“Hydrogen alone can be a multi-trillion-dollar global market in the coming decades, and industry estimates that the US could build 700,000 jobs in the hydrogen economy just by 2030,” said John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, at the US Department of Energy’s Hydrogen Shot Summit on Tuesday (August 31).
An avid supporter of green technologies, and hydrogen in particular, Kerry believes that clean hydrogen can serve as a chemical feedstock for industrial processes to help push forward the US’ decarbonisation effort.
“President Biden sent a powerful signal that the US is reasserting its leadership on global climate action. The US is already doing its part. President Biden committed the US to slashing our own emissions by at least half in 2030.
“Still, more than 90% of all future emissions will come from outside our borders. That means that in addition to reducing emissions at home, our ability to tackle the climate crisis will require America to speed the global net zero transition.
“The highest leverage way that we have to do that is through innovation, driving down the cost of critical clean technologies that can be scaled up and deployed around the world.”
Whilst he recognised that more still has to be done, Kerry explained that he has already identified two ways in which the US can fast forward the hydrogen transition. On this, he said, “First, we must deploy available technologies; those that are already cost effective, such as wind and solar power. We must deploy those as fast as we can.
He continued, “Second, we must develop, demonstrate and scale up emerging clean energy technologies. Roughly 50% of the emissions reductions that we need for a net zero emission goal by 2050 has to come from technologies that are not yet ready for commercial markets. Hydrogen is one of those technologies.”
Although mapping out the future was a large part of Kerry’s talk, it is clear that he already believes that momentum is high and many, both in the US and elsewhere in the world, are still doing their part.
“We’ve made a great deal of progress already and driving down the cost of clean hydrogen, but the fact is much more remains to be done in order to make it an affordable way to decarbonise the hardest to abate sectors of our economy.
“In my travels around the world, I can’t name a country that hasn’t expressed excitement about hydrogen. From Saudi Arabia to India to Germany to Japan, we’re setting up hydrogen partnerships around the world to advance this critical technology that every country understands has the opportunity to play a vital role in the clean energy transition.
“Why is this? Because hydrogen offers a way to bridge the gap between the clean energy technologies we have today, such as wind, solar, nuclear, hydro and geothermal power, with the vast set of end uses of energy that aren’t yet hooked up to the power grid today.
“Hydrogen is also so versatile you can produce it using clean electricity from renewables or nuclear to split water and electrolysers, and then you can use it for a myriad of purposes. Hydrogen can be combusted to produce the high temperatures, to fuel industrial processes that we rely on today and our fossil fuels, whether it’s making chemicals or building materials.”
“It is time for the US to step up and to lead by developing next-generation technologies and by producing them right here at home in order to power the world’s clean energy transition. There is nothing more important to tackling the climate crisis.”