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Hong Kong puts hydrogen on road

Green energyGreen industry

Government charts course for renewable energy transport and storage through the gas in cooperation with mainland.

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The SAR Government this week released a detailed Strategy of Hydrogen Development in Hong Kong, detailing efforts to boost the role of the gas as a way to store and transport renewable energy.

Secretary for Environment & Ecology Tse Chin-wan previewed the strategy release earlier this year, at a networking luncheon in the run-up to the Hong Kong Trade Development Council’s Eco Expo Asia.

Outlining the newly published strategy, Mr Tse Chin-wan said hydrogen energy is regarded as a low-carbon energy with development potential as the world strives to phase out fossil fuels and accelerate energy transition to tackle the challenge of climate change.

Mainland China has stated clearly that hydrogen would be an important component of the national energy system in the future, and Mr Tse emphasised that seizing opportunities brought about by hydrogen energy development can help Hong Kong strive towards carbon neutrality, develop a new quality productive force and maintain international competitiveness.

To prepare for opportunities presented by the development of hydrogen energy, the Government set up an Inter-departmental Working Group on Using Hydrogen as Fuel in 2022.

The working group has assisted in formulating interim standards for hydrogen applications in Hong Kong and has given agreement-in-principle to 14 projects.

Such projects, including cross-boundary hydrogen transportation, supply facilities, as well as applications in transport, construction sites and remote areas, have commenced progressively.

Having reviewed various considerations, the SAR Government has formulated the hydrogen strategy to address the technical challenges in six key areas – safety, suitable technologies, infrastructure, cost effectiveness, capacity building and public acceptance, as well as the unique situation of Hong Kong.

The strategy sets out four major angles – improving legislation, establishing standards, aligning with the market and advancing prudently to create an environment conducive to hydrogen energy development.

Mr Tse hopes Hong Kong will be able to capitalise on opportunities brought about by the recent developments of hydrogen energy in different parts of the world, especially the mainland.

The strategy can also help Hong Kong broaden its co-operation with the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and even the world, integrate into the country’s overall development, and develop a new quality productive force.

Under the hydrogen strategy, the Government will introduce legislative amendments in the first half of next year to provide a legal basis for regulating the manufacture, storage, transport, supply and use of hydrogen used or intended to be used as fuel.

The strategy also specifies that the Government will formulate the approach for certifying a hydrogen standard that aligns with international practices by 2027.

The Government will also promote regional co-operation, investment outside Hong Kong, development or importation of hydrogen through joint ventures; promote Hong Kong as a demonstration base for hydrogen energy development in the country; facilitate the development of the hydrogen industry in the Belt & Road region and promote business opportunities arising from hydrogen energy development to overseas and Mainland potential enterprises and talent.

The Working Group will examine and approve trial projects, co-ordinate the development and continuous enhancement of the relevant technical standards and guidelines for hydrogen applications. The group will also advise on the pathway for wider application and commercialisation of hydrogen projects, support infrastructure developments and capacity building for hydrogen applications, assist in promoting the popularisation of hydrogen applications, and regularly review the implementation progress and update the hydrogen strategy.

Detailing the strategy, the Government pointed out that green hydrogen, generated by electrolysis of water using renewable sources such as photovoltaic or wind generated electricity, could store and transport this intermittent renewable energy.

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