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To the Editor:

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. Hydrogen exists on Earth in many forms with the most common being water and hydrocarbons. Hydrogen also makes up approximately 61% of all the atoms in the human body.

In “The Hydrogen Economy,” hydrogen will become the future clean energy source that will be used to create steam, electricity and other forms of energy. Hydrogen will combine with oxygen in fuel cells to generate electric power. Hydrogen will be used to power our cars and trucks while creating no greenhouse gases, only water vapor.

In fact, the future is today. We see hydrogen already beginning to decarbonize transportation, heating systems and industrial processes. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries expects to have a gas turbine that can run on pure hydrogen by 2024.

The oil and gas industry is beginning to make the shift to hydrogen. Shell is building the world’s largest electrolyzer to produce hydrogen from water at its refinery in Wesseling, Germany. Closer to home, Plug Power is building a $125 million Innovation Center in Monroe County to manufacture hydrogen fuel cell stacks and electrolyzers. The facility will create 377 new jobs and will produce the equipment used in its Pro Gen hydrogen fuel cell engines and utilized in the generation of green hydrogen.

Hyzon Motors, with headquarters in Honeoye Falls, New York, is deploying Hydrogen-fueled medium and heavy duty trucks with up to 150kw fuel cell modules (200 horsepower), and is preparing for 370kw systems (500 horsepower) for applications such as inter-city rail, mining vehicles, port equipment as well as short and long haul vehicles. Hyzon zero-emission trucks are being assembled in both the United States and the Netherlands. It is been demonstrated that Hyzon hydrogen fuel cell powered trucks offer superior operation compared to diesel-powered trucks and offer that performance with zero emissions.

The steel industry today accounts for almost 7% of the global carbon emissions. Using hydrogen instead of coke in the direct reduction process could significantly lower the carbon emissions from steel production. Bloomberg New Energy Finance claims that hydrogen could replace coke in 10% to 50% of all steel making by 2050.

Politicians may never agree on the potential impact of climate charge, a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, or a target date to cut emissions by 50%. The vision and creativity of our science and engineering community will continue to to develop the “Hydrogen Economy” and in the process will improve the quality of life and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions through creative practice.

We are fortunate that the New Hydrogen Economy is coming very quickly. Let’s embrace it and put fossil fuels in the rearview mirror.

Cornelius B. Murphy Jr.

President Emeritus

SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry

Syracuse

Related: Study blames climate change for 37% of global heat deaths