Pierre-Etienne Franc: Hydrogen unavoidable for a successful energy transition

Pierre-Etienne Franc: Hydrogen unavoidable for a successful energy transition

At a time when hydrogen technologies are gaining unprecedented momentum and support from governments and industry, hydrogen took centre stage at the recent G20 Summit in Japan.

For the first time ever, hydrogen was on the agenda for several ministerial-level sessions at the annual meeting of the world’s most powerful leaders, held this year in Osaka, Japan.

The group of 20 nations (G20) is an international grouping made up of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union (EU), France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK and the US.

At the invitation of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI), the Hydrogen Council participated in official G20 events designed to elevate the benefits of a hydrogen economy and chart a path forward for those at the highest levels of government.

Dedicated to coordinating collaboration between industry, investors, and policymakers, the Hydrogen Council advocated for immediate action as the most viable way to achieve a successful energy transition.

And, to show the world what action looks like, the Hydrogen Council hosted a packed session with industry, investors and government officials to discuss the innovative financing schemes necessary to increase development and deployment of real-world hydrogen projects around the globe.

“The reality is that hydrogen today is seen more and more in many countries as a critical vector for the energy mix evolution, and that hydrogen is unavoidable for a successful energy transition,” Pierre-Etienne Franc, Hydrogen Council Co-Secretary, told H2 View.

“One of the most interesting fact was that this is the first time that hydrogen energy has been an official subject during a G20.”

Franc said this has enabled three key areas of hydrogen’s potential and future implementation to be unlocked:

  • The presentation of the IEA landmark report to analyse the current state of play for hydrogen and to offer guidance on its future development. This study, the first-of-its-kind, calls for a strong policy action to develop concerted plans and harmonised regulations. The final speech of this presentation delivered by Benoit Potier, Air Liquide CEO and Hydrogen Council Co-Chair, highlighted that hydrogen is not a dream nor a fantasy but something manageable.
  • The organisation of official G20 events designed to elevate the benefits of a hydrogen economy and chart a path forward for those at the highest levels of government, showing that G20 leaders are publicly supporting the hydrogen deployment.
  • A roundtable between actors from the industry and a large spectrum of investors: this was the first time that all parties collaborated actively in such an even, showing that most investors believe that their investment strategy needs to take climate change into account.

“Another effect of hydrogen being part of the official topics during the G20 was increased visibility and traction of hydrogen in trade and national media, as well as on social media,” Franc continued.

“The G20 Ministerial on Energy Transitions and Global Environment for Sustainable Growth published a Communique pleading to ‘step up existing international efforts to unlock the potential of hydrogen as a clean, reliable and secure source of energy including cooperation in research and development, evaluating hydrogen’s technical and economic potential, cost reduction pathways and addressing the various challenges including regulations and standards.’”

Most recently the G20 Osaka Leaders’ Declaration was published which also touted the potential for hydrogen: “Recalling the G20 Ministerial Meeting on Energy Transitions and Global Environment for Sustainable Growth Communique, we acknowledge the role of all energy sources and technologies in the energy mix and different possible national paths to achieve cleaner energy systems. We also recognise opportunities offered by further development of innovative, clean and efficient technologies for energy transitions, including hydrogen.”


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