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Hong Kong turns to green energy

Eco Expo AsiaGreen energyGreen industry

Hydrogen fuel wins favour, as the city maps its route to carbon neutrality by 2050.


As Hong Kong sets out its plans to decarbonise by 2050, hydrogen is drawing strong interest as the way to store, transport and deploy clean energy.

Addressing a networking luncheon in the run-up to October’s Eco Expo Asia, Hong Kong SAR Secretary for Environment and Ecology Tse Chin-wan said Hong Kong was backing large-scale development of hydrogen as a green fuel, as it can store power generated from renewable sources, such as solar.

The Hong Kong SAR Government launched the city’s Climate Action Plan 2050 in 2021, setting out the vision of "Zero-carbon Emissions · Liveable City · Sustainable Development" and outlining the strategies and targets for combating climate change and achieving carbon neutrality.

The focus is on power generation and transport, with a concerted drive to develop hydrogen as a fuel. Hong Kong launched its first hydrogen bus in February this year.

Widespread hydrogen adoption requires large-scale infrastructure and support from businesses, consumers and policymakers. In last year’s Policy Address, Hong Kong SAR Chief Executive John Lee said Hong Kong will formulate the Strategy of Hydrogen Development in Hong Kong in the first half of this year.

The Hong Kong SAR Government has also announced that it will prepare legislative amendments to govern the production, storage, transport and application of hydrogen energy, with the aim to introduce an amendment bill to the Legislative Council next year.

At the luncheon, Colin Tam, Chairman of the Hong Kong Association of Energy Service Companies, said that renewables will be pivotal in transforming Hong Kong into a low-carbon society, since power generation accounts for 68% of the city’s emissions.

Mr Tam said many commentators claim that hydrogen is very expensive and will not be viable as a transport fuel.

Estimates of the price of green hydrogen, from a Hong Kong Productivity Council and City University study last September, range between US$2.50 and US$6.80 per kilogram. For green hydrogen to become commercially competitive, cost needs to be lowered to less than US$2 per kg.

Mr Tam noted the massive decline in the cost of photovoltaic solar power generation equipment over the past 15 years. Sunlight has become the cheapest source of electricity in much of the world.

Technological advances and economies of scale could bring a similar drop in hydrogen costs. The Productivity Council study projected that the price of green hydrogen will fall below US$2 per kg before the end of this decade.

Alan Thomson, Global Energy Business Leader at engineering firm Arup, echoed Mr Tam’s comments on hydrogen costs.

The challenge was assuring consumers that there would be supply, and producers that there would be demand. Hydrogen solved the temporal and spatial challenges that renewable energy, especially solar and wind, presented, Mr Thomson stated.

Eco Expo Asia serves as a leading trade platform showcasing the latest green products, equipment and technology. Taking place from 30 October to 2 November, the next edition will spotlight start-ups, green transport and waste management.

The concurrent Eco Asia Conference will enable participants to learn about the latest green developments and opportunities via the Hong Kong platform.

Extending buyers’ sourcing journey, the HKTDC’s Click2Match business matching platform is accessible from 23 October to 9 November.

The 2023 Eco Expo attracted more than 300 exhibitors from more than 10 countries and regions and some 12,000 buyers from over 110 countries and regions. New last year was a hydrogen pavilion, featuring a range of hydrogen technologies, to promote opportunities from this clean energy source.

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