Hydrogen is no longer a niche
According to a report published in April by Hydrogen Europe “hydrogen has seen unprecedented development in the year 2020. From innovative niche technology, it is fast becoming a systemic element in the European Union’s (EU) efforts to transition to a climate-neutral society in 2050.
It will become a crucial energy vector and the other leg of the energy transition – alongside renewable electricity – by replacing coal, oil and gas across different segments of the economy”.
According to the report:
“The European Hydrogen Strategy has set ambitious targets with a view to developing a hydrogen economy. (…) Now, the EU needs to “act” to turn ambition into reality.
The current hydrogen policy and regulatory elements of hydrogen are distributed over gas, electricity, fuels, emissions and industrial frameworks, with limited overarching coordination.
It is time that hydrogen moves from an afterthought to a central pillar of the energy system and its key role in delivering climate neutrality means it merits a dedicated framework.”
Hydrogen Europe in its report proposed “Hydrogen Act”. This Act” is not a single piece of legislation, it is intended to be a vision for an umbrella framework aimed at harmonising and integrating all separate hydrogen related actions and legislations.
The Hydrogen Act focuses on infrastructure and market aspects, describing three phases of development:
1) The kick-start phase
2) The ramp-up phase
3) The market-growth phase.
“The proposed “Hydrogen Act” is not a single piece of legislation; it is intended to be a vision for an umbrella framework aimed at harmonising and integrating all separate hydrogen-related actions and legislations.”
Hydrogen Europe’s proposals are understandable from the point of view of hydrogen sector interests.
However, the EU administration should be wary of creating ‘protective umbrellas’ over selected technologies. Their creation will be based mainly on ideology. This may lead to a reduction in the competitiveness of the European Union’s economy, especially as Hydrogen Energy concludes “Fossil fuels, including natural gas, to be largely phased out to achieve a net zero emission energy system by 2050.”
Moreover, “from 2035 to 2050, the remaining natural gas infrastructure, transport pipelines, salt cavern storage, and distribution pipelines need to be converted to hydrogen.”