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Regulations / Understanding ESG
Hong Kong sets out hydrogen development plan
Working group to prioritize regulatory updates, tech developments, financial support
Leo Tang 19 Jun 2024

The Hong Kong government released on June 17 its hydrogen development plan, which details its strategies aimed at promoting hydrogen production and application, and focuses on regulatory updates, technological developments and financial support.

Following China’s launch of the National Hydrogen Plan in 2022, hydrogen has become a key component in the nation’s energy transformation, prompting Hong Kong that year to set up its inter-departmental Working Group on Using Hydrogen as Fuel.

The group comprises more than ten bureaux and professional departments all of whom will strive to remove barriers and facilitate commencement of local hydrogen applications.

The working group’s plan sets out four strategies on which the territory will focus its hydrogen development efforts over the short to medium term:

  • Improving legislation
  • Establishing standards
  • Aligning with the market
  • Advancing with prudence.

The first – improving legislation – aims to amend Hong Kong’s existing Gas Safety Ordinance and other accompanying regulations to provide a legal basis for regulating hydrogen used or intended to be used for fuel. The proposed amendment is expected to be submitted to Hong Kong’s Legislative Council in 2025.

The second strategy – establishing standards – targets the formulation of a series of industry safety standards and guidelines concerning hydrogen’s supply, storage, transportation and application in Hong Kong. The timetable for this is to have hydrogen standard certification ready by 2027.

The third strategy – aligning with the market – is to explore the feasibility of hydrogen-fuelled land transport. Specifically, Hong Kong will cooperate with overseas hydrogen-fuelled vehicle manufacturers and mainland authorities to hasten the introduction of hydrogen-fuelled vehicles locally. The Hong Kong government will also set up a dedicated new-energy fund to finance the research and development of hydrogen-powered transportation.

Finally, the fourth strategy – advancing with prudence – examines the on-going implementation of hydrogen and the future priorities of the working group, including standard-setting, regional cooperation, technological demonstration and investment promotion.

As of June 2024, the working group has examined and given agreement in principle to 14 hydrogen trial projects, including:

  • hydrogen-fuelled buses and street-washing machines
  • hydrogen-filling facilities
  • on-site hydrogen electricity supply at construction sites.

Notably, the current trial projects in Hong Kong are still using grey hydrogen; and as the technology and market develop, transition will be made towards blue and green hydrogen.

In the second half of 2024, Hong Kong’s first public hydrogen-filling station will commence operation.

As the world works towards net-zero carbon emissions, many other governments have also moved to put hydrogen development strategies in place. In the Asia-Pacific hydrogen space, notable early movers include Japan, Singapore and Australia.

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