1970s, 1990s, 2000s : false starts for hydrogen

In the past 50 years, there have been previous waves of enthusiasm surrounding hydrogen.

– In the 1970s, the oil shocks and the surge in oil prices led governments to seek alternative energy sources. This resulted in the creation of the International Journal of Hydrogen Energy in 1976. However, the return to cheap fossil fuels in the early 1980s quickly stifled the initiative.

– In the 1990s, hydrogen made a comeback with the growing awareness of climate change. Initiatives were launched and resources were mobilized in Japan, the EU, and Canada. But once again, the availability of cheap oil undermined any progress.

– In the 2000s, in addition to climate change, the theory of peak oil came into play. Many countries joined forces and established the IPHFE (International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy). However, around 2010, the emergence of shale oil began to challenge the theory of peak oil. Simultaneously, electric cars captured all the attention and investments. Hydrogen was once again pushed to the background.

While previous waves of enthusiasm around hydrogen yielded little, the context of the 2020s is now ripe and favorable for a blossoming of the phenomenon, with a strong alignment of factors.

Climate change has more than ever become a reality and an urgency. It is now imperative to act swiftly and decisively. Carbon neutrality in 2050 is the target.

Recent events (such as the conflict in Ukraine) have once again brought to the forefront the issue of countries’ energy sovereignty, both in relation to Russia and the countries of the Middle East.

The rise of electric vehicles demonstrates that mobility other than through traditional internal combustion engines is possible and that the public is ready for it.

The increasing prominence of renewable energies makes the issue of electricity storage ever more pressing. Hydrogen is a relevant solution to store electricity.

« Nothing is stronger than an idea whose time has come.»

Victor HUGO

Across the world, numerous countries have adopted strategic plans for the development of hydrogen.

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Since 2018, governments have allocated significant budgets for R&D on hydrogen. Europe is leading among the most proactive regions in the world.

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The production and exports of hydrogen from producing countries are set to increase by a factor of 40 between 2023 and 2030.

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National hydrogen strategy

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