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Industry Leaders and Policymakers Must Act Together and Now to Build a Clean Energy Future    

To successfully scale the clean hydrogen ecosystem, three things are needed – strong policy to incentivize businesses and consumers to adopt clean hydrogen being one of them. Eric Guter, Global VP, Hydrogen, discusses the role of policy.    

In recent months, our planet has continued to experience the real-world impacts of climate change. In North America alone, it’s ranged from prolonged periods of record temperatures, to intense wildfires in Eastern Canada, to strong tropical storms impacting communities along the eastern seaboard, to Southern California’s first hurricane in more than 80 years. In all, the United States experienced a record 23 climate disasters so far this year that each caused over $1 billion in damages, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The increase in the volume and intensity of these weather events is the latest and clearest sign of the importance and urgency of addressing the issue of climate change.   

The time to act is now.

Every ton of carbon dioxide that is abated or captured today will have an exponential benefit in the years to come and for all generations. The good news is that industry and government leaders together recognize the issue and are taking aggressive steps to develop clean energy solutions to meet our collective energy needs to build a better, cleaner world for future generations. 

A key element of those efforts is the growing consensus that hydrogen is an essential part of that clean energy future.

Hydrogen is a simple and versatile molecule. It can be used to fuel vehicles for zero-emission transportation or power historically emissions-intensive industrial processes like cement and steelmaking. 

Currently, fossil fuels make up about 80 percent of the world’s total energy consumption, according to the International U.S. Energy Information Administration. Using hydrogen to decarbonize hard-to-electrify sectors such as heavy-duty transportation and industry can lead to a 20 percent reduction in global emissions, according to a 2022 Hydrogen Council report.

To successfully scale the clean hydrogen ecosystem, three things are needed – strong policy to incentivize businesses and consumers to adopt clean hydrogen, large scale buildout of clean energy and infrastructure, and an increase in hydrogen ready technologies, such as the production of hydrogen fuel cell trucks, buses, trains, and ships, in the case of the transportation sector.

As the world’s largest producer of hydrogen, Air Products has made a significant commitment to increase production of clean hydrogen around the globe, pledging more than $15 billion in clean energy hydrogen megaprojects by 2027, like our net-zero hydrogen energy complex in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and our clean energy complex in Louisiana, United States. 

The future climate benefits from these clean hydrogen facilities are important, real, and verifiable.  

But robust production alone will not ensure the success of the clean hydrogen economy. Success also requires governments around the world to build on the momentum and create strong policy that incentivizes clean hydrogen production and the adoption of end-user hydrogen-powered technology.

Meeting current and future end-user demand will require a significant increase in the number of heavy-duty hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the marketplace. More must be done to encourage vehicle manufacturers to develop hydrogen fuel cell trucks, buses and trains to get these vehicles to market quickly.

As transportation companies and private industry work to meet their individual sustainability goals to reduce their carbon footprint, the need for zero-emissions transportation will continue to grow. To demonstrate our commitment to this transition, Air Products has committed to converting our global fleet of approximately 2,000 trucks to hydrogen fuel cell zero-emissions vehicles. 

Industry and government leaders will gather in Washington, D.C. next week at the 3rd Hydrogen Americas Summit, to continue the conversation on building a successful and sustainable hydrogen economy. Next week’s event is also an opportunity to build momentum leading up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 28) in Dubai later this year.

Right now, we are at an inflection point in history. Every step we take today will ensure a cleaner, more sustainable future tomorrow and for generations to come.