Clean Hydrogen Letter to VP Timmermans

Wide industry coalition call for a Hydrogen Strategy inclusive of all clean hydrogen pathways

Dear Vice-President Timmermans,

Reaching climate neutrality by 2050 in the EU will require the right regulatory framework for scaling up clean technologies to reach deeper emission cuts. Clean hydrogen will play a key role in this process and can make a real difference as a clean energy vector and clean feedstock, particularly for energy-intensive industries, heating, transport and in power generation.

As we firmly believe that Europe’s future energy system needs to take a technology-neutral approach to drive the most cost-efficient and cost-effective decarbonisation, we support a strategy which comprises all clean hydrogen production pathways, including electrolysis, methane pyrolysis and natural gas reforming in combination with carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS). The clean hydrogen economy could provide up to 5.4 million jobs by 2050, and retain existing high-skilled jobs in EU energy-intensive industries. For this to materialise, an inclusive approach to clean hydrogen is necessary.

Today, hydrogen produced from natural gas delivers the lion’s share of the EU’s industrial hydrogen, while hydrogen from clean electricity is produced in much smaller volumes. We fully recognize and support the growth in hydrogen from clean electricity, which will become a significant part of the hydrogen mix in 2050, while market design will need to ensure that the requirements of different consumer groups are met. However, this hydrogen alone will not be enough to develop a commercial market for clean hydrogen in the next decade. It will take time to scale up, which is why we need to deploy all scalable, enabling technologies starting today.

Hydrogen from natural gas with carbon management technologies such as CCUS and pyrolysis will be needed to create the necessary scale and make hydrogen applications cost-competitive. Today, it is two to five times cheaper than renewable hydrogen and its deployment will help reduce the latter’s cost. Furthermore, the flexibility and resilience provided by the gas system significantly reduce investments needed and facilitate the integration of large-scale variable renewable energy.

In order to create these European opportunities in the short-, mid-, and long-term both for economic growth and decarbonization, it is of key importance for the EU to invest in all hydrogen technologies to unlock the nascent hydrogen market, while supporting the development of EU hydrogen ecosystems. We thus urge the EU to create a strong policy framework in support of all forms of clean hydrogen, which would ensure the competitiveness of Europe’s industrial sector and secure high- quality jobs for Europeans.