It has taken a long time for a major push to promote hydrogen but the EU came out with its new hydrogen strategy this week. The priority is to produce hydrogen from renewables and hopefully only renewables if it is to be truly sustainable. The renews.biz website provides a news item on developments this week.
EU unveils 40GW green hydrogen vision
The EU will support the development of up to 40GW of green hydrogen projects by 2030, according to a new strategy.
The EU Hydrogen Strategy sets out how from 2020 to 2024, the EU will support the installation of at least 6GW of renewable hydrogen electrolysers in the EU, and the production of up to one million tonnes of renewable hydrogen.
By 2025 to 2030, hydrogen needs to become an intrinsic part of the EU’s integrated energy system, with at least 40GW of renewable hydrogen electrolysers and the production of up to ten million tonnes of renewable hydrogen in the EU.
Finally, from 2030 to 2050, renewable hydrogen technologies should reach maturity and be deployed at large scale across all hard-to-decarbonise sectors.
It states that hydrogen can power sectors that are not suitable for electrification and provide storage to balance variable renewable energy flows.
The priority is to develop renewable hydrogen, produced using mainly wind and solar energy. However, this can only be achieved with coordinated action between the public and private sector at EU level, the report states.
In the short and medium term other forms of low-carbon hydrogen will beneeded to rapidly reduce emissions and support the development of a viable market, according to the EU.
Executive vice-president for the Green Deal Frans Timmermans said: “The new hydrogen economy can be a growth engine to help overcome the economic damage caused by COVID-19.
“In developing and deploying a clean hydrogen value chain, Europe will become a global frontrunner and retain its leadership in clean tech.”
Commissioner for energy Kadri Simson added: “The EU’s energy system has to become better integrated, more flexible and able to accommodate the cleanest and most cost-effective solutions.
“Hydrogen will play a key role in this, as falling renewable energy prices and continuous innovation make it a viable solution for a climate-neutral economy.”
To help deliver on this strategy, the European Commission has launched the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance with industry leaders, civil society, national and regional ministers and the European Investment Bank.
The Alliance will build up an investment pipeline for scaled-up production and will support demand for clean hydrogen in the EU.
Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton said: “The European Clean Hydrogen Alliance launched today will channel investments into hydrogen production.
“It will develop a pipeline of concrete projects to support the decarbonisation efforts of European energy intensive industries such as steel and chemicals.
“The Alliance is strategically important for our Green Deal ambitions and the resilience of our industry.”
To target support at the cleanest available technologies, the Commission will work to introduce common standards, terminology and certification, based on life-cycle carbon emissions, anchored in existing climate and energy legislation, and in line with the EU taxonomy for sustainable investments.
It will also propose policy and regulatory measures to create investor certainty, facilitate the uptake of hydrogen, promote the necessary infrastructure and logistical networks, adapt infrastructure planning tools, and support investments, in particular through the Next Generation EU recovery plan.
CEO of Uniper and member of Germany’s National Hydrogen Council Andreas Schierenbeck said: “Hydrogen currently only makes up 1% of Europe’s total energy consumption, and so there is an urgent need to ramp up this capacity.
“This is not just about pumping investment into hydrogen infrastructure but driving policies that create the economic conditions to support a sustainable hydrogen economy. The energy transition also requires greater collaboration between all stakeholders.
“In future, we will see hydrogen become much more integrated with other forms of power generation; as well as energy generation becoming much more interwoven with industry, mobility and heat.”
WindEurope responded to the strategy saying that renewable hydrogen will play a key role in decarbonising those bits of transport and industry that we cannot electrify directly. Electrolysers needed to be rapidly upscaled to make that happen, and it’s good the Commission wants to support that. But, it pointed out that renewable hydrogen won’t happen without renewables.
A spokesperson said: “They are the raw material. So getting policy right on renewables is central to any hydrogen strategy. And that includes industrial policy on renewables – you want the hydrogen to be made in Europe.”