Hydrogen producers doubt climate targets


Correspondent in Brussels

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The European Comission It is putting the final touches on the legislation that should define the characteristics of the future hydrogen industry, which will be an essential element in the energy transition. More than 50 representatives of the European hydrogen industry have sent a letter to the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and other community officials, to warn about what they consider to be “serious deficiencies” in the details that have been leaked about the content of the works and that if approved in their opinion “would prevent the EU from reaching its climate neutrality objectives »And would jeopardize the current leadership of European industry in the field of electrolyzers.

The essential issue that the Commission is trying to define is the conditions under which hydrogen production would be considered ‘green’ depending on the origin of the electricity used.

At the beginning of the year, the commissioner of Kadri Simson Energy announced that, as part of the review of the renewable energy directive in Europe, the Commission it would prepare an EU-wide database to certify the carbon footprint of hydrogen in a harmonized way, which in principle ‘will include a comprehensive certification for low-carbon and renewable fuels and gases. And it will come with an updated set of incentives to promote the use of these fuels in various sectors.

Currently, hydrogen production is practically dependent on fossil fuels and environmental movements insist that if this is not changed, its main effect will be to increase the demand for electricity. According to the calculations of the NGO “Transport & Environment” (T&E) If the hydrogen-producing industry is to achieve the objectives set by the European Commission before 2030, in the current circumstances there would be an increase in the demand for electricity of 17%, which is why they consider it “unwise” not to link it to the installation of new renewable sources of electricity.

The new legislation is what is called a “delegated act” and is drawn up by the Commission on its own when it comes to highly technical matters that countries leave in the hands of Community technicians. Once they know the result, the governments could reject it but in no case modify it. The Commission could also postpone the decision if it does not see a possible consensus, although the current directive on renewable energy It obliges it to publish before the end of the year the rules that will define when a hydrogens production is considered renewable or not. In principle, it is scheduled to be announced on the 14th.

Green hydrogen is considered an essential strategic element to decarbonize industries such as steel and chemicals, which cannot fully electrify and need energy-dense fuels to generate high-temperature heat for their industrial processes. The European Comission maintains that the hydrogen will play a key role in achieving the climate goals of the EU and that 24% of world energy demand in 2050 could be satisfied with hydrogen made with electricity from renewable sources.

Conclusion, day 14

The Commission could also postpone the decision if it does not see a possible consensus, although the current directive on renewable energies requires it to publish before the end of the year the rules that will define when hydrogen production is considered or not renewable. In principle, it is scheduled to be announced on the 14th of this month.

The green hydrogen is considered an essential strategic element to decarbonize industries such as steel and chemicals, which cannot fully electrify and need energy-dense fuels to generate high-temperature heat for their industrial processes.

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