Renewables

EU promotes innovation, offers funds during European Hydrogen Week

EU innovation funds European Hydrogen Week

Photo: FCH JU

Published

November 26, 2020

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Published:

November 26, 2020

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Companies and institutions are announcing projects and joint efforts as the first European Hydrogen Week is being held with a focus on technologies that can help achieve carbon neutrality.

After the launch of the Clean Hydrogen Alliance in July, the European Hydrogen Week was organized by the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) and the European Commission to bring together the key players and encourage solutions for renewable hydrogen that contribute to the energy transition.

A string of online events from November 23 to 27 including the upcoming H2 Forum are dedicated to the role of the fuel in achieving the European Union’s carbon neutrality target by 2050.

Green hydrogen is produced by electrolysis using renewable energy, so there are no emissions of greenhouse gases. In the blue and grey hydrogen technology, the molecule is produced from fossil fuels. The fuel is used in transportation, for energy storage and production and sectoral integration, while there are also opportunities to apply the technology in energy-intensive industries like steelmaking.

One of the targets in the EU’s strategy is to produce 10 million tons of renewable hydrogen within ten years.

The debate is still on within the EU on whether blue hydrogen, obtained from natural gas, should be supported as a transition fuel within the European Green Deal. One of the targets in its hydrogen strategy is to produce 10 million tons of renewable hydrogen within ten years.

Support for innovations

Within the first European Hydrogen Week, the Mama-Mea project got the Best Innovation Award for its high-speed production of membrane electrode assemblies. Everywh2ere was recognized for the outreach in making hydrogen solutions affordable in the music industry, large-scale film festivals, construction sites and other activities. A group of projects for better-performing stationary fuel-cell systems was pronounced the best success story.

Pilot projects are the biggest segment for now in the hydrogen sector

The sector is rapidly expanding, though for now pilot projects are the biggest segment. Horizon 2020 launched a research and innovation call worth EUR 186 million in September that includes support for demonstrating a 100 MW electrolyser as well as green airports and ports as multimodal hubs for sustainable and smart mobility.

Unveiling major projects

At the start of the European Hydrogen Week, Hydrogen Europe President Valérie Bouillon-Delporte said the industry group intends to roll out 100,000 hydrogen-powered trucks and 1,000 refueling stations for them by the end of the coming decade.

WindEurope and SolarPower Europe used the opportunity to announce the launch of the Renewable Hydrogen Coalition of innovators, entrepreneurs and companies.

On the same day, German state-owned railway company Deutsche Bahn and industrial giant Siemens said they would put a test train running on hydrogen into operation in 2024, replacing a diesel-fueled unit, and set up a filling station. The project is aimed at saving 330 tons of carbon dioxide in one year. The train should have and operating range of 600 kilometers.

Of note, Italy is reportedly preparing a hydrogen strategy, targeting EUR 10 billion in investment. The country is said to target the installation of electrolyzers with the capacity of 5 GW by 2030.

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