America’s energy landscape is constantly changing, and the United States is in a position to steer the direction of this shift. Hydrogen offers a special opportunity for the U.S. to harness the power of a clean energy future by investing in hydrogen as a clean and efficient energy alternative. It’s time for America to put hydrogen at the forefront of its energy strategy.
Hydrogen, the world’s most abundant element, has various clear-cut advantages that make it a fascinating alternative to conventional power sources. When produced with fuel cell technologies, an important factor in hydrogen production, its use results in zero greenhouse gas emissions and carries the potential to revolutionize America’s infrastructure with its high efficiency and zero-tailpipe-emissions operation.
Not to mention, its economic benefits are nothing short of impressive. An analysis by the Hydrogen Council suggests that by 2050, the hydrogen sector could generate as much as $2.5 trillion per year worldwide and provide employment for more than 30 million people. For a country that values job creation and economic growth, these figures are certainly enticing.
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America’s oil and gas industry should not view this as a threat but as an opportunity. Technologies like carbon capture and other storage technology can be deployed to produce “blue” hydrogen from natural gas and reduce CO2 emissions while continuing to utilize our abundant natural gas resources. This strategy would allow America to transition to cleaner energy while simultaneously preserving millions of jobs in a sector that many Americans depend on.
The development of a vigorous hydrogen sector can supercharge the U.S. manufacturing industry. The growing demand for fuel cells and related infrastructure could spur innovation and job creation in this sector. Since the U.S. remains dependent on foreign countries for much of its oil needs, the geopolitical benefits of hydrogen energy are noteworthy in order to reduce this dependence and further strengthen America’s national security.
The global race to channel the power of hydrogen is already on. American competitors such as China, Europe and Japan have all created hydrogen strategies and poured billions of dollars into research and development. With its high-level renewable energy goals and massive industrial foundation, China has utilized hydrogen as a significant component of its energy strategy, announcing plans to have at least one million drivable fuel cell vehicles by 2030 and is rapidly building out the necessary infrastructure to make this initiative a reality.
Europe is also making identical strides. The European Commission released an extensive plan that includes a vision to install at least 6 gigawatts (GW) of renewable hydrogen electrolyzers in the European Union by 2024 to produce up to ten million tons of renewable hydrogen by 2030.
Similarly, Japan showcased its commitment to a hydrogen future during its hosting of the 2020 Olympics by powering the Olympic Village entirely with hydrogen energy. What’s more, the country is making strategic investments to make hydrogen one of its primary energy sources by 2050.
In this increasingly competitive sector, America cannot — and should not — sit on the sidelines and be a spectator. In the interest of economic competitiveness, national security, and environmental responsibility, the U.S. must invest in hydrogen R&D and build a secure hydrogen apparatus. The vision for America’s future should enhance energy security and independence. By investing in hydrogen energy, we can achieve these goals while also contributing to a cleaner and more sustainable environment.
It is crucial that America accelerates its hydrogen initiatives, especially considering the pace at which other nations are advancing. An arranged national strategy, involving substantial investment and a supportive policy framework, is needed to ensure America is a competitive player in the global hydrogen economy. If America does not want to be left behind in the essential race for hydrogen, policy makers must act now.