The European Commission on Wednesday mapped its vision to promote the sustainable and renewable use of hydrogen, a sector that is expected to attract up to €470 billion in investment with the European Union aiming for net zero emissions by 2050.
Industry across Europe already uses around 8 million tonnes of hydrogen every year, yet most of it is made from natural gas that goes through a process which releases emissions that contribute towards global warming, being referred to as grey hydrogen.
The EU has set its sights on trying to develop carbon-neutral or green hydrogen for use from 2030-2050 in sectors which are extremely hard to reduce the carbon footprint in, or else where shifting to electrical means is extremely difficult or else impossible.
Climate Commissioner Frans Timmermans has stated that the EU needed to expand the use of green hydrogen as much as possible.
Timmermans also acknowledged the need for there to be a transitional phase, with this phase requiring blue hydrogen that is made from fossil fuels, but the carbon that is generated from fossil fuels is captured and stored instead of being released into the air.
Timmermans stated that the first phase that starts from now till 2024, will involve increasing the production capacity by six times by installing hydrogen electrolysers that have the capacity to produce up to one million tonnes of green hydrogen.
The second phase, which will be from 2025-2030, will allow production of up to 10 million tonnes of green hydrogen.
The European Commission also added that investments in renewable hydrogen could reach levels of around €180 billion and €470 billion by 2050.
In order to help boost green hydrogen even more, the European Commission launched the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance on Wednesday, with this bringing unity between industry leaders, civil society, ministers and the European Investment Bank.
The industry is very keen on hydrogen as being a means through which a net zero emission economy can be achieved whilst using existing infrastructure.
Marco Mensink, director general of the chemical industry association Cefic, stated that “Next to being an alternative fuel and energy carrier, hydrogen can become an important low-carbon building block for the chemical industry’s production processes.” The European Commission added that the policy should be followed by very strict legislative proposals in 2021.