Expert Paper – Boosting the EU Hydrogen Economy
In the last two years, the momentum for the deployment of hydrogen (H2) worldwide has accelerated in an unprecedented manner. Globally, close to 700 projects have been announced, and $250 billion of investments are required to develop the projects announced until 2030. Industrial actors from a wide range of sectors as well as governments have published ambitious hydrogen strategies, but the systemic nature of the energy transition and the role of hydrogen in such a transformation still leave fundamental questions to be resolved.
First of all, hydrogen is an energy vector, and requires a primary energy to be produced. In that regard it is similar to electricity. Primary energies like coal, oil or gas are directly usable for many applications, but most can only be found in a limited number of geographies. The specific nature of hydrogen leads to a set of questions which need to be investigated to guide policy making and industrial decisions.
1. Are hydrogen usages equivalent to natural gas usages?
2. Can hydrogen replace natural gas?
3. Should hydrogen be produced locally and/or be imported?
4. What should the priorities be in terms of investment for hydrogen?
5. What are the main regulatory and financing hurdles to enable hydrogen deployment?
6. How to ensure competitiveness and adequate supply of hydrogen to industrial users?
An open discussion between policy makers and the private sector along the whole value chain of hydrogen would contribute to shed light on those questions and ensure sound decisions are made to contribute to reach the carbon neutrality objective.