AOK: I'm a big believer in hydrogen, and excited to see it attracting growing interest due to its environmental, climate and economic benefits. There have been a few false starts, where even technology experts and scientists have dismissed hydrogen solutions because nothing has happened, but this is the nature of science. Things that take long lose the interest of popular momentum. As the late scientist, Roy Amara, noted, “We tend to overestimate the effect of a technology in the short-run and underestimate the effect in the long-run.”
Hydrogen has indeed taken longer to mature, but we're now seeing practical applications for hydrogen in decarbonizing hard to abate sectors, such as heavy-duty trucks, marine, iron and steel, and petrochemicals. We also see it contributing for example, to visionary transport applications which can scale up quickly. Take the vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft — or the flying car. This definitely seems like something from the future, but it is not unrealistic; indeed, it is becoming more and more a reality with hydrogen, which is more powerful and less limiting than battery power.
I think that there is a great synergy between this flying car concept and hydrogen technology, and with the oil and gas industry, which really took off with the popularity of the motor car. At Aramco, we are looking at producing carbon-free hydrogen from our hydrocarbons – I believe it's going to be a big part of our future – and so what made oil and gas so popular over a century ago can now be turned to hydrogen resources in the 21st century … a far-reaching idea, but not farfetched.