The world is facing a global energy transition as we shift towards a low-carbon future. The Southeast Asian region, comprising 11 countries with a combined population of over 655 million people, is no exception. With a growing demand for energy and a rising concern over environmental sustainability, the potential use of hydrogen as a clean energy source has gained increasing attention. In this article, we will explore the potential of hydrogen application in Southeast Asia, including the ability to extract/produce hydrogen from excess energy and the possibility of using hydrogen as a clean energy source.
Hydrogen Production in Southeast Asia
Hydrogen is a clean and renewable energy source that has the potential to revolutionize the energy industry. One of the main advantages of hydrogen is that it does not emit greenhouse gases during combustion, making it a viable solution for reducing carbon emissions. However, the production of hydrogen currently relies on fossil fuels, which emit greenhouse gases during production. Therefore, the challenge is to produce hydrogen in a clean and sustainable way.
One way to produce clean hydrogen is through the use of excess energy. Southeast Asia is home to some of the world’s largest renewable energy resources, including solar, wind, and hydro. However, the intermittent nature of these sources makes it difficult to maintain a consistent supply of energy. Excess energy is often wasted, which is a missed opportunity for clean energy production. By using this excess energy to produce hydrogen, Southeast Asia can reduce its carbon footprint while producing a clean energy source.
Hydrogen production process comparison – Source ton.nl
One example of this is in Indonesia, where a joint venture between Mitsubishi Power and Indonesian state-owned energy company PT PLN is planning to build a hydrogen plant that will use excess geothermal energy to produce hydrogen. Geothermal energy is a renewable energy source that is abundant in Indonesia, and the excess energy can be used to produce hydrogen. The hydrogen produced can then be used to power fuel cells, which can generate electricity.
Photo of the signing ceremony of the memorandum of understanding between Mitsubishi and Indonesia PT PLN on the development of clean energy technology research – March 23, 2023 – Source Mitsubishi
Another example is in Thailand, where PTT Public Company Limited, a state-owned oil and gas company, is exploring the use of excess renewable energy to produce hydrogen. The company is planning to build a hydrogen plant that will use excess solar and wind energy to produce hydrogen. The hydrogen produced will be used to power fuel cells for electricity generation and fuel for transportation.
Thailand is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and net zero emissions by 2065, Thailand intends to produce green hydrogen as a new alternative energy source in the coming years and decades, with many impacts. Beneficial actions include supporting emissions reduction requirements and helping to build a low-carbon circular economy at the national level.
In Malaysia, the government has launched the Green Hydrogen Economy Roadmap to accelerate the development of a green hydrogen industry. The roadmap aims to develop a hydrogen economy in Malaysia by 2030, with a target of producing 1,000 megawatts of green hydrogen from renewable energy sources. The government is also exploring the use of green hydrogen in the transportation sector, with a focus on fuel cell electric vehicles.
Hydrogen Use in Southeast Asia
Hydrogen has the potential to revolutionize the energy industry, with a wide range of applications in transportation, industry, and power generation. In Southeast Asia, hydrogen can play a significant role in reducing carbon emissions and improving energy security.
One area where hydrogen can be used in Southeast Asia is in transportation. The transportation sector is a major contributor to carbon emissions, with road transport accounting for around 70% of carbon emissions in Southeast Asia. Hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) offer a clean and sustainable alternative to traditional internal combustion engine vehicles. FCEVs use hydrogen to produce electricity, which powers an electric motor. The only by-product of this process is water, making FCEVs a zero-emission alternative to traditional vehicles.
The use of FCEVs in Southeast Asia is still in its early stages, but several countries are already exploring the potential of hydrogen in the transportation sector. For example, Singapore has launched a hydrogen mobility roadmap that aims to deploy 1,000 FCEVs by 2025. The government has also announced plans to develop a hydrogen refuelling infrastructure to support the deployment of FCEVs. In addition, Thailand has announced plans to promote the use of FCEVs in public transportation, with a focus on buses and trucks. The government has set a target of deploying 200 FCEVs in Bangkok by 2023.
