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Opportunity in hydrogen, energy stakeholders told

Hydrogen energy is being touted as an area of tremendous opportunity for Barbados and the rest of the region.

Raquel Moses, chief executive officer of the Caribbean Climate-Smart Accelerator (CCSA), said it should be explored as countries seek to phase out the use of fossil fuels.

Stating that hydrogen was being framed as “the fuel of the future”, Moses said the Caribbean had to stop being just consumers and start being producers and sellers.

“What we have to realise is that we can’t just continue to be the world’s customers and the tourism destination. We also have to take part. Trillions of dollars will be spent on this new economy that is being created, that climate action requires us to transition to. So we need to also create solutions that can be purchased in this new economy. Hydrogen is a huge opportunity,” she said.

“There are many things we need to be doing and we need to be doing quickly in order to capitalise on that opportunity. It is what people are forecasting for planes and ships and for transportation – those sort of large-scale transportation modalities. The fantastic thing is that we have tourism, so it means that cruise ships are coming, we are a transshipment point, and airlines are coming.

“So we have the relationships that we need to be able to capitalise on this opportunity. But in order to capitalise on this opportunity we need to cooperate and collaborate,” said Moses.

The CCSA CEO said while greater hydrogen use has been a serious discussion globally for some time, there were more than 300 hydrogen-related projects last year alone, which meant that momentum was picking up and people were seriously pursuing this form of energy as a fuel for the future.

“Many of the things we need to do aren’t new. We just now need to commit and we need to transition, and we need to do that quickly,” she said.

Moses pointed to the region’s potential to create geothermal energy for export.

She said it had about 29 gigahertz of geothermal energy potential which was several times more than what was needed to meet all the energy needs of the Caribbean.

“We could put some of that to good use for export, for example,” Moses said.

She was a panellist on the Central Bank of Barbados’ Caribbean Economic Forum series, the last of which was held for 2023 on Wednesday night on the topic, What Does Moving to Green Energy Mean for Us?

Also singling out hydrogen production as an area for the region to consider was Dr Gary Jackson, executive director of the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE).

“Hydrogen has multiple uses and it is one of the most abundant elements in the world today,” he pointed out.

“We have to really come together as a region. I know we do that at the climate meetings but we don’t do that on the energy front, and we need to do it on the energy front because it is going to be critical for us.

“Once you get the hydrogen, it can be used in cars – all types of transportation really –, pharmaceuticals, steel production, heating, cooling, you name it; it is huge. And the thing for us as a region is that we have abundance to make what we call green hydrogen . . . . We have more than what we can use. Geothermal, hydro, solar, wind, to name a few. It is just for us to commit but, more importantly, we have to trust each other,” Jackson said.

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