Hydrogen: the key carrier of Europe’s energy future?

Where? Hybrid

When? March 15, 2022 2:00 pm

Price? Gratis

Is the EU in a position to supply itself with hydrogen, and if not does that open up geopolitical and economic vulnerabilities? 

Expanding hydrogen use is a central plank in Brussels’s Green Deal to reach the EU’s climate neutrality goal by mid-century. Hydrogen has been hailed as the “missing link” to decarbonize industry and transport, substituting for dirtier fuels like coal in steel making, diesel in trucks and cars – and eventually natural gas. 

Several member states are also betting big on hydrogen releasing their own strategies and making important investments as part of their national recovery plans. While the  EU hopes to become a global hydrogen power, it will also need to import large part of its hydrogen needs from third countries. This will have impact on the security of supply, tying the EU to supply chains extending to areas like North Africa. The EU also faces a race for crucial technologies like the electrolyzers used to produce hydrogen, where China dominates the world market and likely costs repercussion on the industry and consumers.  

Questions to be addressed include:

  • What regulatory challenges will the Commission’s temporary hydrogen advisory platform tackle first? 
  • How will hydrogen hubs and valleys manage the pipeline buildout in anticipation of an open transmission system by 2030? Some initial EU hydrogen production projects have been announced, what is the time horizon for a domestic clean hydrogen market? 
  • The green transition comes with costs: how can the EU switch from fossil fuels to hydrogen and at what cost to industry and consumers? 
  • Have the Fit for 55 legislative proposals helped or hurt hydrogen’s expansion prospects, what changes need to happen in upcoming negotiations? 
  • The EU Emissions Trading System may be extended to cover building heating and transport, will this better position hydrogen to be used in those sectors over electricity? 
  • How can Europe strike the balance between lowering CO2 emissions while remaining competitive on the deployment of hydrogen? What is the financial “sweet spot” and where in the EU do the low-carbon production cost numbers add up?