Pictures of the launch of the Hyrdo charging station for vehicles under the combination of PTT – OR – TOYOTA – BIG – Source PTT Thailand
Another area where hydrogen can be used in Southeast Asia is in industry. Many industries in Southeast Asia, such as steel and cement production, rely heavily on fossil fuels, which emit greenhouse gases during production. Hydrogen can be used as a clean and sustainable alternative to fossil fuels in these industries. For example, in Singapore, steel manufacturer Tata Steel is exploring the use of hydrogen to reduce carbon emissions in its production process. The company is planning to build a hydrogen-based direct reduction iron plant, which will use hydrogen to produce iron.
Hydrogen can also be used to generate electricity in Southeast Asia. Fuel cells can be used to generate electricity from hydrogen, which can then be used to power homes, businesses, and industries. The use of fuel cells for electricity generation is still in its early stages in Southeast Asia, but several projects are already underway. For example, in Malaysia, a joint venture between the Malaysian government and Japanese companies JERA and Marubeni is planning to build a hydrogen-based power plant. The power plant will use hydrogen to generate electricity, with a focus on providing clean and sustainable energy to the grid.
In Vietnam, the scale of Hydrogen production has not been studied strongly to develop into an industrial-grade production source and there is no specific roadmap for cooperation between the government and manufacturing enterprises for the development of hydrogen production. According to experts, besides technological and technical challenges, the state needs to have appropriate mechanisms and policies to encourage power producers to be ready to switch to using green hydrogen and safe derivatives. ensure the harmony between the interests of the state and enterprises. Creating a sustainable green hydrogen market is an important factor that the State needs to take into account to attract green hydrogen producers to invest in development.
Challenges and Opportunities
While the potential for hydrogen in Southeast Asia is significant, there are several challenges that need to be addressed. One of the main challenges is the lack of infrastructure for hydrogen production, storage, and transportation. In order to realize the full potential of hydrogen in Southeast Asia, there needs to be significant investment in infrastructure to support the production, storage, and transportation of hydrogen.
Another challenge is the high cost of producing hydrogen. Currently, the most common method of producing hydrogen is through steam methane reforming, which relies on fossil fuels and produces greenhouse gases. Producing hydrogen in a clean and sustainable way is more expensive, which can make it difficult for hydrogen to compete with traditional fossil fuels. As UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Vietnam Patrick Haverman said, around the world, green hydrogen produced from water electrolysis contributes only 0.03% of hydrogen production in 2020. However, improving electrical technologies Fertilizers and low renewable energy costs could make green hydrogen competitive in 2030.
Despite these challenges, there are also significant opportunities for the development of a hydrogen economy in Southeast Asia. The region has abundant renewable energy resources, which can be used to produce hydrogen in a clean and sustainable way. In addition, the deployment of hydrogen technologies, such as FCEVs, can help to reduce carbon emissions in the transportation sector.
Particularly in Vietnam, according to some studies, renewable energy in the South Central and South West regions is very large, which is a good and advantageous basis for producing green hydrogen and supplying neighboring economic and industrial sectors. A good news for the development of green hydrogen production in Vietnam is that on March 30, 2023 in Tra Vinh province, a hydrogen production plant has been started with a production scale of 24,000 tons of hydrogen/year, 195,000 tons of medical oxygen. /year.
In conclusion, the potential for hydrogen in Southeast Asia in general and Vietnam in particular is significant. The ability to extract/produce hydrogen from excess energy and the possibility of using hydrogen as a clean energy source offer a range of opportunities for reducing carbon emissions and improving energy security. While there are challenges to be addressed, such as the lack of infrastructure and the high cost of producing hydrogen, the development of a hydrogen economy in Southeast Asia and Vietnam has the potential to revolutionize the energy industry and contribute to a low-carbon future./.