The Sustainable Markets Initiative (SMI), a global sustainability coalition launched last year by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, announced today the launch of a Hydrogen Taskforce, aiming to drive growth in the demand for and supply of clean hydrogen as one of the key decarbonization tools to achieve net zero global emissions.

The Taskforce is comprised of representatives of leading companies from a broad range of industries, including, Anglo American, Bank of America, bp, Cummins, Fortescue Metals Group, Hydrogen Council, ITM Power, Linde, Macquarie, Shell, Siemens Energy, Toyota Motor Europe, and 8 Rivers Capital. Shell’s Chief Executive Ben van Beurden will chair the Taskforce.

Hydrogen is viewed as one of the key building blocks of the transition to a cleaner energy future, given its ability to act both as a clean energy carrier and fuel, as well as a CO2-neutral feedstock for the production of green chemicals. Despite being the most abundant element in the universe, however, there are no pure hydrogen deposits on earth, and it must be extracted from other materials. The extraction process often creates pollutants and GHG emissions. Significant investments are required to develop clean extraction processes, such as green hydrogen, which uses a renewable energy-powered electrolysis process to extract hydrogen from water, or blue hydrogen, which converts natural gas into hydrogen and CO₂, which is then captured and permanently stored.

According to the SMI, the Taskforce will focus on several initiatives ahead of the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in November, including creating a template for a hydrogen ecosystem that combines near-term industrial-scale projects and longer-term utility-scale projects, developing formal pledges from companies to use clean hydrogen and derivatives – such as clean steel – in their value chains, and detailing the policy and regulatory levers needed to accelerate adoption of hydrogen fuel cells for transport.

Taskforce Chair and Shell CEO van Beurden said:

“Momentum is growing behind the vision of a net-zero emissions world and the action needed to achieve it, drawing in a growing number of businesses, energy consumers and governments. There is a clear opportunity for hydrogen to play a role. The versatility of hydrogen as an energy carrier will be critical to reach those parts of the system that will be hard to electrify.”