Authorities indicate gradual phase-out of traditional fuels as hydrogen energy trials and regulations are implemented in various locations

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Tse Chin-wan

19th June 2024 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong’s government recently unveiled the “Strategy of Hydrogen Development in Hong Kong,” outlining a timetable to advance the development of hydrogen energy. In the first half of next year, proposals for legislation pertaining to hydrogen storage and usage will be submitted, with the goal of aligning with international standards by no later than 2027. Secretary for Environment and Ecology, Tse Chin-wan, spoke about the strategy on a radio program, highlighting the expensive costs of hydrogen energy and acknowledging that it may not be adopted on a large scale in the short term. However, he emphasised that traditional fuels will gradually be phased out, necessitating the need to conduct trials in various settings such as buses, street-cleaning vehicles, the MTR light rail, construction sites, and container terminals. These trials will help determine the appropriate scenarios for hydrogen usage, establish regulations, and identify industries that can benefit from the cost-effectiveness.

Tse further explained that the gas used in Hong Kong is predominantly natural gas, with half of it consisting of hydrogen. Hong Kong’s advantage lies in its pipeline infrastructure that facilitates hydrogen supply. In the future, hydrogen gas could potentially be extracted and injected into fuel cells for power generation in residential settings. However, a suitable market for such products needs to be established. Large-scale generators are already being tested at construction sites, and it is believed that small-scale generators could be trialed in residential or commercial buildings. Tse also highlighted the potential of hydrogen energy development to achieve carbon neutrality and create business opportunities. While Hong Kong faces challenges in manufacturing hydrogen on a large scale due to limited space, the presence of numerous hydrogen products in mainland China positions Hong Kong as a window to showcase and promote hydrogen technology internationally.