Hydrogen (H2) is at the heart of the European Commission’s strategy to decarbonize the energy system in order to achieve the climate neutrality in 2050.
In addition to its current use in the chemical industry (fertilizers, desulphurization, etc.), it is planned to use it in heavy industry (chemicals and steelmaking) and long-distance transport like aviation and shipping.
FECER indicates that H2 does not exist in its natural state, and its production requires large amounts of energy that must meet low-carbon emission criteria.
According to the European Commission, the annual production of H2 within the European Union should reach 20 million tonnes by 2030, divided into 10 million tonnes produced in Europe and 10 million tonnes imported. 10 million tonnes of H2 produced using large-scale electrolysers corresponds to a consumption of 550 TWh of electricity, generated by renewables, according to some European leaders. But FECER recalls that the European Union’s electricity consumption in 2022 has been 2641 TWh, of which 1050 TWh has been attributed to renewables.
Moreover, importing up to 10 million tonnes of H2 based on production from renewables presupposes the existence of a low-carbon emission H2 market, which does not exist and should therefore be set up in countries capable of supplying low-carbon electricity (wind turbines, solar panels, etc.). Substantial EU investment in these countries would have to be made, with the geopolitical risk that this entails.
In view of the high objectives set by the decarbonization of energy, it would be necessary to broaden the sources of H2 production with zero greenhouse gas emissions.
FECER is asking that nuclear power, which meets low-carbon emission criteria, also be considered for H2 production. Other approaches to producing hydrogen with zero greenhouse gas emissions must be considered too.
Methane, for example, which is mainly contained in biogas generated by anaerobic digestion, may also be a source of H2 via pyrolysis process. It is one of the subjects of study that goes in the direction of energy decarbonization based on low carbon technological neutrality which is essential to meet the European climate goals.
Moreover, FECER considers that R&D in the field of hydrogen and its applications should be encouraged : H2 production technologies without greenhouse gas emissions, electrolysers, Carbon Capture and Storage, aircraft motors, fuel cells batteries, etc.