The curse of convenience.
In our modern world we have used technology to make our lives easier and more convenient than that of previous generations. Many of our advances over the years has eased the burden on our lives, none more so that ease of transport has become part and parcel of our lives - a convenience but at what cost. As we strive to reduce our C02 footprint and move away from fossil fuels especially in our transport use and we must overcome the curse of convenience. Ease and speed of global travel is convenient to all but it comes at a cost - a heavy cost in pollution, greenhouse gases and climate change.
Fossil fuels are relatively cheap. It's relatively easy to find and produce these fuels, supply chains are well developed and significant investments have been made delivering the required infrastructure for production, storage and distribution. In today’s world we face a climate crisis, our use of fossil fuels is severely damaging our environment. Fossil fuels causing local pollution where they are produced and used, and their ongoing use is causing lasting harm to the climate of our entire planet. However despite all the overwhelming evidence, meaningful changes to our ways we use energy has been very difficult.
Something that is hard and time consuming, requiring greater investment in terms of time and of effort must have a greater value placed upon it. If it takes 4 hours to recharge a battery electric vehicle, or if it takes an extra 10 minutes to fill a fuel cell electric car with hydrogen compared to filling a fossil fuel powered vehicle are we prepared to accept for this perceived lack of convenience? Is it worth the effort? Simply put - yes, especially if the impact on our environment is zero.
The so called convenience of fossil fuels has come with a devastating downside. The release of carbon dioxide (CO2) from fossil fuel use is warming our planet faster than anything we have seen in the geological record. One of the greatest challenges facing humanity today is slowing this warming before it changes our world beyond recognition.
In order to balance our energy needs with tackling climate change we need technology and policy to move in in unison to a new green direction. To date our energy solutions have been based on concentrated, convenient, and flexible forms of energy that have met the convenience our society demanded... In addressing this convenience expected by society we must address the advantages of today’s green energy sources, make defined energy transitions and move to low-carbon energy solutions. With greater understanding of the climate challenge, we are making huge strides in developing the technology we need to move toward a low-carbon future.
We must strive to take the sustainable pathway in life and not just the convenient one. The need for new energy sources has never been greater. Our society needs a sustainable system to replace fossil fuels and their CO2 emissions in the long term and to overcome the convenience of such fuels.
Hydrogen is a pivotal technology, it moves the fulcrum on the energy balance to enable sustainable energy to become sustainable and fit for our future. Hydrogen is a key component in the sustainable energy value chain required to meet our net zero goals by 2050 and will help industry create multi-dimensional and climate neutral value chains.
Convenience does not always improve our quality of life. If we are to save the planet we need to intentionally reject the ease of convenience when it comes to choosing sustainability. Convenience is a short term gain and does not contribute to environmental sustainability and climate stability.
It is my belief that just as fossil fuels opened new doors for humanity our new zero carbon solutions as part of our energy matrix will herald a new dawn delivering enhanced technological, social, commercial and environmental benefits and deliver societal convenience. If we look to green energy vectors as solutions to meet our energy challenges we will find that our thirst for convenience will be slated by significantly more benefits.
Summarising the challenge we face in overcoming our climate destroying reliance on fossil fuels Bart Biebuyck, Executive Director of the Clean Hydrogen Partnership stated : “When convenience becomes inconvenient for someone else, hydrogen could be the answer!”