Strengthening Youth for Green Hydrogen on World Environment Day
By Sailesh Singhal and Ravi Karkara
On the occasion of World Environment Day, green hydrogen advocates from across the world have come together in Strengthening Youth for Green Hydrogen. Youth for Green Hydrogen organised a global webinar on “Strengthening Youth for Green Hydrogen” This was attended by over 451 eminent dignitaries, heads of organisations, academics, business leaders and youth from around the world. Involving the Youth in advocacy roles and explaining the need to for them to be actively participating in the Clean Energy transition and climate solutions dialogues is central to changing energy dependence.
The use of hydrogen as a fuel is not a new concept. It is currently widely used in different applications such as fuel for cars, refining petroleum, treating metals, producing fertilizer, and processing foods. Hydrogen releases a significant amount of energy when used as a fuel, almost three times what can be obtained from diesel or gasoline. Hydrogen is produced by splitting water by electrolysis. This is a process that uses electricity, a conducting fluid, and a metal catalyst (usually platinum) in a fuel cell. Electrolysis involves using electricity to break down water into oxygen and hydrogen. The hydrogen released can be used as fuel, or mixed with oxygen to create oxyhydrogen, which is used for welding in the industry, or inhalation therapy against COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases. The added value is that the final products (hydrogen and oxygen) don’t release carbon or other GHGs .
The problem is that hydrogen is an energy carrier and not an energy source, and like electricity, can carry energy but needs a power generation source such as fossil fuels or renewables to create it. Therefore, extracting hydrogen into a useable form needs another form of energy, and a lot of it. The various color designations that one hears associated with green hydrogen come from the process and the power sources used to generate it. For example, black/brown hydrogen is produced from coal, and grey/blue hydrogen is derived from methane. Both these processes use fossil fuels and release GHGs. To be considered green, the electricity required for the process should mostly come from renewable power sources such as solar, wind and geothermal.
So, why spend energy to produce energy? Green hydrogen, being an energy carrier, would act like a battery that allows the storage of excess energy created by renewables like solar and wind during their peak cycles. It would reduce the intermittency of renewables that cannot generate power at all hours of the day, ensuring a sufficient and continuous supply of power for grids.
This is what makes green hydrogen attractive on the frontiers of decarbonization, the promise of significant usable energy without contributing to climate change.
Here are highlights from the session: Mr. Jonas Moberg, CEO, Green Hydrogen Organisation, said, ” I hope the youth can point out the urgent need for action and point towards solutions in order to avoid a climate disaster”, triggering the young minds and empowering them to think in the direction of solutions for a Greener future as we all have realised that there is “Only One Earth” and no Planet B. Mr Moberg and Sailesh signed the Historic MOU between Green Hydrogen and Youth for Green Hydrogen to strengthen intergeneration partnerships .
His Excellency, Ambassador Dr. Satyendra Prasad, Permanent Representative of Fiji to the United Nations, remarked, “For young people, the message is this, jobs and opportunities of the future and things that will make you the happiest, will be in the green transformation sector.
They will come from green energy, green hydrogen and new ways of agriculture.”
Mr Frans Kalega, Technical Advisor on Green Hydrogen, Ministry of Mines & Energy, Republic of Namibia, discussed about Namibia’s ambitions in climate change and green hydrogen and how Namibia is committed to take action by ensuring, ” the youth is trained and ready for this change. That’s why the German grant of 5 million euros for scholarships in Namibia is a great step towards this transformation.” He further added, “We are looking forwards to launching youth for green hydrogen in Namibia! ”
Ms. Tanvee Kanaujia, a student of development studies, Geneva Graduate Institute, said, “I strongly believe that the role of the youth in developing countries is extremely important. It is indeed the youth that will have to bridge the gap between the older and future generations”.
Erik Solheim, Chair, Green Hydrogen Development Plan, in his video message shared ” We believe in 20 years, green hydrogen will power 25% of the world. We will see its use in aviation, shipping, trucks and steel and fertilizer production.” Emphasising on the Youth’s role he encouraged, ” Can young people really change the world and really do something to promote green hydrogen? Let me say this, without young people, we will simply fail “.
To reinforce this through Mr Ashan Perera’s, Founder, The Road to Rights and Co-Founder of G17 Global, shared “We need to move away from the pledgers and make sure we implement these pledgers in our own communities and countries. Who’s going to do that? Nobody except the Youth. Young people are central to Green Hydrogen”.
Mr Perera and Mr. Singhal signed the Historic MOU between G17 Global and Youth for Green Hydrogen to strengthen student’s leadership in advocating for a Global Green Hydrogen Day and nestling innovation led by students in universities through setting up of green hydrogen clubs in over 17 countries .
Hawa Diallo, Chief of Civil Society Unit, United Nations Headquarters welcomed the initiative and called for investing in youth skills and leadership in ensuring the youth initiative for Green Technology, she emphasized the need to focus on girls and young women being critical for Green Hydrogen’s success. She focused on the fact that Young people always have so much to offer to the society throughout the history by providing. Young people are positioned to inherent the future and take on the challenges of making themselves better than the previous generation.
We firmly believe that collaboration and collecting action can change the energy dependence and make critical headway to make our Only One Planet move towards green