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Opinion
David Fickling and Clara Ferreira Marques

A Billionaire Hydrogen Evangelist Should Add Detail to His Dream

The second-richest Australian has some bold ideas for the so-called miracle fuel. But you can’t start a revolution without a plan.

Long on aspiration.

Long on aspiration.

Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg

In the face of a formidable challenge like climate change, industry tends to be long on detail and short on vision. In theory, there’s agreement we need to reduce carbon emissions to zero — but if the returns from old, polluting equipment are marginally better than the clean alternative, who’d make the mistake of being a first mover?

And yet the disrupters who’ll make the biggest difference in the energy transition are often the opposite: short on particulars, long on aspiration. In the mid-2000s, Elon Musk’s dream of an electric carmaker that could take on Detroit seemed fantastical. Then it happened, making Musk the world’s richest man and giving Tesla Inc. nearly half the market capitalization of the global auto industry.