Global Pathways to a Hydrogen Energy Future (GPHEF)
Preface: Many of the myriad challenges currently impacting the global energy system originate from the increasingly significant environmental changes being observed, and reasonably anticipated, throughout all global communities. To effectively address these complex, often interrelated, challenges requires decisions that focus on fundamental changes in how energy is produced, transported, and utilized throughout global systems. Given the diversity of geographical, economic, political, and cultural priorities found at local, regional, and national levels, these decisions require leadership from governmental, private sector, and public advocacy communities to reach consensus on practical approaches to both immediate and long-term goals. All decisions need to be based on credible scientific understanding that can be implemented under practical, real-world conditions. Crucially, the significant, unexpectedly rapid changes in global environments being observed, and those reasonably anticipated, place an urgency on these decisions not historically encountered in the previous development of major technological transitions. The current transitions in the global energy system encompass production, transportation, and usage and have focused on how to integrate renewable energy sources while continuing to meet the immediate needs for energy historically derived from fossil fuels. The introduction of hydrogen energy has become a central topic in these transitions. The potential incorporation of hydrogen energy into the global energy system requires a comprehensive review and critical assessment examining how to integrate different technological options, economic planning, and policy directions while recognizing the diverse local, regional, and national priorities found worldwide. Significantly different geographic, transportation, infrastructure, economic, political, and cultural conditions routinely define the practical options for hydrogen energy production, distribution, and usage. Attention to public endorsement and acceptance remains a critical issue to be considered. As with the evaluation of any energy source, hydrogen energy also needs to be critically examined with respect to global issues (e.g., international trade and transportation options, production reliability and scale, hydrogen quality and quantity certification). The observed and anticipated rapidity of climatic changes imposes serious time constraints on obtaining an accurate understanding of the real-world contributions of any energy source to the overall societal mitigation of and/or adaptation to evolving environmental conditions. The environmental impacts of all energy sources, existing or emerging, need to be critically evaluated to inform actionable decisions. Paramount among these decisions is the trusted certification of the nature of hydrogen production (e.g., green v. blue v. gray) and of the quality of the resultant hydrogen to collectively ensure an accurate understanding of how hydrogen usage impacts environmental sustainability.
Structure and TopicsEncompassed within a three-year effort, the ISGP-GPHEF program focuses on sequentially convening in-person, invitation-only conferences in several international venues where hydrogen energy has been identified as a priority for sustainable local, regional, and/or national models. These functional models reflect the significantly different geographical, infrastructural, economic, political, and cultural conditions that exist in specific localities worldwide. Identifying and critiquing the practical approaches by which hydrogen energy, as with any energy source, might productively meet the often diverse local, regional, and/or national requirements are fundamental components of the ISGP-GPHEF agenda. Accommodating the diversity of these needs and preferences (e.g., domestic production v. international importation of hydrogen energy) is also a critical factor in the continuing evolution of a new global energy system in which hydrogen energy makes major contributions. To be functional, energy usage needs to effectively address the essential elements controlling real-world conditions and limitations found at local, regional, national, and global levels. The ISGP-GPHEF program address these issues by examining existing and emerging technology options (e.g., fuel cell and electrolyzer development, practicality of carbon capture), opportunities to effectively transition existing economic frameworks (e.g., de-emphasizing fossil fuel), and practical policy directions (e.g., incentivization, regulations, trade agreements). Such comprehensive goals require a progressive approach that selectively examines specific topics throughout the three-year GPHEF effort. These progressive decisions are based on extensive (hundreds), confidential interviews by ISGP staff with distinguished subject-matter experts and leadership from private sector, governmental, and public advocacy communities. Interview results and ISGP staff analyses are presented to a Global Advisory Panel (GAP) for consultation before final decisions are made to issue invitations to any ISGP-GPHEF event.
ISGP Conference FormatThe debate/caucus format pioneered by the ISGP for more than a decade uses critical debates and extended caucuses to focus on identifying Areas of Consensus (AoC), Evidence-Based Options (EBO), and Actionable Next Steps (ANS) that lead to effective real-world decisions throughout governmental, private sector, and public advocacy communities worldwide. ISGP programs provide an unusual if often not unique opportunity to respectfully, but critically discuss and critique many of the important issues of our time.
Key ParticipantsThe ISGP-PHEF agenda rests on credible scientific understanding and evidence-based technological options garnered from hundreds of confidential interviews of internationally recognized subject-matter experts, private sector stakeholders, senior governmental leaders, and public advocates. While an Informal Advisory Panel (IAP) is routinely consulted, the ISGP remains responsible for all ISGP-PHEF conference invitations.
Current ISGP-GPHEF program schedule
- Launch with an internet-based conference on “Island Community Priorities” (ICP) centered around the Hawaiian Islands
- Initiate an in-person conference to be launched in Sydney, Australia on “Hydrogen Production and Exportation” (HPE)
- Initiate an in-person conference to be convened in Tokyo, Japan on “Integrated Production and Importation” (IPI)
- Early stage preparation for in-person conferences to be convened in the Middle East, India, and California.
- Discussions are ongoing with potential venues in Europe.