A look back at the achievements of Europe in hydrogen

Europe hydrogen

Ahead of its State of the Union address in Strasbourg on 13 September, the European Commission has published a document summarising the actions it took over the past year. We have extracted the key facts about hydrogen in Europe.

First of all, a symbol that demonstrate the support of Europe for hydrogen: the day after her speech, President Ursula von der Leyen will travel to Copenhagen to become the godmother of the world’s first container ship powered by green methanol. “This event demonstrates the power of the European Green Deal to incentivise industry to decarbonise and innovate,” says the Commission. By 2030, a quarter of Maersk’s ships should be using green fuels.

Renewable energies outstrip fossil fuels

As a foreword, the EU highlights the REPowerEU plan, which has brought energy prices back to pre-war levels and boosted renewable energies. In May 2023, for the first time in its history, Europe produced more electricity from wind and solar power than from fossil fuels. REPowerEU is just the beginning. “We are accelerating the clean energy transition via the implementation of NextGenerationEU, with close to EUR 270 billion available to Member States to implement their planned investment and reforms. This includes expanding renewable energy, rolling out greener vehicles and public transport and making our buildings and public spaces more energy efficient, says the Commission.

Marine and aviation sustainable fuels

Among the advances is the decarbonisation of mobility (for which hydrogen can play a key role). The adoption of the revised CO2 emission standards for cars and vans, the regulation on infrastructure for alternative fuels and the FuelEU Maritime and ReFuelEU Aviation regulations represent crucial milestones in the decarbonisation of the EU transport sector. The establishment of a fully interoperable and user-friendly network of recharging points and refuelling stations across the EU, coupled with binding targets for sustainable fuels for the aviation and maritime sectors, will reduce net greenhouse gas emissions and stimulate the uptake of zero-emission vehicles, vessels and aircraft. It is now vital to swiftly reach agreement on the CO2 standards for heavy-duty vehicles.

Rules for renewable hydrogen

“Looking further into the future, hydrogen emerges as a key instrument for decarbonising our economy and industry,” the document states. “The EU is leading the development of a global hydrogen economy. The co-legislators are still working on the hydrogen and gas decarbonisation package, establishing a framework for the emerging hydrogen economy, but the EU now has rules that define renewable hydrogen. Furthermore, the Commission, the hydrogen industry, the scientific community and EU regions signed a joint declaration on 1 March 2023 with a commitment to stepping up and accelerating joint action on research into and the development, demonstration and deployment of hydrogen valleys.”

Europe: a Green Deal involving hydrogen

In order to keep pace in the race towards ‘net zero’ and to strengthen the competitiveness of EU industry, the Commission unveiled the Green Deal Industrial Plan on 1 February 2023. The plan aims to create a more suitable environment for strengthening the EU’s capacity to produce the net-zero technologies needed to meet the EU’s ambitious climate targets.

Do you want to learn more about hydrogen in Europe? Then our latest 2 articles on the subject should interest you. You can read them here and there

Article written by Laurent Meillaud and translated by Logan King 

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About the author

Logan King

Logan King

After an unusual career (3 years in the French army followed by a 3-year degree in Applied Foreign Languages), it was my passion for environmental issues that finally caught up with me and led me to join Seiya Consulting and H2 Today in June 2022. First as an end-of-study internship, then as Marketing & Communication Manager and translator at Hydrogen Today.

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