The lightest and most abundant element on earth, hydrogen has the potential to decarbonize transportation systems and change the future of fuels and energy around the world.
It’s an important step forward. The transportation sector accounts for almost one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Hydrogen provides a tremendous opportunity to cut carbon emissions, as an alternative and carbon-free fuel source, it leaves behind no pollution clouds, just water vapour.
Its advantages for a clean-energy future are well recognized.
“Hydrogen has potential roles both as a fuel source and as an energy storage application,” said Christian Zinglersen, Head of the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) Secretariat). “There are tremendous opportunities for hydrogen and fuel cell technologies as part of the global clean-energy shift.”
The science for the production of hydrogen is simple. Using renewable energy such as solar, wind or even hydropower, the oxygen and hydrogen molecules within water are separated out. The hydrogen can then be directly used in fuel cells to generate electricity, drive vehicles or power an electrical grid.
And there’s no better time to harness this clean, cheap, abundant energy source. “This is a crucial moment for hydrogen,” says Zinglersen. “Governments are recognizing the role hydrogen can play in decarbonization, and investors are recognizing the value it can bring worldwide.”
Major urban areas are already taking action. Canada’s largest city, Toronto, announced a hydrogen feasibility study to explore a hydrogen-powered rail system, while Germany is already onboard with the commercial launch in 2018 of Alstom’s Coradia iLint, the world’s first passenger train based on hydrogen technology.
The future of hydrogen will be a main topic at this year’s CEM10/MI4 ministerial meetings in Vancouver from May 27 to 29, when Energy Ministers from 25 countries will convene to discuss the challenges and opportunities of a clean energy future. CEM/MI will see the launch of a new Hydrogen Initiative that will focus on opportunities for hydrogen commercialization across all sectors of the economy.
Want to learn more?