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Hong Kong lacks hydrogen regulations

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The largest bus company in Hong Kong, KMB, also stated that it has addressed hydrogen-powered vehicles with manufacturers, suppliers, and governmental organizations in regard to its green fleet.

According to the South China Morning Post, the bus companies in Hong Kong are investigating methods to create more environmentally friendly fleets using a mix of electric and hydrogen vehicles.

Four years ago, when former environment head Wong Kam-sing visited a hydrogen fuel cell company and a filling station in Japan, calls to develop hydrogen power first surfaced.

City officials included green transportation last year in their climate action plan, which seeks to achieve zero vehicle emissions by 2050.

In order to trial the usage of hydrogen-powered vehicles, former CEO Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-Ngor also suggested working with franchised bus operators.

Franchised buses serve more than 40% of the city’s population each day, making them the second-largest public transportation system in the city behind the MTR train network.

Because they can be driven for longer periods of time and recharge more quickly than electric cars, hydrogen vehicles are seen as more promising.

There are hydrogen buses in operation all around the world, with Beijing reportedly having the largest fleet with more than 1,000 vehicles. China views hydrogen as a long-term carbon reduction approach.

However, Hong Kong continues to lack regulations for the manufacture, storage, and refueling of hydrogen.

The crucial question in this situation, according to Gong Xiaohan, an expert in energy legislation at Chinese University, is whether hydrogen should be regarded as an energy source or a hazardous good.

If the government did not change the classification of hydrogen from an explosive to an energy source, she warned, local legal constraints would continue to be a barrier.

Because hydrogen is very flammable and can spontaneously explode when handled improperly, it is rigorously restricted in many countries, including Hong Kong.

The creation, storage, and transportation of any gaseous, explosive, or flammable substances are prohibited by the Dangerous Goods Ordinance unless otherwise justified.

The Road Tunnels (Government) Regulations prohibit the usage of tunnels by hazardous goods trucks without an exception.

Gong, who is also conducting postdoctoral research at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies in Germany, said that the issue goes beyond the use of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to include the question of whether investors from mainland China or elsewhere can invest in hydrogen projects in Hong Kong without risk.

“We need to examine how hydrogen can be given equitable treatment so that it can access transmission networks, such power grids, and pipelines if we genuinely want to decarbonize the transport industry.”

The Environmental and Ecology Bureau, it led a cross-departmental team to investigate how hydrogen-powered cars contributed to the reduction of carbon emissions.

Tse Chin-wan, the secretary for environment and ecology, promised to test hydrogen-powered cars by 2024.

Hydrogen power may not be as climate-friendly as it has been portrayed to be, according to environmental experts and green activists in the US and the UK.

They have expressed worries about hydrogen emissions into the atmosphere since last year, despite it gaining popularity as a substitute for fossil fuels. Methane and ozone, the second and third most significant greenhouse gases after carbon dioxide, are affected by hydrogen emissions into the atmosphere, which contributes to global warming.

Ilissa Ocko, a senior climate scientist at the American non-profit advocacy organization Environmental Defense Fund, said that “even green hydrogen has climatic implications.” The biggest worry I have is that we will rush too quickly to use hydrogen everywhere.

According to her research, hydrogen can have an impact on global warming. Methane, a greenhouse gas that is thought to be 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide in trapping heat, is one of the molecules that may readily seep into the atmosphere.

According to Ocko, atmospheric hydrogen can start a chain reaction that results in the production of greenhouse gases such as ozone and water vapor.

In order to use hydrogen at scale, she added, “we need a good grasp of extra climatic and environmental considerations.”

Arnes Biogradlija
Creative Content Director at EnergyNews.Biz

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