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Hydrogen Task Force Launch

Hydrogen Task Force Launch

An event organized by UNECE Group of Experts on Gas

30 June 2023 15:00 - 17:00
Palais des Nations, H-307-1 Geneva Switzerland


To participate go HERE on 30 June 15:00 CET.

There is a wide consensus among the ECE member States that hydrogen is the key element of the future decarbonized energy system. Hydrogen is perceived not only as an energy carrier of the future hydrogen economy but, equally importantly, as a feedstock for decarbonization of several hard-to-abate industries, such as steelmaking, and ammonium and cement production.  

At its thirty-first session held in September 2022 the Committee on Sustainable Energy asked the Group of Experts on Gas to lead the work on hydrogen, in collaboration with other Committee’s subsidiary bodies. In response to the Committee’s request, the Group of Experts on Gas at its tenth session held in March 2023 reviewed the proposed Terms of Reference (ToR) of the future Hydrogen Task Force (HTF).

What will HTF do?

Currently there are many initiatives dealing with various facets of hydrogen economy. One of the first activities of the HTF will therefore be to take a snapshot of the situation and review existing international initiatives on hydrogen in the ECE region and beyond. After that, the HTF will continuously monitor developments in this field, with an aim to minimize duplication of efforts as the circumstances change and new initiative arise.

For example, many ECE member States participate in the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE). Yet, many do not; among them are the 17 ECE member States covered by the Regular Programme of Technical Cooperation (RPTC). Of them, eleven are the so-called landlocked developing counties (LLDC), who face unique challenges in becoming part of the future globalized hydrogen economy. The HTF will therefore expand the geographic reach of the current initiatives by engaging the ECE member States that are often less present in hydrogen discussion and work.

Proposed structure of HTF

In May 2023 the secretariat invited ECE member States to nominate their representatives to the HTF. The secretariat organized several rounds of consultations with member States and several international organizations and mechanisms that cover various facets of hydrogen sector and discussed with them the scope of work of the future HTF with an aim to identify complementarities, potential overlaps, and the source of funding for the future activities. The Secretariat also reached out to the private sector, academia, and other independent experts, many of which had previously been involved in UNECE hydrogen-related activities. Given the scope of work as defined by the Terms of Reference, within the HTF are envisioned three work streams: 

The structure of Hydrogen Task Force


The United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC) as a global classification and management system can be applied to mineral resources, nuclear fuel, renewable energy, anthropogenic resources, water, and carbon dioxide injection projects. Managing material and energy resources sustainably is at the core of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). UNFC could in principle be applied to hydrogen to the extent hydrogen can be regarded as a resource.

In 2017 ECE member States decided to extend UNFC beyond a classification system to a dynamic resource management system – the United Nations Resource Management System (UNRMS), as a voluntary global standard for integrated and sustainable resource management. When it becomes fully operational, UNRMS will include several tools, standardized methodologies, approaches, and concepts, such as: Clean Energy Index, resources as a service, resource supply system, blockchain and machine learning/artificial intelligence model for resource management, and critical raw materials dashboard.

Based on preliminary research done by the ECE secretariat, currently there is no internationally accepted hydrogen classification that deals with its sustainability. The HTF will examine if and how UNFC and UNRMS could be applied to hydrogen projects, with a view to develop pilot hydrogen production projects applying UNFC and UNRMS principles.

In addition, and pending the availability of resources, the HTF will work on taxonomy on hydrogen based on a life cycle analysis (LCA) and on developing a Guarantee of Origin for Hydrogen (GOH), in close collaboration with other actors such as Hydrogen Council, Hydrogen Europe, IPHE, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and many others.

Value chain development

Today, the hydrogen economy does not exist. Creating it, or “jump-starting” it, is a daunting task – it is to be done practically from scratch. Produced, stored, and used mostly within the petrochemical sector, hydrogen, as a rule, is produced in situ; this means that the distance between the points of production and use is very short, typically within the same industrial facility so the trade in hydrogen is limited.

Production without consumption is not sustainable, and vice versa. Creating a large-scale, multi-sectoral and international hydrogen value chain requires a well-thought, simultaneous, and coordinate action that would establish massive, continuous yet flexible material and energy flows. 

HTF will promote action along the entire value chain: in the upstream production from renewable electricity and gases, in short and long-range transport via pipelines, ships, trains and trucks, in transformation into hydrogen-bearing liquid carriers, in storage in various forms including in underground storage, and in a plethora of end-use applications, many of which use hydrogen as a feedstock.


Under synergies we primarily refer to the interactions between the renewable electricity sector and the existing gas infrastructure. The frequently used label “sustainable hydrogen” describes, although not exclusively, the hydrogen produced from distributed renewable energy such as wind and solar, and then shipped as gas or liquid via pipelines to the storage sites and ultimately to the end users.

The Group of Experts on Gas has pointed out many times that the gas infrastructure can play the key role in accelerating development of hydrogen projects. This can be illustrated with the concept of Hydrogen Gas Asset Readiness (H2GAR). H2GAR explores how to use the existing assets and materials for the transport of hydrogen, to identify any technological and regulatory gaps, both for existing and for new pipelines.

Another important concept is the blending of hydrogen with natural gas. In January 2023, the Group of Experts on Gas dedicated a workshop to this concept.