China, the second largest economy in the world, has become the world’s largest producer and consumer of energy. The country depends heavily on fossil fuels, and so is also the largest emitter of greenhouse gases and has been seriously affected by air pollution.
To help resolve the problem, China is turning to hydrogen. Hydrogen can be produced from various renewable energy resources and has zero emissions after combustion. Greater use of hydrogen as a power source may help address China’s energy concerns.
To help advance a hydrogen-powered economy, several barriers first need to be overcome. Currently there is a lack of economically-viable and environment-friendly methods to produce, store, and transport hydrogen; there is a need to expand the hydrogen refilling infrastructure and applications; more targeted policy and regulatory frameworks for hydrogen-based technical solution must be developed; and the public’s awareness and knowledge on hydrogen needs to be increased.
With help from UNDP, the Government of China aims to establish a hydrogen economy “demonstration city” by piloting the use of hydrogen-based solutions in industry, transportation, and power. The project would address each of the concerns mentioned above.
The project will establish a replicable model of a hydrogen-powered city and demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of various hydrogen-based clean technology solutions. If successful, the project may just transform how the Chinese economy can develop financially and be environmentally sustainable.