With the coronavirus pandemic and the shutdown of big parts of the European economy, the 2x40GW Green Hydrogen Initiative can serve as a blueprint for a bigger EU recovery, Hydrogen Europe Secretary General Jorgo Chatzimarkakis told New Europe on April 16.
The 2x40GW Green Hydrogen Initiative aims to promote a massive increase of electrolyser production within the EU in order to support green hydrogen production.
Announcing the publication of the paper, Chatzimarkakis told New Europe the 2×40 GW initiative can be regarded as a “great asset” for the implementation of the EU Green Deal. “What we foresee here is that basically todays Marshall Plan would be the Green Deal. So, a post-corona contract should also be a climate contract – so, a CCC-Corona Climate Contract – and the Green Deal as foreseen was a quite good project to be regarded as a Marshall Plan,” he said, adding that it has to be done correctly and the 2x40GW Green Hydrogen Initiative would feature prominently in the Green Deal among other initiatives and among other technologies. “So, on one hand, you have the industrial part and, on the other hand, you have the legislative environment you need to create that would then make it possible to ramp it up,” Chatzimarkakis said.
European Commission Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans stated, in a recent discussion with the hydrogen industry, the support to make “a success of this initiative”.
The 2x40GW Green Hydrogen Initiative presents concrete next steps to underpin a concrete industrial roll-out. A roadmap for a 40 GW electrolyser capacity in the EU by 2030 shows a 6 GW captive market (hydrogen production at the demand location) and 34 GW hydrogen market (hydrogen production near the resource), Hydrogen Europe said.
A roadmap for 40 GW electrolyser capacity in North Africa and Ukraine by 2030 includes 7.5 GW hydrogen production for the domestic market and a 32.5 GW hydrogen production capacity for export. If a 2×40 GW electrolyser market in 2030 is realised alongside the required additional renewable energy capacity, renewable hydrogen will become cost-competitive with fossil (grey) hydrogen. By realising a 2×40 GW electrolyser capacity, producing green hydrogen, about 82 million-tonne CO2 emissions per year could be avoided in the EU, Hydrogen Europe said.
Chatzimarkakis told New Europe that the plan was set up before the COVID-19 pandemic, however, with the coronavirus crisis and the shutdown of big parts of the economy and also with the danger of losing the innovative aspects of a value towards hydrogen, this plan becomes like a stepping stone for a bigger recovery plan. “This is a very concrete plan how to step up, to ramp up innovative but also sustainable technologies that, at the same time, make sure our energy system works and new jobs are created and we fulfill the Paris Agreement criteria. So, its’s a win-win-win situation,” he said. “But it needs after the corona break a moment of setting the course and this moment will be very soon and this plan describes what would happen after you press that button,” Chatzimarkakis said.
“It’s a roadmap for the next 10 years and 40GW are planned to be in Europe basically decentralised – some of the centralised but most of the decentralised. We have already 50 power-to-gas projects in countries like Germany. So, 50 which is considerable but, of course, there are smaller ones. And the outside European dimension: Morocco, or let’s say, Northern Africa, Arabic Peninsula and also Ukraine. This is more of a hydrogen factory. This is 24/7 very centralised, balk production of hydrogen, cheap. And then, of course, it needs to be shipped or dissipated via pipeline to Europe. So, it will be imported hydrogen. However, this is bigger volumes and more central,” he said.
Turning to the electrolysers sector, Chatzimarkakis said, green hydrogen will only become economically viable, when the framework conditions change. “If you want to ramp up green hydrogen, you need to have the electrolyser technology. You need to build electrolysers and that’s an area where Europe is leading,” he said and added: “Ideally by ramping up this industry you would support the European electrolyser industry very much. And it’s not only startups and SMEs, some of them are quite big companies like Siemens or the world market leader so far Thyssenkrupp, so it’s well-known companies that would now enter into new fields, which is very good.
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