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ISSN 2753-7757 (Online)

Powering up Europe’s hydrogen economy

7/12/2022

8 min read

Hyundai NEXO hydrogen fuel cell car with bonnet raised to show close up of engine Photo: Dr Artur Braun 
Hydrogen powers up: the Hyundai NEXO hydrogen fuel cell car is part of a new generation of hydrogen powered cars, although the main applications are likely to be for commercial vehicles which can return to depots for refuelling

Photo: Dr Artur Braun 

Europe’s hydrogen strategy is gradually evolving. But the cost of scaling up towards using renewable energy to produce 10mn tonnes of green hydrogen by 2030 is still a challenge. Liz Newark in Brussels and Keith Nuthall look at a raft of European Union (EU) initiatives.

When European energy experts consider the future of hydrogen as an energy source, assessments sound remarkably like the comments made about wind or solar power in the late 1990s. Yes, it’s a great idea, but it would help if production and processing were less expensive.

 

Those assessments were reflected in a European Investment Bank (EIB) report released in April 2022. ‘The main barrier to the hydrogen market’s development is the fact that low-carbon hydrogen and its applications are currently relatively expensive compared to existing alternatives. Without compensating mechanisms, the current cost gap (or green premium) of low-carbon hydrogen limits investors’ ability and willingness to invest in projects,’ the report noted.

 

Despite that, the hydrogen strategy of the EU is targeting installation of 6 GW of electrolyser capacity by 2024, scaling up to 40 GW by 2030, which will require €24–42bn in electrolyser investment alone by 2030.

 

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