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Untapped potential of hydrogen to create thousands of jobs and drive inward investment

*White Paper from Hydrogen Mobility Ireland issues a number of recommendations, to help propel Ireland’s transition to a low carbon economy while creating thousands of clean energy jobs

This week, a White Paper prepared by leading representative body Hydrogen Mobility Ireland (HMI), highlighted a number of recommendations on how the deployment of hydrogen across transport could propel Ireland’s transition to net-zero in both transport and the wider economy. The publication follows the Government’s decision to open a public consultation on the development of a national strategy for green hydrogen – a move which HMI has welcomed.

Launched alongside an accompanying research paper on the benefits of green hydrogen as a renewable energy source, the White Paper demonstrates how the progress of other European countries can provide a useful template for Ireland, as it seeks to develop its own strategy for the deployment of green hydrogen across public and private transport. Hydrogen has been widely endorsed at the EU level, with both France and Portugal allocating €7 billion to hydrogen production projects, while Germany has allocated €8 billion of funding as part of its own national hydrogen strategy. In addition, the UK has granted £30 million for the manufacturing of 124 fuel cell buses in Birmingham, and has introduced an £11.2 million Government grant to develop low-cost hydrogen fuel cell technology for buses. HMI contends that an investment proportional to Ireland’s size and commuter population, will allow for 6,000 hydrogen-fuelled vehicles on the road by 2030.

Included among the key findings of the White Paper;

  • Hydrogen has the capacity to fully eliminate CO2 emissions from heavy goods vehicles
  • The production of green hydrogen will diversify Ireland’s energy supply, providing enhanced security
  • Thousands of secure, clean energy jobs can be created through producing hydrogen at scale
  • The deployment of hydrogen across transport will reduce Ireland’s carbon emissions by 2.6% by 2030
  • Development of hydrogen at scale will attract considerable Foreign Direct Investment and solidify the country’s status as a hub for renewable energy

While the White Paper offers medium and long-term recommendations to Government, it focuses largely on the pressing need to deploy a national hydrogen strategy – a point which has been recognized and acknowledged by the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, owing to its decision to open a public consultation on the issue, earlier this month. Given that Ireland will be legally mandated to advance a network of hydrogen refueling stations along its major motorways as per forthcoming EU legislation, the time for action and implementation is now. HMI has welcomed the Government’s proactivity, noting that the representative body is looking forward to working in tandem with its board members, industry partners and other stakeholders, to feed into the public consultation.

Commenting on the findings, Jonathan Hogan, Business Manager at Hydrogen Mobility Ireland, said: “The publication of our policy papers, and the opening of the public consultation on a national hydrogen strategy serves as a noted example of how Government and industry can work in true partnership to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. HMI’s policy papers show that the production of green hydrogen at scale, will facilitate Ireland in reducing its carbon emissions across transport and other industries; while creating significant opportunities for regional employment and boosting the green economy. In the context of ambitious sustainability targets outlined in both the Climate Action Plan 2021, and the EU’s Fit-for-55 package, and in light of geopolitical considerations, the need to diversify and secure Ireland’s energy supply has never been more apparent. The sooner that we implement a national hydrogen strategy, the sooner we will transition away from fossil fuels, towards a low carbon economy. In this spirit, HMI looks forward to working collaboratively with all stakeholders, to ensure the swift deployment of hydrogen across transport, and other industries.”

At the launch, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan TD said:“Moving to cleaner and greener technologies is critical if we are to reduce the carbon footprint of our public transport system and examining all available technologies is essential. I welcome this research paper which explores the potential of hydrogen and outlines how it could offer opportunities in terms of improving sustainability and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It is vital that Ireland should realize the full potential of green hydrogen in decarbonising our economy and energy and transport systems and we are taking important steps to achieve this. The government has just launched a public consultation on developing our national hydrogen strategy and I hope to see the Strategy published by the end of the year.”

*Hydrogen Mobility Ireland is a group of Irish stakeholders, working to develop the deployment of hydrogen across transport, to reduce carbon emissions while keeping transport practical and affordable. The representative body engages in regular research and has published a number of reports on the efficiency of hydrogen for transport and other industries. Hhydrogen Mobility Ireland includes industry members from across the transport and energy industries; and its members have been informed by input from a range of political stakeholders across Ireland. Its members include; Toyota, Maxol, Hyundai, Energia, Gas Networks Ireland, Bord na Móna, BOC Gases Ireland, Indaver, CIE, ESB, Maxus and Air Products.

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