The EU’s draft hydrogen strategy focuses too heavily on hydrogen produced from renewable electricity, says an industry alliance bringing together major oil and gas companies, as well as the steel and ceramics sector.
A group of industries have rebelled against EU plans to prioritise renewables-based hydrogen, saying the fossil-based sort should also be promoted in order to ramp up production volumes in the early stages of development.
The EU’s current definition of “clean hydrogen” is too narrow and should be broadened, taking a technology-neutral approach, the group argues in a letter sent to the European Commission on Wednesday (24 June).
“Renewables will emerge as a leading source for the production of hydrogen in the long run. Until we get there, the EU must seize existing opportunities and that means using all sources of clean hydrogen,” said James Watson, who chairs the steering committee of GasNaturally, a campaign group from the natural gas sector which was among the 33 signatories of the letter.
The industry alliance is led by oil and gas companies such as Norway’s Equinor, Italy’s ENI, and US major ExxonMobil. Energy trade associations are also represented, including Eurogas, Fuels Europe, Gas Infrastructure Europe, and the International Association of Oil and Gas Producers (IOGP).
But it also includes trade associations such as the European steel association Eurofer and the European ceramics industry association Cerame-Unie, which are seen as potential big consumers of hydrogen.
EU plans for clean hydrogen emerged last week in a draft version of the European Commission’s hydrogen strategy, due to be unveiled on 8 July.
“Renewable hydrogen” produced from wind and solar power is “the priority focus” to achieve the EU’s climate neutrality goal by 2050, the draft said, even though it also recognises the role played by “fossil-based hydrogen” in the transition.