18 Items

A tanker truck delivers liquid hydrogen to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, September 1997.

U.S. Dept. of Energy


The Role of Clean Hydrogen for a Sustainable Mobility

| August 2021

This paper analyzes clean hydrogen’s potential for driving emissions reductions in the mobility sector, focusing on road transportation, shipping, rail, and aviation. Overall, transportation is the second-largest producer of global CO2 emissions, after electricity and heat generation, and one of the hardest sectors to decarbonize due to its distributed nature and the advantages provided by fossil fuels in terms of high energy densities, ease of transportation and storage. 

A sign indicates a hydrogen fuel option at a newly opened refueling station in Munich, Monday, March 26, 2007.

AP Photo/Diether Endlicher

Policy Brief

Hydrogen Deployment at Scale: The Infrastructure Challenge

Clean hydrogen is experiencing unprecedented momentum as confidence in its ability to accelerate decarbonization efforts across multiple sectors is rising. New projects are announced almost every week. For example, an international developer, Intercontinental Energy, plans to build a plant in Oman that will produce almost 2 million tons of clean hydrogen and 10 million tons of clean ammonia. Dozens of other large-scale projects and several hundred smaller ones are already in the planning stage. Similarly, on the demand side, hydrogen is gaining support from customers. Prominent off-takers such as oil majors like Shell and bp, steelmakers like ThyssenKrupp, and world-leading ammonia producers like Yara are working on making a clean hydrogen economy a reality.

Policy Brief

Sustainable Mobility: Renewable Hydrogen in the Transport Sector

| June 2021

Renewable hydrogen holds promise in sustainable mobility applications, whether by powering fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) like cars, trucks, and trains or as a feedstock for synthetic fuels for ships and airplanes. Fuel cells convert hydrogen-rich fuels into electricity through a chemical reaction. FCEVs use a fuel cell, rather than a battery, to power electric motors, and operate near-silently and produce no tailpipe emissions. 

A hydrogen fuel cell in a workshop

Adobe Stock

Policy Brief

China: The Renewable Hydrogen Superpower?

| May 2021

Renewable hydrogen offers significant advantages for China. It can help Beijing meet its climate and pollution goals—at a time when coal continues to dominate—while avoiding increased reliance on imported fuels. As a readily dispatchable means of storing energy, hydrogen can help to address intermittency and curtailment issues as renewable energy increases its share of China’s energy mix. As a sustainable mobility energy carrier, it can power fuel-cell electric vehicles or be the base for synthetic fuels. Finally, renewable hydrogen can open new avenues for developing clean technology manufactured goods for both internal and export markets.

A consumer hydrogen fuel pump in Germany

Adobe Stock

Policy Brief

The Geopolitics of Renewable Hydrogen

| May 2021

Renewables are widely perceived as an opportunity to shatter the hegemony of fossil fuel-rich states and democratize the energy landscape. Virtually all countries have access to some renewable energy resources (especially solar and wind power) and could thus substitute foreign supply with local resources. Our research shows, however, that the role countries are likely to assume in decarbonized energy systems will be based not only on their resource endowment but also on their policy choices.

teaser image

News - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

The Dilemma over the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline

The controversial and costly Nord Stream 2 pipeline is intended to carry natural gas from Russia to Germany. As it nears completion, European countries and the U.S. continue to disagree over the advantages and disadvantages – and possible security threats – of the pipeline.

We asked some of our transatlantic, Russia, and energy-focused experts to share their thoughts on the implications of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline for Europe's security and energy supply, transatlantic relations, and policy toward Russia, as well as what actions the U.S. and European countries should take at this point.  

Assorted plastic collected during a spring community cleanup at the shoreline and harborfront of Hamilton, Ontario.

Jasmin Sessler


Avoiding a Plastic Pandemic: The Future of Sustainability in a Post COVID-19 World

| January 2021

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is upending our lives and the global economy in ways unimaginable until recently. While the overall impacts are still difficult to quantify, ramifications are sure to be felt for decades to come. Providing secure, reliable, and affordable resources for all without causing devastating environmental consequences is perhaps the greatest challenge of the 21st century. But the pandemic has significantly altered dynamics and changed priorities. How is this impacting the quest for sustainability?

In this paper we analyze these challenges by focusing on the plastic industry. There is no doubt that plastic has molded society in many ways that make our lives easier and safer, but it has also created a global environmental and sustainability crisis. In order to curb our addiction to plastic, the world had been waging a war against virgin plastic, but the pandemic has turned an enemy into a much-needed ally. How can we leverage the advantages of plastic without contributing to the world’s environmental crisis? This dilemma poses a significant challenge, but also opens an opportunity to address sustainability at a systemic level through circularity and the transition to low-carbon alternatives to petroleum-based plastics.