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Scaling up Hydrogen Energy

The term "hydrogen energy" describes the use of hydrogen gas as a safe and adaptable source of energy for a variety of uses. Due to its clean combustion, emitting only heat and water when used as fuel, it is considered a viable way to alleviate the world's energy problems and lower greenhouse gas emissions. The net-zero goal has spurred interest in clean energy, and hydrogen is rapidly gaining a larger market share. The energy transition commission (ETC) predicts that by 2050, the market for hydrogen energy will grow over $1 trillion annually, or 15% of all energy use.


Once hydrogen has been produced, its versatility opens doors to a multitude of applications, especially within sectors known for their environmental impact, such as transportation and the power industries. Regarding transportation, it is the promising low-carbon fuel option for shipping and aviation. Concerning power generation, hydrogen can be used for storing renewable energy. However, producing hydrogen from low-carbon energy demands a considerable investment now. IEA analysis predicted that the cost of producing hydrogen from renewable electricity could fall 30% by 2030 as a result of declining costs of renewables and the scaling up of hydrogen production. Limited infrastructure for transportation and storage remains a significant barrier to widespread adoption. Crucially, the lack of policies to promote low-emission hydrogen and tackle these challenges is a critical issue that requires immediate action.


To ensure that current restrictions do not impede the transition to sustainability, the government and private sector must collaborate. The government's role in setting research priorities, undertaking calculated risks, and enticing private investments for innovation, often through public funding, is crucial. Besides, fostering private sector involvement in research and innovation for future development is also important for future progress. One approach to lower manufacturing costs and enhance accessibility is to scale up the usage of hydrogen fuel first. The development of large-scale green hydrogen bases, the cleanest type of hydrogen production, can lead to breakthroughs in key technologies and equipment for green hydrogen and GREATer integration of the hydrogen-related innovation chain and the industrial chain. Therefore, the business sector—especially those heavy industrial emitters must take the initiative to integrate hydrogen energy in the industry and actively participate in the development of hydrogen energy pilot projects to accelerate the accessibility of the fuel.


One GREAT example of government actions is the U.S. National Clean Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap. This comprehensive initiative explores the role of clean hydrogen in achieving the nation's decarbonization goals across various economic sectors. It offers an overview of the current state of hydrogen production, transportation, storage, and consumption in the US and presents a strategy framework for achieving widespread clean hydrogen production and usage by envisioning scenarios for the years 2030, 2040, and 2050. To evaluate success across sectors, this roadmap sets forth specific goals, measurements that are driven by the market, and actionable steps. For the private sector role, Airbus– an aircraft manufacturer, has started a new demonstrator program to investigate a new architecture for the production of non-propulsive energy using hydrogen fuel cells both on the ground and in flight. An Airbus A330 that has been modified and a system test bed on the ground will be used in the flying test campaign. The whole requirement for the test campaign will be met by a production unit of renewable hydrogen that Airbus UpNext will purchase.

In the transition to a low-carbon and sustainable energy economy, hydrogen energy presents considerable promising benefits. However, to reach its full potential as a clean energy source, both public and private sectors must collaborate to address issues that are challenging to scaling up and foster research, innovation, and implementation in the industries.

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