European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has championed the hydrogen economy during her keynote speech at European Hydrogen Week 2023.
Asserting that the 27-bloc made a promise to invest and develop the hydrogen economy last year, she stressed that “it is now becoming a reality”.
“The hydrogen economy is blooming,” she said in her keynote address delivered by video message.
She also said that the first hydrogen busses are running in European cities and construction works have “just begun” in the port of Rotterdam to build a hydrogen network that will span for over one thousand kilometres.
“This week, we are launching the first auction of the European Hydrogen Bank that is backed by €800 million in European funding and will attract private sector financing and result in commercial off-take agreements.”
She further stated that in spring 2024, the EU will launch the second round of auction, reaching a total value of €3 billion.
In 2022, hydrogen accounted for less than two per cent of Europe’s energy consumption and was primarily used to produce chemical products, such as plastics and fertilisers. A total of 96% per cent of this hydrogen was produced with natural gas, resulting in significant amounts of CO2 emissions.
The priority for the EU is to develop renewable hydrogen and it aims to produce 10 million tonnes and import 10 million tonnes by 2030, as part of its efforts to reduce emissions and lessen the EU’s impact on the climate crisis.
The EU strategy on hydrogen (COM/2020/301) was adopted in 2020 and suggested policy action points in five areas: investment support; support production and demand; creating a hydrogen market and infrastructure; research and cooperation and international cooperation
The full list of 20 key actions was implemented by the first quarter of 2022. Hydrogen is also an important part of the EU strategy for energy system integration.
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