Business leaders talk hydrogen

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Business leaders talk hydrogen

Hydrogen energy will power up to 1.5 million autonomous taxis and 4 million trucks and vans by 2030, according to a McKinsey report released Thursday at the Global Hydrogen Leaders Forum.

The Hydrogen Council, organizers of the leader’s forum, unveiled some promising market predictions related to hydrogen as the next source of energy at the council’s third annual CEO event in San Francisco.

Held as a side event to the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS), more than 50 leaders of companies that are members of the council, including chair companies Hyundai Motor and Air Liquide, participated in the three-day event.

The McKinsey report titled “Hydrogen meets digital” predicted that hydrogen will emerge as a strong alternative in a future where energy demands in the ICT segment will double by 2050. General demand for energy will decrease, though, the report said.

Hydrogen is also a suitable energy source for public transportation vehicles that run on a set course and trucks used for delivery due to its high energy density and easy-to-charge battery system.

According to the report, up to 1.5 million autonomous taxis will use hydrogen as their energy source by 2030. Up to 700,000 autonomous shuttles will also use hydrogen. The report also predicted that a maximum of 4 million trucks and vans will use hydrogen energy technology by 2030.

Hydrogen fuel cells are also expected to be used in some 8,000 vertical take-off and landing aircraft.

“In energy transition, [the new energy] has to be sustainable environmentally, financially and socially,” said Yang Woong-chul, vice chairman of Hyundai Motor and co-chair of the council in a written statement released prior to the meeting. “In that sense, hydrogen will enable it.”

The McKinsey report said demand for hydrogen energy will expand from five million to seven million tons by the year of 2030. It also said the demand for fuel cell batteries will increase from 5.5 million to 6.5 million units.

The council plans to attend the GCAS meeting scheduled for Thursday, where it will unveil an initiative to completely decarbonize hydrogen used as an energy source in the transport sector.

While the conventional way of making hydrogen emits carbon, the council pledged to change the process by using electricity generated from wind power and solar energy.

The Hydrogen Council, which launched in 2017 at the World Economic Forum, includes some 33 multinational companies from a range of industries.

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