Countries strive for developing hydrogen energy

Many countries in the world have started to implement a diversified energy strategy, making efforts on research and development of new energy resources, seeking alternative energy and technology to petroleum. In all new energy resources, hydrogen is considered to have the best prospect of application.

Industrialized nations have increased their investment in development of hydrogen energy by at least 20.5 percent each year in the past five years, according to a survey by the US Department of Energy.

Japan is one of the earliest countries in the world starting studies on hydrogen energy. It focuses on fuel battery now. Eight fuel cell hybrid vehicles (FCHV) shuttled throughout the 2005 Aichi Expo last autumn. The Japanese government has further facilitated the hydrogen fuel supply by building hydrogen stations nationwide in order to boost hydrogen energy popularity in the country Nearly 100 FCHVs have been licensed and the number is expected to reach 1,500 by 2030. The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry gave the "new energy award" in 2005 to a energy-saving building since it adopted technologies of fuel cells as energy supply, and thermoelectricity inter-conversion and energy-saving materials.

Now, Japan's development of fuel cells and technologies of the manufacturing, transportation and storage of hydrogen have been basically mature. In 2006, Japan will conduct more advanced technical development and the development of low-cost fuel cells.

The United States has paid much attention to hydrogen energy. In 2003, the Bush administration invested 1.7 billion US dollars in a hydrogen fuel initiative which focused on the industrialized production, storage and application of hydrogen energy. In 2004, the US set up its first hydrogen gas station. In December 2005, a fixed hydrogen power device known as "the third generation household power station" went into operation in California. The hydrogen supplied by the device kept fuel cells working. The third generation device was 30 per cent lighter than the second one with 25 per cent increase in power generation and 50 percent expansion of hydrogen production and storage.

The European Union has also stepped up the development and application of hydrogen energy. The EU doubled its investment in hydrogen energy and fuel cell to 25 to 30 million euros during its sixth Framework Program (2002-2006). The five Nordic nations, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Iceland have established the Nordic Energy Research recently to improve their capability in producing bio-hydrogen.

Developing countries have attached great importance to the development of hydrogen energy. Israel has made remarkable achievements. Researchers in the country has developed a new technology that makes it easier to use, store and transport hydrogen.

India has developed a clean fuel motorbike driven by metal hydride. The cost for the use of the motorcycle is higher at the present; however, it is regarded as an economical vehicle in the long run due to the low cost for hydrogen fuel and durable storage tank for metal hydride. Besides that, Besides, evident progress has also been made in the nation on the research of cooking stove, generators and illuminations powered by hydrogen.

China has developed a sample vehicle driven by hydrogen fuel cells, marking that China has the capability to develop hydrogen-powered fuel cell engines.

In short, various countries have placed emphasis on both developing fuel cell vehicles and fixed generating device powered by hydrogen energy, which will be closer to people's life.

By People's Daily Online



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