Hydrogen hurdles: Taiwan firms seek government support

Vyra Wu, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Credit: AFP

In line with Taiwan's commitment to a net-zero transition by 2050, hydrogen plays a pivotal role in this vision.

At the ITRI NET ZERO DAY 2024 forum on accelerating Taiwan's transition to hydrogen energy, top industry executives called for clear regulations, demonstration projects, and financial incentives from the government to overcome current obstacles.

The 12 Key Strategies for Taiwan's 2050 Net-Zero Transition emphasize the integration of hydrogen energy in power generation as a key performance indicator. The target for hydrogen-powered electricity is to achieve 891MW by 2030 and an impressive 7,300MW by 2050. This is aimed at reaching a 9-12% contribution of hydrogen energy to the total power generation, supporting Taiwan's net-zero carbon emissions goal.

"From Taipower's perspective, the main challenges are non-technical issues like speeding up complementary regulatory measures," said Teh-Chen Shen, deputy general manager at TaiPower Research Institute (TPRI). He suggested Taiwan could consider a "regulatory sandbox" similar to South Korea's Industrial Convergence Promotion Act to allow more flexibility for hydrogen R&D before full regulations are in place.

Goa-Shee Leu, Director of CPC Corporation's Green Technology Research Institute, emphasized the pressing need for comprehensive hydrogen laws and standards. "Without rules for the industry to follow, it's very difficult," he said, noting the challenges CPC faced building Taiwan's first hydrogen refueling station. Leu called for government support on demonstration projects to accelerate adoption, as well as subsidies for refueling infrastructure, vehicles, and hydrogen production modeled after schemes in South Korea and Japan.

At China Steel Corporation, Tsung-Rong Chen, Director of the Green Energy & System Integration R&D Department, discussed CSC's role as a major hydrogen user and the need for green electricity and hydrogen supply. He highlighted the challenges related to cost and suggested tax incentives and government support to reduce investment costs. Chen also emphasized the importance of green innovation, transformation, and the need for fuel price subsidies to maintain competitiveness.

Robert Shen, CEO of Chung-Hsin Electric and Machinery Manufacturing (CHEM), pointed to land use regulations prohibiting refueling stations at transportation sites as a major roadblock. He praised Taipei's moves to allow renewable facilities at such locations and urged the central government to take swifter action. Shen also advocated modeling hydrogen subsidies on past solar power incentives. "The subsidies aren't charity, but an investment in decarbonization," he said.

Source: International Energy Agency

Source: International Energy Agency

The International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts global hydrogen demand will surpass 430 million tons by 2050, with global green hydrogen supply expected to reach 34% by 2030. Furthermore, high-efficiency electrolytic systems powered by renewable electricity are set to be developed in the near future. This momentum highlights the importance of hydrogen applications focusing on power generation, industry, and transportation.

To bolster domestic hydrogen energy development, Taiwan's action plan will integrate and improve R&D capacity, establish basic environmental construction and regulations, cooperate with foreign countries for stable hydrogen supply, and eventually strengthen domestic technical advantages.

As Taiwan strives to become a regional hydrogen hub, resolving policy gaps and providing transitional support emerged as key demands from the private sector.