This article was first published in H2 View.
By Hydrogen Council members Sam French (Johnson Matthey) and Jin Cha (Hyundai Motor)
Back in 1874, science fiction writer Jules Verne had an inspiring vision that hydrogen would one day be used as a power source. Nearly 150 years later, during a global pandemic and unprecedented natural disasters, the world seems to now be ready to embrace the potential of an energy future powered by hydrogen.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) announced in June 2019 that hydrogen is enjoying unparalleled momentum and the world should not miss this opportunity to make hydrogen an important part of a clean and secure energy future. In early 2020, South Korea announced a KRW2.6 trillion (around €1.9bn) budget to ensure it is a forerunner in hydrogen; followed by the European Union (EU) releasing its Hydrogen Strategy with investment of up to €180bn by 2050 for a climate neutral Europe. The most recent announcement came from France, who is putting a €7bn plan in place to support its decarbonised economy. And these are just some of the highlights.
But despite the enthusiasm and global recognition, the general public doesn’t always understand hydrogen. Last year, the Hydrogen Council asked consumers in China, Japan, Germany and the US if they are aware of hydrogen as a power source – and less than 13% of people were. However, once hydrogen’s power is explained to them, over 81% of respondents support enhancing its role in the energy system. This research outlines a clear disconnect between public awareness and its energy potential. In other words: when it comes to public adoption, there is support for hydrogen – but not awareness.
We’re proud to say that we’ve waved the hydrogen flag for years because of its versatility, its zero-carbon potential, its ability to store renewable energy, and to create new jobs. But it is still a ‘niche’ industry, and it’s not always easy to capture its benefits as a simple elevator pitch for the everyday person. Because hydrogen is a systemic solution, and can be used in so many ways in different sectors, it can be quite confusing and it’s not always clear where to start.
Together with the Hydrogen Council leadership, we put our heads together to address this dilemma. We considered how public awareness can be increased at a time when the world needs to be well-informed about the solutions needed to achieve climate goals.
In order to tackle this, we have launched CLIMATE CH2AMPION. Over the coming years, the campaign aims to ensure that every single person – whether a teacher, a student, a grandparent, or a busy working parent – understands hydrogen and the role it can play in making our world more sustainable and resilient for future generations.
At the heart of the campaign is the fact that you don’t need to be a scientist or an energy expert to understand why a global energy transition is needed now, and why hydrogen will play a critical role. Every person who ever wanted to be a climate champion but didn’t know how, can support the clean energy revolution. By joining a movement of like-minded people, it will enable us to raise the bar for governments and industries to ensure that efforts and investments are put towards clean solutions for manufacturing plants, transport, and more. After all, our future depends on cleaning up our act.
The CLIMATE CH2AMPION information hub provides people with easily digestible facts and information about hydrogen, how it works, how it can help unlock the full potential of renewable energy, how it benefits manufacturing, and how this will ultimately support emission reductions and climate goals.
Today, as governments are developing economic recovery plans that will have ripple effects for generations to come, it’s time for everyone to be a CLIMATE CH2AMPION. We hope you’ll join us in getting friends, family and people we know on board.