The International Energy Agency's (IEA) flagship publication, Energy Technology Perspectives 2012 (ETP 2012) - Pathways to a Clean Energy System, for the first time dedicates a chapter to a far-reaching examination of hydrogen use in the future global energy mix, concluding that hydrogen could play an important role in a low-carbon energy system.
The transportation sector is pivotal to realizing this outcome: deployment of hydrogen powered Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles (FCEVs) could reduce CO2 emissions significantly, helping to limit average global temperature increase to 2ºC, the agreed UN target. An increasing role for hydrogen could help avoid over-reliance on other uncertain low-carbon energy sources.
Policy-wise, ETP 2012 makes the case for sharp increases in funding of Research, Development, Demonstration and Deployment for hydrogen and FCEVs. The IEA argues that if the cost of a full hydrogen/FCEV system could be cut by a few percent through stronger R&D and demonstration programs, this investment would yield high returns in a sustainable energy future, paying for itself many times over. Without hydrogen, it may not be possible to eliminate fossil fuel in transport and industry in the longer term, post 2050.
For more information on the key findings of the ETP 2012 Hydrogen chapter, please visit The International Energy Agency Hydrogen Implementing Agreement website.