Canada has joined the more than 120 countries around the world that have committed to net-zero 2050. This is wonderful news and Canada’s hydrogen and fuel cell sector welcomes it. Net zero changes everything. No longer is it possible to rely on one or two industries decarbonizing, or switching to natural gas, or energy efficiency. Every industry and every individual must decarbonise – completely. This calls for transformation. And it calls for clean hydrogen – lots of it – produced from all of Canada’s energy resources.
Hydrogen and fuel cell products complement clean power, bioproducts and battery technology to provide a complete alternative to fossil fuels and internal combustion engines in all applications. Government and non-governmental organizations recognise that clean hydrogen energy is an essential pathway to net-zero and will account for 20-30% of Canada’s energy supply by 2050. It provides Canadians a choice that will speed the transition to net zero. And oh, by the way, it is a Canadian strength: we are the cradle of the PEM fuel cell and the world’s largest producer of clean hydrogen, with a vibrant sector selling products and services around the world and abundant low-cost energy resources to produce hydrogen for domestic use and export. So, it’s also a massive opportunity for jobs and investment.
Unfortunately, there is a distracting and misguided issue coming up in op-eds, conferences and letters to government that threatens to slow progress in hydrogen, to the detriment of achieving our critical climate change goals. I’m speaking of the “green vs. blue” debate.
Some groups assert that only certain types of clean hydrogen are acceptable – hydrogen that is produced from renewable energy or “green” hydrogen. So-called “blue” hydrogen, produced from fossil fuels with carbon management, is not acceptable – even though it can be produced with low GHG emissions. They don’t dispute that this will make clean hydrogen scarce and more expensive but feel this is somehow acceptable.
But wait, aren’t we in a climate emergency?
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