Hong Kong would benefit from a more targeted push for green hydrogen

(27 June 2024 SCMP)
To address climate threats, the Environment and Ecology Bureau recently announced a strategy for hydrogen development in Hong Kong that focuses more on the transport sector. More consideration is needed as to how decarbonise power generation.
There are mainly three types of hydrogen being produced: namely, grey, blue and green hydrogen. Their names reflect their levels of eco-friendliness. For green hydrogen, renewable energy sources are used to split water into hydrogen and oxygen via electrolysis. Blue hydrogen involves fossil fuels, but with emissions captured and stored.
Today, grey hydrogen – which involves fossil fuels without emissions captured – dominates the hydrogen market. However, its market share is expected to decline as global demand for clean hydrogen grows, amid a wider acceptance of renewable energy that could help meet net-zero goals.
Mainland China unveiled a hydrogen road map in 2016, and the world’s first hydrogen-powered tram was rolled out in Foshan in 2019. Economies such as the European Union, Australia, Japan, South Korea and the United States are also moving to develop or adopt clean hydrogen.
In Hong Kong, the authorities are still preparing to legally distinguish between hydrogen and other dangerous goods, with legislative amendment proposals to be submitted next year.
The authorities should step things up by referring to successful examples on the mainland, rather than spending resources and time reinventing the wheel.
Seeing a prosperous market ahead, the business community is acting swiftly. Towngas signed a deal with Green Valley Landfill last week to produce green hydrogen by capturing biogas from landfill.
Green hydrogen applications are wide-ranging, from industry to transport and power generation.
That our environmental authorities have given no timeline for when green hydrogen will be introduced on a larger scale is a disappointment. They can and should create demand by setting hydrogen uptake targets for at least the power and transport sectors. When there are targets, local and foreign entrepreneurs will invest in supplying this sustainable fuel.
The administration should also draw up a blueprint for developing the hydrogen economy to achieve multiple goals, such as reaching carbon neutrality before 2050 and attracting foreign investment.
Thus, the city’s economy would be boosted sustainably. What a good story of Hong Kong that would be.
Edwin Lau Che-feng, executive director, The Green Earth
Link: https://www.scmp.com/opinion/letters/article/3268087/hong-kong-would-benefit-more-targeted-push-green-hydrogen