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CATF Statement on European Commission Hydrogen Strategy

July 9, 2020 Work Area: Zero-Carbon Fuels

The European Commission yesterday released a Hydrogen Strategy that could render Europe a world leader in decarbonization with hydrogen fuels, including an emphasis on enabling infrastructure and utilization in industrial and transportation markets. The Clean Air Task Force (CATF) applauds that direction and looks forward to joining environmental and industry collaborators during the policy development and implementation. CATF also welcomes the recommendations to seek new opportunities for cooperation on decarbonized hydrogen with neighboring countries and regions as a way to propel global decarbonization.

The strategy contains low- and zero-carbon technology options that European hydrogen producers might use to meet the EU’s decarbonization objectives. With the EU’s pioneering role in decarbonization with hydrogen, however, the EU should develop multiple paths to potential success via a diversity of options. This approach would increase chances of success for hydrogen commercialization within Europe, and also create spillover effects globally. State-of-the-art fossil hydrogen systems can capture more than 95% of the CO2 that they produce, and the Commission’s recognition of the need to address methane emissions as well through the Methane Strategy is to be applauded. In addition, hydrogen from new nuclear energy systems with electrolyzers are as “clean” as renewable hydrogen systems. An approach that also leads to the commercialization of hydrogen produced from fossil fuels with carbon capture, as well as nuclear, would address the risk of not meeting renewable energy expansion targets for their dual purpose – hydrogen and clean electricity production – while creating multiple options, and taking into account individual countries’ resources, reducing the risk stemming from relying on a single, global path to decarbonization. To this end, dedicated policy mechanisms are necessary to scale these multiple options of decarbonized hydrogen production.

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