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Shell Hydrogen Boss On Making It Real

In a speech to the World Hydrogen Energy Conference in Japan, Shell Hydrogen CEO Jeremy Bentham highlighted the successes of current hydrogen infrastructure efforts and outlined his proposal for a new generation of “Lighthouse Projects” based on mini-networks to accelerate the awareness and adoption.

Clearly, a global transition will not happen overnight. Rather, hydrogen fuel and FCVs will become established in geographic pockets. Over time, more and more clusters will develop and link up. Reflecting this, we believe it is time to move on from the era of the stand-alone, cost-shared demonstration project — remote from everyday life and driven by the traditional model of public/private research.

The concept of a Lighthouse Project—a demonstration bridging research and commercialization to “light the way” to broader adoption—has been associated with the EU effort on hydrogen for several years. Its scope is large: ten years in duration, with an initial pricetag of more than € 1.5 billion.

Bentham’s proposal is more distributed, and with a shorter lead-time: to move away from isolated industry demonstrations projects to a series of mini-networks that already have both semi-commercial and subsidized elements. Each mini-network should include:

  • Fleets of 100 or more vehicles
  • Fueling from a mini-network of 4-6 integrated hydrogen/gasoline stations
  • Public Private Partnerships
    • More than one vehicle manufacturer
    • More than one infrastructure supplier
    • Fleet company
    • Government & regional/local authority
  • Both subsidized and semi-commercial elements
  • Focus on transportation in urbanized markets
    • E.g. Tokyo, Los Angeles, the Rhine region
    • Some stationary power elements
  • High visibility



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