(28 March 2023, Hong Kong) To keep pace with the development trend of hydrogen fuel and in preparation for its local application and supporting facilities, the Environment and Ecology Bureau (EEB) is leading the Inter-departmental Working Group on Using Hydrogen as Fuel (the Working Group) to examine applications of trial projects on hydrogen fuel technology intended to be taken forward locally. The EEB has announced today (March 28) that the Working Group has given agreement-in-principle to three applications of trial projects on hydrogen fuel technology under the first batch. These projects will commence within this year.
The three projects concern two applications submitted by Citybus Limited to try out a hydrogen refuelling facility at a bus depot of the company and one hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) double-deck bus, and one application submitted by the Hong Kong and China Gas Company to try out a hydrogen extraction facility at its Tai Po plant.
A spokesman of the EEB said, "The Working Group received these three applications of trial projects in the third quarter of last year, and has subsequently examined these applications and provided advice to the applicants. Following the applicants' enhancement on the designs and technical details to ensure that the trial projects can be carried out smoothly and safely, the Working Group has, at its meeting on March 24, 2023, given agreement-in-principle to the three applications of trial projects. These projects are expected to commence within this year.
The spokesman supplemented, "In addition, the government departments also have plans to commence trials of HFC heavy vehicles for refuse collection or street cleansing."
At present, HFC heavy vehicles are still at an early stage of development. Resources are being invested in research and development, operational trials and supporting facilities worldwide. The Working Group set up by the EEBof seeks to make preparation for an extensive use of hydrogen energy locally in future. Apart from relevant departments engaging consultants to conduct risk assessment and analysis, the use of interim standards by various trial projects on hydrogen extraction technology, hydrogen refuelling facilities and HFC vehicles would also provide data and experience for our reference. This would assist the Government in setting relevant regulations, codes, standards and technical guidelines, with a view to formulating a legal framework for the extensive use of hydrogen fuel locally in the long run.
The Working Group is formed by the EEB, the Transport and Logistics Bureau, the Development Bureau, the Security Bureau, the Environmental Protection Department, the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, the Fire Services Department, the Transport Department, the Marine Department, the Planning Department, the Lands Department, the Buildings Department and the Architectural Services Department.
The Chief Executive announced in his 2022 Policy Address to commence trials on HFC double-deck buses and heavy vehicles in 2023 and formulate the long-term strategies for the application of hydrogen energy in road transport by 2025. The EEB has already earmarked $200 million under the New Energy Transport Fund for subsidising trial projects, and the costs for collecting and analysing related data.
The Government announced successively in 2021 the Hong Kong Roadmap on Popularisation of Electric Vehicles, Clean Air Plan for Hong Kong 2035, and Hong Kong's Climate Action Plan 2050, covering policy directions and future targets on promoting the adoption of new energy transport technologies in different context, so as to guide Hong Kong towards zero vehicular emissions before 2050 and attain carbon neutrality simultaneously. Developing new energy transport (including electric private cars and HFC heavy vehicles) is an important component of realising our targets on emission reduction.