The European Commission’s hydrogen strategy is a major encouragement for using blue hydrogen in the context of the energy transition. In its strategy paper published on July 8, 2020, the Commission acknowledges that blue hydrogen – which it refers to as low-carbon hydrogen – will enable industry to achieve a substantial reduction in its greenhouse gas emissions before 2030.
In the period after 2030, blue hydrogen will also prove an indispensable building block for the realisation of a climate-neutral economy over the course of the next two decades. Furthermore, investments in this energy carrier will also contribute to the recovery of the European economy in the years ahead.
Alice Krekt, program director of the Deltalinqs Climate Program, is delighted with the European Commission’s endorsement of blue hydrogen. ‘This is completely in line with our vision. To realise the set climate goals, you need to be able to drastically reduce your CO2 emissions in the short term. And this is possible with blue hydrogen, since we can produce and use this energy carrier on an industrial scale before 2030. The H-vision partners are also making considerable headway in the development of this project. Together, we are taking significant steps forward in Rotterdam’s transformation into a major hydrogen hub.’
H-vision focuses on the production of blue hydrogen, which is made using large volumes of refinery gases and natural gas off the grid. The CO2 that is released during its production is captured directly at the source and stored in reservoirs in the North Sea seabed. This means that blue hydrogen can be used as a low-carbon solution for the generation of high-temperature heat for process industry and the production of electric power.
The European Commission expects that developments in the utilisation of hydrogen will be accompanied by tailored legislation. For example, the strategy paper underlines that specific policy will be drawn up for certain regions and sectors. In view of the country’s extensive industrial cluster combined with its strategic location, this could well be to the main advantage for the Netherlands.
The European Commission also announced the establishment of a European hydrogen alliance that will be actively working towards the development of an EU-wide hydrogen ecosystem. This endeavour will also involve providing financial support to relevant projects.
‘A positive signal,’ said Alice Krekt of Deltalinqs, who coordinates the H-vision project. ‘At present, the regulations for supporting hydrogen projects are not yet in line with the importance attached to our low-carbon hydrogen. We primarily intend to use the hydrogen produced within the H-vision project as a fuel for industrial processes, but the current subsidy scheme does not yet provide for this. I hope that with this set course we wille take another step in the right direction in the Netherlands.'