Green hydrogen has the potential to reduce European dependence on Russian oil, boost energy security at a time of volatility and accelerate progress towards climate goals – and it is gaining attention from governments and industry leaders alike. But challenges including high cost and a lack of infrastructure risk putting the brakes on large-scale adoption, while corporate energy commitments may not all be as they seem. The future of fuel will depend on whether the big European players are truly committed to a green hydrogen transition.
Fuelling the energy transition
Recent advancements in green hydrogen technology are increasing its utility across a number of industries and geographies. New hydrogen projects have been announced by several major energy stakeholders including UK-based Carlton Power and French hydrogen pioneer HDF Energy. Global renewables leader Iberdrola is promoting Spain’s largest green hydrogen centre, while the Spanish Ministry of Science has awarded recent grants to hydrogen flight projects. Meanwhile, the UK and Norway have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen their cooperation on hydrogen, and Germany and Denmark have agreed to cooperate on the roll-out of green hydrogen transmission infrastructure.
Green hydrogen offers European countries the opportunity to increase energy security and reduce their dependence on Russian gas. According to the Oxford Sustainable Finance Group, the cost of replacing Russian gas with green technologies by 2028 could be almost paid off through savings over the next 30 years.
In 2023, the EU announced plans to phase out the use of natural gas and increase production of renewable energy by a third by 2030, offering incentives to non-fossil energy producers to encourage them to expand operations. Meanwhile, the European Commission recently announced the creation of the European Hydrogen Bank, which hopes to establish a full hydrogen value chain in the EU as part of the EU’s ambitions to end important of Russian fossil fuels and achieve net-zero by 2050.
Hitting the brakes
Hydrogen has significant potential to accelerate the decarbonisation of transportation. For vehicles requiring high energy densities and long-range journeys, hydrogen offers an effective source of energy. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), tailpipe carbon …
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