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[Report] Hydrogen across the globe

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Despite its small size, the hydrogen molecule is increasingly in the global spotlight. The race for clean hydrogen solutions has begun across Europe, Asia and North America! In this final chapter of our report on hydrogen, we take a look at its global roll-out.

Hydrogen and its applications are fully capable of rising to the immense challenges ahead of them in terms of their role in the energy transition, their potential with regard to mobility and as a new sector of the future. Here is an overview of the countries committed to this energy revolution in which Air Liquide is actively involved.

Will the first hydrogen society be Asian?

Many countries have been developing hydrogen strategies and technologies for decades. Each has its own reasons and priorities, including ensuring the country’s energy independence, promoting clean mobility, reducing CO2 emissions, or becoming a leader in fuel cells. And of the many countries targeting hydrogen solutions, Japan is one of the most advanced and a true pioneer in the field. Find out why and how in the fifth episode of the podcast “La minute hydrogène” (literally, the hydrogen minute). Click on the button below and tune in (in French only).

Other Asian countries are also acting as driving forces for hydrogen solutions: 
China has been interested in fuel cells since the 1970s as part of the country’s space research. Since then it has stepped up its efforts in this field in a bid to revolutionize mobility, in particular through the construction of charging stations for fuel cell electric vehicles. 

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While South Korea got involved more recently, it still has big ambitions, particularly in terms of hydrogen mobility. These ambitions were clearly stated in January 2019 by President Moon Jae-in with an objective of 820,000 vehicles by 2030 (including 20,000 trucks and the same number of buses), and stated again as part of country’s strategic plan aiming for carbon neutrality in the power sector by 2050. This is an essential transition for this small country, which is the fifth-largest energy consumer in the world, but where 95% of energy is imported. In addition to achieving energy independence and tackling the issue of the worrying levels of particulate matter in its towns and cities, the government intends to develop a new economy.

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North America: hydrogen mobility is booming

Asia is not the only continent developing hydrogen strategies and technologies. North America too is closely monitoring the trend, and Air Liquide is contributing to this transformation through various initiatives.

Highly committed to sustainable development and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, California has been working on an ambitious hydrogen mobility policy for several years now, in a country where oil is king and cars its queen. Air Liquide is supporting these changes, in particular in Nevada with the construction of a production site to supply hydrogen to the mobility markets of the West Coast of the United States.

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Air Liquide has constructed in Bécancour, Québec, the largest PEM (Proton-Exchange Membrane) electrolyzer in the world. Bécancour’s proximity to major industrial markets in Canada and the Northeastern United States will help ensure the supply of renewable hydrogen to these North American regions for both industry and mobility usage.

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Europe establishes a framework for the development of a European hydrogen sector

Last July, the European Commission presented a strategic plan for the development of hydrogen. Germany, the European leader in hydrogen stations, also laid out a 9-billion euro plan in June for the production of 5 gigawatts from renewable energy sources by 2030. This was followed closely by France’s 7.2-billion euro pledge in September for the development of a hydrogen-focused industrial sector, with a 6.5 gigawatts production objective. Through these initiatives, and many others notably in Spain, Portugal and Italy, the European Union seeks to assert its leading role in this field. 

There is clearly a rising interest in hydrogen mobility, which is now seen as a viable alternative to combustion engine and all-electric vehicles. A brief overview of Germany, a pioneer in the field.

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With the aim of participating in this energy transition, European countries are joining forces to offer new solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions notably through the development of hydrogen mobility for heavy vehicles: in this way, Air Liquide and the Port of Rotterdam announced the launch of a new joint initiative aimed at enabling 1,000 hydrogen-powered zero-emission trucks to connect the Netherlands, Belgium and western Germany by 2025. 

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Air Liquide will also build the first high-pressure hydrogen charging station for long-haul trucks in Europe. The station will be built as part of the HyAMMED project, which brings together industrial players, carriers and large retailers such as Carrefour, Coca-Cola European Partners and Monoprix to facilitate the transition to clean and sustainable solutions for the transportation of goods. It will primarily serve the first European fleet of eight hydrogen trucks specifically designed as part of the project. 

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Over to you!

After having read and listened to this report, can you answer the following 3 questions about hydrogen?

How many fuel cell electric vehicles does China intend to have by 2030?

China has refocused its industry and financing on hydrogen research and aims to have a million hydrogen-powered electric vehicles on the roads by 2030.

How many trucks could connect the Netherlands, Belgium and western Germany thanks to Air Liquide and the Port of Rotterdam’s joint initiative?

The aim of Air Liquide and the Port of Rotterdam is to enable 1,000 hydrogen-powered zero-emission trucks to connect the Netherlands, Belgium and western Germany by 2025.

How many gigawatts of hydrogen from renewable energy sources would Germany like to produce by 2030?

Germany, the country with the most advanced network of hydrogen charging stations in Europe, published a 9-billion euro plan in June to develop a production capacity of 5 gigawatts from renewable energy sources by 2030.

Article published on January 15, 2021