Hydrogen Could Reduce Global Carbon Emissions By 10% By 2050

Aggressively expanding the use of hydrogen and other cleaner energies could halve emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas, by 2050, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Dec. 1. In a report coinciding with a key UN conference on global warming, the IEA said that if conditions were right, hydrogen and hydrogen fuel cells could play key roles in weaning energy users away from oil, gas and coal.

"In the most favorable conditions, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles would enter the market (in mass numbers) around 2025 and power 30% of the global stock of vehicles by 2050 -- the equivalent of about 700 million vehicles," the IEA said. "The oil saving would then be equivalent to some 13% of global oil demand, or 5% of the global energy demand."

If hydrogen power takes off and other emerging technologies are brought in, the annual global output of CO2 could be halved by the middle of the century, it said.

"Governments should adopt strong policies to reduce emissions (and) we have to reduce drastically the cost of those technologies," said Giorgio Simbolotti, a co-author of the IEA study, Prospects for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells. "If these two conditions are not met, it would be very difficult for hydrogen to reach the critical mass needed for market uptake."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2005

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