Discussion paper: Water consumption of powerfuels

Demand, supply, and policy recommendations to foster environmental sustainability

Publication Date: 10/21
Format: DIN A4

Water consumption is gradually gaining more attention in the discussion on the environmental sustainability of powerfuels, as ramping up global production capacities of renewable hydrogen and powerfuels would lead to a significant water demand. An airplane flying from London to New York operated on 100% green hydrogen-based kerosene would require 550,000 litres of water for the production of said kerosene, or as much as the daily water consumption of 1,800 US citizens.

Considering that optimal production sites for green hydrogen often reside in water scarce areas, ensuring environmentally sustainable water extraction and consumption practices is imperative to ramp-up and sustain global production capacities. However, European legislation is currently lacking concrete sustainability criteria for water consumption for the production of powerfuels.

To add to the discussion on this issue, this paper offers an analysis of both water demand for the production of powerfuels and water supply in potential powerfuels-producing regions. It contextualises the relevance of sourcing water sustainably for the market ramp-up of powerfuels by quantifying water consumption for hydrogen production, and outlining approaches to mapping regional water availability globally. In addition, it provides specific policy recommendations to foster sustainable water consumption and avoid water stress.