercial partners on the Net Zero Teesside Power and Northern Endurance Partnership CCUS projects – all working towards the aim of creating the world’s first zero carbon industrial hub by 2030.


In December 2021 bp announced plans for HyGreen Teesside, a major green hydrogen production facility aiming to produce 60MWe at start up in 2025 and up to 500MWe by 2030. 


bp also announced that we were forming a strategic partnership with ADNOC and Masdar to provide clean energy solutions for UK and UAE.

Supplier registration (UK)

H2Teesside supplier registration portal