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The EU banks on hydrogen for clean energy

June 1, 2023
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Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Goals call for rapidly scaling up hydrogen production, creating opportunities for Wisconsin companies with innovative technologies in the field.

The European Union (EU) is focusing on hydrogen as a key toward achieving clean energy and, at the same time, reducing dependence on Russian fossil fuels.

Goals of the EU’s major initiative in this area, REPowerEU, include installing at least 40 gigawatts (GW) of renewable hydrogen electrolyzers—which use electricity to split water into hydrogen and oxygen—by 2030 and increasing the use of green hydrogen in industry, transportation, and heating.

EU President Ursula von der Leyen said, in her State of the Union address in September 2022, that hydrogen “can be a game changer” for Europe.

The EU set up the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance in 2020, bringing together more than 1,500 representatives of industry, government, research, investors, and communities to support the creation of a hydrogen industry in Europe.

In May 2022, the alliance held a summit in which the electrolyzer industry committed to raising manufacturing capacity tenfold by 2025. That would increase annual production to 10 million tons of renewable hydrogen by 2030—a goal of REPowerEU, which also calls for importing 10 million tons of clean hydrogen by 2030.

“Hydrogen is expected to play an important role in achieving EU objectives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a minimum of 55% by 2030 and reach net zero emissions by 2050,” the EU said.

The EU is also establishing a hydrogen bank to provide financial assistance to support the development of innovative hydrogen technologies.

Germany is at the forefront of hydrogen deployment in Europe and has established a national hydrogen strategy to develop the domestic market. According to the International Energy Agency, Germany has allocated €7 billion ($7.6 billion USD) for developing green hydrogen, with projects that include building production capacity of 5 GW by 2030 and another 5 GW by 2040, promoting industrial sector use of hydrogen fuel, and encouraging the use of green hydrogen in aircraft engines.

The EU’s goals for renewable hydrogen create opportunities for Wisconsin companies involved in green technologies, hydrogen production, and hydrogen storage solutions.

To learn more and make connections within those industries, companies can attend Hannover Messe, April 22-26, 2024, in Hannover, Germany, or the Hydrogen Technology Expo Europe, Oct. 23-24, 2024, in Hamburg, Germany.

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