Germany moves forward on national hydrogen strategy

The German government will today adopt a comprehensive national hydrogen strategy and priority will be given to investment in ‘green’ – renewable – hydrogen.

Last week, the country’s governing parties agreed on a €130 billion economic stimulus package to address the damage caused to trade and industry by the COVI-19 pandemic. The package also calls for the establishment of a €50 billion fund for to address climate change, innovation and digitisation.

Some €9 billion of investment will be channelled into developing Germany’s hydrogen infrastructure and the new strategy says that demand for climate neutral fuel will develop in aviation and shipping in particular

Some 10 GW of domestic electrolysis capacity for green hydrogen will be made available in Germany by 2040 at the latest, and 50% of this capacity will come on stream by 2030.

The majority of the green hydrogen demand will have to be imported and the strategy suggests that  EU countries around the North and Baltic Sea and in Southern Europe  could be potential suppliers, and also points to establishing energy partnerships with developing countries.

The use of blue hydrogen – based on fossil gas with CCS – will only be allowed during a transition period.

Constantin Zerger, Head of Energy & Climate Policy, Environmental Action Germany (DUH), commented on Germany’s decision to go ahead with a hydrogen strategy: ‘Hydrogen will play a role in the energy transition. Some sectors can only be decarbonised using green hydrogen.

‘But this is no excuse for the construction of new fossil infrastructure. This is why we ask the German government to stop all plans for new LNG-terminals at the North Sea. These terminals cannot be used for hydrogen and will worsen existing dependencies on fossil gas.’

He continued: ‘Green hydrogen will be a scarce resource. It shall not be used in sectors that have alternatives for decarbonisation at hand. This goes for cars and heating in buildings in particular. The German hydrogen strategy seeks to introduce hydrogen in both sectors. This is definitely wrong, green hydrogen and its derivatives will most of all be needed for industry, aviation and shipping.’

The European Union (EU) is expected to provide details about its hydrogen roadmap on 24 June. The EU Commission is also planning to launch a ‘clean hydrogen alliance’ of EU member states, industries and research organisations later this year.

Lesley Bankes-Hughes

Lesley Bankes-Hughes