Jul 8, 2020: release of the European hydrogen strategy (https://ec.europa.eu/energy/sites/ener/files/hydrogen_strategy.pdf)
- minimum 6 GW of renewable electrolyzer capacity installed by 2024
- minimum 40 GW of renewable electrolyzer capacity installed by 2030
The EU and global energy mix is still largely produced from fossil fuels, resulting in the release of 70 to 100 million tonnes CO₂ annually in the EU. Hydrogen represents only a modest fraction of the energy mix, although it does not emit CO₂ and almost no air pollution when used. For hydrogen to contribute to climate neutrality, it needs to achieve a far larger scale and its production must become fully decarbonised.
In its strategic vision for a climate-neutral EU published in November 2018, the share of hydrogen in Europe’s energy mix is projected to grow from the current less than 2% to 13-14% by 2050.
Cumulative investments in renewable hydrogen in Europe could be up to EUR 180-470 billion by 2050, and in the range of €3-18 billion for low-carbon fossil-based hydrogen. Analysts estimate that clean hydrogen could meet 24% of energy world demand by 2050, with annual sales in the range of €630 billion.
However, renewable and low-carbon hydrogen are not yet cost competitive compared to fossil-based hydrogen.
The priority for the EU is to develop renewable hydrogen, produced using mainly wind and solar energy.
In the short and medium term, however, other forms of low-carbon hydrogen are needed, primarily to rapidly reduce emissions from existing hydrogen production and support the parallel and future uptake of renewable hydrogen.
In the first phase, from 2020 up to 2024, the strategic objective is to install at least 6 GW of renewable hydrogen electrolysers in the EU and the production of up to 1 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen, to decarbonise existing hydrogen production, e.g. in the chemical sector and facilitating take up of hydrogen consumption in new end-use applications such as other industrial processes and possibly in heavy-duty transport. In this phase, manufacturing of electrolysers, including large ones (up to 100 MW), needs to be scaled up.
In a second phase, from 2025 to 2030, hydrogen needs to become an intrinsic part of an integrated energy system with a strategic objective to install at least 40 GW of renewable hydrogen electrolysers by 2030 and the production of up to 10 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen in the EU.
In a third phase, from 2030 onwards and towards 2050, renewable hydrogen technologies should reach maturity and be deployed at large scale to reach all hard-to-decarbonise sectors where other alternatives might not be feasible or have higher costs.
From now to 2030, investments in electrolysers could range between €24 and €42 billion.
In addition, over the same period, €220-340 billion would be required to scale up and directly connect 80-120 GW of solar and wind energy production capacity to the electrolysers to provide the necessary electricity.
Investments in retrofitting half of the existing plants with carbon capture and storage are estimated at around €11 billion.
In addition, investments of €65 billion will be needed for hydrogen transport, distribution and storage, and hydrogen refuelling stations.
From now to 2050, investments in production capacities would amount to €180-470 billion in the EU. Finally, adapting end-use sectors to hydrogen consumption and hydrogen-based fuels will also require significant investments. For instance, it takes some €160-200 million to convert a typical EU steel installation coming to end-of-life to hydrogen. In the road transport sector, rolling out an additional 400 small-scale hydrogen refuelling stations (compared to 100 today) could require investments of €850-1000 million.
To support these investments and the emergence of a whole hydrogen eco-system, the Commission kick-starts today the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance – announced in the Commission’s New Industrial Strategy. The Alliance will play a crucial role in facilitating and implementing the actions of this Strategy and supporting investments to scale up production and demand for renewable and low-carbon hydrogen. Through interlinked, sector-based CEO round tables and a policy-makers’ platform, the Alliance will provide a broad forum to coordinate investment by all stakeholders and engage civil society. The key deliverable of the Alliance will be to identify and build up a clear pipeline of viable investment projects.
Nov 15, 2020: The EU Commission wants to speed up the adoption of the Euro-7 emission standard and make it valid from 2025.
The Advisory Group on Vehicle Emission Standards has submitted a study to the EU Commission that calls for the Euro-7 emission standard to come into force across the EU starting in 2025. This significantly stricter emission standard would require cars to only emit 30 milligrams of NOx (nitrogen oxide) per kilometer, and in the second scenario even 10 mg/km. The limit was previously 60 mg for gasoline and 80 mg for diesel vehicles.
June 10, 2020: Release of the German national hydrogen strategy
- 5 GW of industrial hydrogen generation capacity installed by 2030
- 10 GW of industrial hydrogen generation capacity installed by 2035, latest 2040
including the necessary onshore and offshore renewable energy supply
EUR7 billion will be made available for the market ramp-up of hydrogen technologies in Germany and a further EUR2 billion for setting up large-scale hydrogen production plants “Made in Germany” in partner countries, since Germany does not have enough space to install the massive amounts of renewable energies required to make it.
A first alliance with Morocco was announced aiming to construct Africa’s first industrial scale renewable hydrogen project which will save 100,000 tonnes of CO₂ emissions per year.
April 6, 2020: Release of the Dutch Climate Agreement
The National Climate Agreement includes a prominent role for hydrogen:
- 500 MW of installed electrolysis capacity by 2025
- 3-4 GW of installed electrolysis capacity by 2030
- 50 refueling stations by 2025
- 15000 FCEC and 3000 FC heavy duty vehicles by 2025
- Pilot projects to enable use of hydrogen for urban heating by 2030
- 49% CO₂ reduction in 2030 (48.7 Mton)
- 84 TWh of renewable electricity by 2030 (70 % of the mix)
- Phasing out coal in power plants by 2030
- All new cars in 2030 electric
Nov 17, 2020: PM Boris Johnson unveiled a GBP12 billion plan for a green industrial revolution, including a boost in hydrogen production. The plan aims for a 5 GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity and a town heated entirely by hydrogen by 2030. GBP240 million are set to build new hydrogen production facilities. The plan further comprises of a ban on new petrol and diesel cars from 2030 onwards.
Sep 10, 2020: Release of French national hydrogen strategy
The French national hydrogen strategy. It provides for an investment of 7.2 billion euros by 2030 and a hydrogen production capacity of 6.5 GW by 2030. At the same time, a national H₂ committee will be established.
The development of hydrogen-powered vehicles such as trucks, garbage trucks, trains and – in the long term – aeroplanes is to be promoted.
EUR1,5 billion euros will be spent on the construction of electrolysis plants, which will later be powered by renewable energy. Almost one billion euros is blocked until 2023 for the development of hydrogen-powered heavy trucks.