The hydrogen economy that is beginning to materialize is made possible by bold and sustained initiatives to tap the power of H2 as a source of clean energy. Around the globe, national and local governments, alongside the commercial sector, are pioneering the growing use of clean hydrogen―from transportation to electricity production. This week we focus on several efforts at the country level that are making possible the development of hydrogen applications across many sectors of the economy; specifically, we look at initiatives in the UK, Korea, and Japan.
The World Economic Forum recently published a paper entitled, “Accelerating Sustainable Energy Innovation,” that proposes a series of ‘bold ideas,’ which if implemented, can accelerate innovation for sustainable energy. Several of these ideas include the use of hydrogen power, some of which we cite in this post. The key takeaway is that we are living in the era of a major energy revolution―one where a smarter mix of sources (which includes a major role for hydrogen) will enable sustainable growth for everybody without tradeoffs between affordability, availability, and sustainability so prevalent in the past.
Next year, the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games will showcase what a hydrogen society can look like. This is one among many country-wide initiatives boosting the adoption of hydrogen energy.
Scotland and England: Making Waves When It Comes to Hydrogen
Scotland is running an interesting pilot that uses the ocean to provide the energy needed to produce hydrogen fuel. This pilot is based on the insight that, using traditional hydrogen production techniques, the energy required to produce hydrogen makes it uncompetitive. To get around this problem, an experimental energy initiative, backed by the European Marine Energy Centre, is running a trial in the Scottish island of Eday. As reported by the World Economic Forum, starting in 2017, “the project successfully used tidal power to produce hydrogen,” adding that it “was recently awarded €12 million in funding to develop a hydrogen power system for the car and passenger ferries that connect the Orkney archipelago.”
England is making its own waves when it comes to pioneering hydrogen energy. The same report by The World Economic Forum tells us about how fast fueling, which is a significant advantage of hydrogen batteries over those of electric vehicles, compelled London’s Metropolitan Police Service to begin using hydrogen Toyota Mirai cars to create a fleet of response vehicles “to make great strides towards our [London’s Metropolitan Police] ambition of procuring 550 vehicles as zero or ultra-low emission by 2020,” which is just a year away.
Korea: Deregulation Begins with the Number One Element
Last week, South Korea announced that its economy-wide deregulation initiative would start with the use of hydrogen energy. This is a culmination of what began last October when President Moon Jae-in attended a demonstration on the fueling of hydrogen cars in Paris. As The Korean Herald reported, “the hydrogen industry will be the first beneficiary of South Korea’s deregulation efforts, with the government allowing Hyundai Motor to build hydrogen-fueling stations at the National Assembly, a symbolic move in the nation’s push toward the next-generation energy.” These efforts include a plan for the production of “1.8 million units of hydrogen cars and installing 660 charging stations by 2030,” beginning this year with the production of 4,000 Hyundai hydrogen cars supported by a network of 86 charging stations.
An article by The Diplomat explains how South Korea’s economy will transition to hydrogen by focusing on “three elements: increasing the production and use of hydrogen vehicles [including taxis and buses], expanding the production of fuel cells, and building a system for the production and distribution of hydrogen.” Their country-wide initiative goes beyond transportation, as the plan includes hydrogen fuel cells for household and commercial power generation to “produce 15 gigawatts of power through fuel cells for industrial use by 2040, with 8 gigawatts for domestic industrial use.”
Japan: Home to the Amazingly Successful, and Unassuming, Toyota Mirai
The cars that the London Metropolitan Police Service is using to build their fast-charging, zero-emission fleet of vehicles is a Japanese invention. Just as Tesla Motors helped the EV car industry take a major leap forward a few years ago, Toyota launched the first commercially successful hydrogen vehicle in 2016. The World Economic Forum indicates, “The Toyota Mirai established Japan as a leader in hydrogen innovation.” These cars, which do not look any different than other Toyotas, were initially launched outside of Japan in California a couple of years ago, with the corresponding infrastructure of hydrogen fueling stations―some led by energy giants like Shell (check our previous post here for details).
No doubt Japan will make its own waves when it comes to hydrogen energy next year as the host country for the 2020 Olympics. The World Economic Forum reports that Japan “is aiming to create a hydrogen society, promoting the gas as an emissions-free energy source. Tokyo authorities plan to increase the eight existing refueling stations to 35 by 2020, so motorists will never be further than 15 minutes away from a refueling point.” Their initiative will be heavily promoted and showcased around the world.
A Strong Foundation for a Bright Hydrogen Future
The Hydrogen Economy is steadily materializing all around us, creating a strong foundation for the increasing addition of hydrogen to the energy mix of countries―and entire continents. In the case of Europe, for example, the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) released a study just last week entitled, “Hydrogen Roadmap Europe: A Sustainable Pathway for the European Energy Transition.” The study foresees “the potential for generating approximately 2,250 terawatt hours (TWh) of hydrogen in Europe in 2050, representing roughly a quarter of the EU’s total energy demand.” They add some perspective: hydrogen fuel for “roughly 42 million large cars, 1.7 million trucks, approximately a quarter of a million buses and more than 5,500 trains. It would heat more than the equivalent of 52 million households (about 465 TWh) and provide as much as 10% of building power demand.” These bold initiatives, along with countless others, demonstrate that the way to a hydrogen economy is not only possible but wide open for smart takers.
As the Hydrogen 2.0 ecosystem gains momentum, we’ll be sharing our views and insights on the new Hydrogen 2.0 Economy. We also update our blog every week with insightful and current knowledge in this growing energy field.