Thirteen industry giants including Engie, the Linde Group, Air Liquide and Total have come together at Davos in Switzerland to launch the Hydrogen Council, to promote the gas as a CO2-free fuel and energy source in the first global initiative in this segment.
Hydrogen technologies are in their infancy, although Japanese shipbuilder Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI) is working with energy giant Shell to design and build the first dedicated hydrogen carriers. KHI is working on a prototype LH2 tanker, to be built at its Kobe shipyard and is reported to have completed the front-end engineering designs.
Japan wants to import hydrogen from Australia, having pledged to convert Tokyo’s taxi fleet to run on this cleaner-burning fuel in time for the 2020 Olympics. Australia will derive hydrogen from gasified brown coal.
The Hydrogen Council will promote the gas “as a versatile energy carrier… [that is] among the key solutions of the energy transition”. Its members are:
Member companies have pledged to step up investment in developing and bringing hydrogen and fuel cells to market. Current investment amounts to some €1 billion (US$1.1 billion) a year, the council said. They have set out their objectives in a report, How Hydrogen Empowers the Energy Transition.
The council will be led by two co-chairs, starting with senior officials from Air Liquide and Toyota, to represent different geographies and sectors.
Air Liquide chief executive Benoit Potier said: “The 2015 Paris Agreement to combat climate change… requires business action to be taken to make such a pledge a reality. The Hydrogen Council brings together some of the world’s leading industrial, automotive and energy companies with a clear ambition to explain why hydrogen emerges among the key solution for the energy transition.”
Thus far, delivery of hydrogen has been confined to purpose-built pipelines and limited volumes delivered by truck.