A global initiative to drive use of hydrogen has been agreed at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Thirteen leading energy, transport and industry companies launched the initiative to “voice a united vision and long-term ambition for hydrogen to foster the energy transition”.

The ‘Hydrogen Council’ aims to position hydrogen among the key solutions of the energy transition.

During the launch, members of the ‘Hydrogen Council’ confirmed their ambition to accelerate their significant investment in the development and commercialisation of the hydrogen and fuel cell sectors.

These investments currently amount to an estimated total value of €1.4bn per year. This acceleration will be possible if the key stakeholders increase their backing of hydrogen as part of the future energy mix with appropriate policies and supporting schemes.

The international companies currently involved are: Air Liquide, Alstom, Anglo American, BMW Group, Daimler, ENGIE, Honda, Hyundai, Kawasaki, Royal Dutch Shell, The Linde Group, Total and Toyota. The members of the Hydrogen Council collectively represent total revenues of €1.07 trillion and 1.72 million employees around the world.

“Thanks to the substantial progress in hydrogen and fuel-cell technologies in recent years, the much-quoted ‘energy carrier of the future’ has finally become available. It is now up to us – the industry, policy makers and customers – to make full use of the potential these climate-friendly technologies can offer,” said Professor Dr Aldo Belloni, chief executive officer of Linde.

Benoît Potier, CEO, Air Liquide, said: “The 2015 Paris Agreement to combat climate change is a significant step in the right direction but requires business action to be taken to make such a pledge a reality. The Hydrogen Council brings together some of the world’s leading industrial, automotive and energy companies with a clear ambition to explain why hydrogen emerges among the key solutions for the energy transition, in the mobility as well as in the power, industrial and residential sectors, and therefore requires the development of new strategies at a scale to support this.

“But we cannot do it alone. We need governments to back hydrogen with actions of their own – for example through large-scale infrastructure investment schemes. Our call today to world leaders is to commit to hydrogen so that together we can meet our shared climate ambitions and give further traction to the emerging Hydrogen ecosystem.”

“At Toyota, we have always tried to play a leading role in environmental and technological advances in the automotive industry, including through the introduction of fuel cell vehicles. Moreover, we know that in addition to transportation, hydrogen has the potential to support our transition to a low carbon society across multiple industries and the entire value chain. The Hydrogen Council aims to actively encourage this transition,” said Takeshi Uchiyamada, chairman, Toyota.