EU unveils far-reaching hydrogen strategy

In tandem with its new strategy on hydrogen, announced today (8 July), the European Commission has also launched the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance – with industry leaders, civil society, national and regional ministers and the European Investment Bank – which will create an ‘investment pipeline’ to scale up production and support demand for clean hydrogen.

While highlighting that the use of renewable electricity should be a primary aim, the Commission noted that for those sectors where electrification is difficult, its energy strategy will promote clean fuels, including renewable hydrogen and sustainable biofuels and biogas.

The Commission also said that it will propose a new classification and certification system for renewable and low-carbon fuels.

The EC said that its priority ‘is to develop renewable hydrogen, produced using mainly wind and solar energy.

‘However, in the short and medium term other forms of low-carbon hydrogen are needed to rapidly reduce emissions and support the development of a viable market.’

From 2030 to 2050, renewable hydrogen technologies should reach maturity, said the EC,  and be deployed at ‘large scale across all hard-to-decarbonise sectors’.

Executive Vice-President for the European Green Deal, Frans Timmermans, commented on the new hydrogen roadmap: ‘The strategies adopted today will bolster the European Green Deal and the green recovery, and put us firmly on the path of decarbonising our economy by 2050.

‘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.’

NGO T&E broadly welcomed the steps outlined by the EU today, with Executive Director William Todts noting: ‘This is the right plan at the right time. Hydrogen is the missing link in Europe’s strategy to decarbonise planes and ships where electrification is not an option.

‘Now the EU needs to create laws that force airlines and shipping companies to start using zero-emission fuels including hydrogen, ammonia and synthetic kerosene.’

Lesley Bankes-Hughes

Lesley Bankes-Hughes