Hydrogen 2.0 and Climate Change

By Traver Kennedy, Chairman and CEO on March 02, 2016
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A change in climate at the Oscars

“Climate change is real.” That is how Leonardo DiCaprio chose to use his few seconds in the spotlight when the eyes of nearly a billion people were on him. In his Oscars’ acceptance speech on Sunday night, he went on to say, “It is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.”


When listening to DiCaprio’s plea on such a heavily-watched show, many viewers may have wondered: How far are we from tackling this issue? 

Discourse at all levels has started to move us toward concrete actions. Just last December, a historic accord was reached by 195 countries in Le Bourget, France. The resulting “Paris Agreement” is the first globally inclusive pact to fight climate change, calling on the world to collectively cut and then eliminate greenhouse gas pollution (GHG).

Innovation as a deal-maker

Although it’s not obvious, this change in geopolitical attitude from mere talk to serious, binding action is being fueled by innovation. The fact that the Paris Agreement happened after previous attempts failed is evidence that technological breakthroughs are enabling countries on all sides—developed and developing—to see viable alternatives to hydrocarbon-based energy sources without long-term, painful compromises. Thus, a commitment to the carbon emission goals required by the treaty was no longer seen as a road to economic catastrophe.

Every day, innovators work hard to actualize the energy alternatives that made the Paris Agreement possible. Solar panel installations are soaring, wind adoption is growing, and innovative entrepreneurs in many industries are closer to making the promise of a clean planet possible. Even on the consumer front, innovation is leading the way to no-compromise everyday living—think Nissan Leaf, Volt, Prius and Tesla, for example.

You know what painful compromises mean. Until just a few years ago, extracting oil and gas were easy. Find the source, dig a hole, pump it out or carve it off, and ship it. That is the primary reason these energy sources were universally adopted. They were cheap, reliable and plentiful. But then, easy-to-mine sources became more difficult to find. Fracking, one of the most Earth-damaging extraction methods ever devised, had to be invented to finesse oil and gas out of rocks and sands. Moreover, the economies of China and India grew so much that pollution levels from coal and oil became unsustainable. Just a few months ago, China implemented, for the first time ever, two days of “Red Alert” in its capital—meaning it was too toxic to breathe outdoors without a mask.

Meet Hydrogen 2.0

Leonardo DiCaprio is right on. The change that the world needs is still elusive. Taken together, clean sources of energy amount to a significant change, but not the transformative change that the world is seeking. We need fuel sources that can compete alongside hydrocarbons and represent clear and easy ways to reduce carbon emissions without painful compromises. The countries who negotiated the Paris deal are counting on them.

Breaking the century-old monopolistic hold that hydrocarbons have enjoyed can only be done by tapping into a source of energy that is as plentiful and as affordable as oil and gas. It also needs to be done by leveraging the world’s existing liquid fuels infrastructure. Even so, the way to tackle climate change is not to suddenly replace everything. Rather, it is to offer solutions that complement all other energy sources so that market forces and innovation take us to a sustainable world at a pace everyone can afford.

Hydrogen 2.0 is one of the innovative answers to calls like the one DiCaprio made at the Oscars. It offers a no-compromise energy source for our society. Hydrogen 2.0 is the transformational, localized production of hydrogen energy at the point-of-use―safely, affordably and with no carbon emissions. It is based on efficient extraction technology to produce hydrogen gas from water on-demand, where and when it is needed. Best of all, Hydrogen 2.0 is designed to co-exist with traditional fuels. Specifically, it is designed to leverage the existing transportation and storage infrastructure. Hydrogen 2.0 can even make existing fuel sources—whatever they may be—burn cleaner and more efficiently.

At Joi Scientific, we champion Leonardo DiCaprio’s appeal to work together “for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people out there who would be most affected by this.” The time for abundant and clean energy that everyone can afford—especially our planet—is upon us.

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Photography courtesy of Silicon Valley entrepreneur and photographer Christopher Michel.


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