EU Places Stakes on Clean Hydrogen for Economy Boost

European Commission


European Commission, the executive branch of European Union revealed on Wednesday its plans of ramping up the production of clean hydrogen to achieve climate neutrality by 2050. The unveiling of EU’s plan came amid the criticism union has been facing from environmental activists, climate change advocators and Green lawmakers, who are insisting on complete emitting of hydrogen which is produced from fossil fuels. 

European Commission elaborated on its plan that it would directly help in EU’s economy recovery from Covid-19 pandemic. The project is set to include investments in sector of renewable hydrogen which is set to approximate 180 to 470 billion euros by the middle of the century. 

In current scenario, the majority of hydrogen is produced from fossil fuels like coal and natural gas – this is Europe’s 2% of energy mix. EU aims to increase this to 14% by 2050, and this is planned to be achieved by decarbonizing the hydrogen production using renewable sources of energy like solar and wind energies. 

Frans Timmermans, the Vice President of European Commission said, “We need a complete overhaul of the current energy system, which is completely becoming a relic of the past.” Timmermans is the EU’s in charge of environmental issues. 

The commission elaborated that by 2050 a quarter of world’s energy demands can be met by switching over to “green hydrogen”. Green hydrogen doesn’t emit carbon dioxide and can be effectively used in industries like steel and chemical manufacturing plants, that currently rely on fossil fuels. Furthermore, the clean hydrogen will potentially reduce carbon emissions by 90 million tonnes per year by 2030 in European industries. 

However, other types of lower-carbon sources would be needed transitionally for a short period, commission says. Timmermans said, “During the transition, we will also need decarbonized natural gas, and nuclear, too, to make sure we reach the required volume of hydrogen to cut prices.”

European Commission has a set goal of installing facilities for renewable hydrogen production with 6 gigawatts capacity by 2024. By 2030 the goal is to increase the capacity by installing 40 gigawatts of renewable hydrogen electrolyzers with production reaching 10 million tonnes. It must however be noted that currently EU has only 1 gigawatt of electrolyzers installed. Timmermans said stressing on the importance of this deal, “We need both the industry and the NGOs which has helped us creating the Green Deal. I want them at the table.”

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