FuelsEurope comments on the Hydrogen Strategy – July 2020

FuelsEurope recently published its Clean Fuels for All pathway, describing how the transport sector could to contribute to the EU’s climate neutrality ambition by 2050. With this pathway, the refining industry outlines its support to the EU Green Deal’s ambitions. The publication today by the European Commission of its European Hydrogen strategy and Energy System Integration are important steps that will play a key role in the Industrial Strategy for climate neutrality and can enable the low-carbon transition of EU refineries.

John Cooper, Director General FuelsEurope stated “the European refining industry recognises that there is no business as usual and, as outlined in the “Clean Fuels for All pathway”, under the right policy conditions, by 2050 every litre of liquid fuel for transport could be climate neutral, enabling the decarbonisation of road transport, aviation and shipping. The energy transition will require a combination of energy technologies that would bring resilience and flexibility to the EU energy system and would require an increasing amount of hydrogen.”

FuelsEurope welcomes therefore the recognition in both the European Hydrogen Strategy and the Energy System Integration that sustainable liquid biofuels and hydrogen-derived synthetic fuels will play an essential role in the decarbonisation of transport. We welcome also the recognition that Carbon Capture Storage and Utilization are important contributors to a climate-neutral energy system.

Refineries have a prominent role in the hydrogen value chain, as they are large users of hydrogen and at the same time they generate hydrogen during the manufacturing process of fuels, supplemented by dedicated hydrogen production plants.

Based on the above considerations, we call on the EU institutions to take into account the following recommendations:

  • Innovation and investments in all promising technologies are key, and we recommend that the EU Hydrogen Strategy takes a comprehensive approach by promoting all forms of clean hydrogen – not limiting its definition to just hydrogen from water electrolysis with renewable power;
  • Embrace the full opportunities under the Hydrogen and the Energy System Integration strategy to develop a market for hydrogen and for low-carbon liquid fuels, including hydrogen-derived synthetic fuels. Amongst other measures, a cross-sectoral approach, linking the regulations for CO2 reduction in vehicles and fuels, would generate the carbon signal necessary to unlock investments in Low-Carbon Liquid;
  • Acknowledge refineries as potential energy hubs within industrial clusters, considering that refineries are often integrated with (petro) chemicals plants, are already energy and materials hubs, produce and store energy with the potential to expand this role;
  • Recognise the potential key role of refineries in a circular energy system, for their capability to recycle biological waste and residues from agriculture, food and forestry into fuels and other.