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What is the future of the hydrogen market in Europe in the coming years?

The European Hydrogen Week 2022, the largest annual event dedicated to hydrogen in Europe, was held in Brussels, Belgium, from October 24 to 28. This event, co-organized by the Clean Hydrogen Partnership and its members, the European Commission, Hydrogen Europe, and Hydrogen Europe Research, brought together C-level industry representatives, policymakers, industry influencers, academics, and researchers moving towards a carbon-neutral hydrogen economy.

This 5-day event provided sessions on hydrogen focusing on industry trends, geopolitics, transportation and infrastructure, sustainable mobility, regulations, financing, certifications, and new technologies. Hinicio participated as a visitor and moderator of one of the panels, by attending the “Women in Green Hydrogen Breakfast”, a conversation with women industry leaders on diversity, current and future efforts needed to address climate change, energy security, and the role women can play in changing the world.

Wouter Vanhoudt, Head of Business Development at HINICIO and the project leader of CertifHy, also moderated the panel “Hydrogen as a global commodity, the role of Guarantees of Origin”, and the Hinicio team strengthened strategic relationships with the hydrogen industry leaders and decision-makers to stay up to date on hydrogen technology advances and market development in Europe.

While European Hydrogen Week 2022 brought many discussions throughout the many events that took place during these days, it provided first-hand insight into what could be the future of the hydrogen market in Europe within the next few years, with the following conclusions:

  1. In the next two years, hydrogen projects in Europe are expected to reach a final investment decision.
  2. Despite the regional energy crisis, the use of cheap fossil fuels will become obsolete and will be replaced using cheap renewable alternatives.
  3. To create certainty for investments in renewable hydrogen projects, the EU Commission will listen to the EU Parliament, establishing a pragmatic delegated act that helps.
  4. The next wave of the Innovation Fund, which supports the REPowerEU objectives, will include support for hydrogen along the entire value chain. This funding includes electrification and hydrogen for industry, clean technologies, and projects.  

Europe is one of the continents that has made the most progress in hydrogen discussions, as some countries in the region have shown a high political will to implement regulations and incentives to explore the development of this market, and several companies and stakeholders have shown great interest in developing and implementing hydrogen projects in the EU. CertifHy, the high-quality hydrogen certification system across Europe that supports the growth of this market, is part of these discussions demonstrating an evolution in its implementation.

With respect to hydrogen certification systems, it could be concluded in this event that:

  1. Many different certification systems are being developed around the world, but they are not harmonized. Therefore, the key challenge is to achieve mutual recognition of national certification systems, as stated by the Hydrogen Council.
  2. It is necessary to work towards a standardized global carbon footprint methodology as is being developed by the IPHE.
  3. There must be global inclusion when working on international standards. Collaboration with other regions is important.
  4. As for the chain of custody, since renewable molecules will be physically imported into a country, the mass balance would be the way to go for the international trade of hydrogen or derivatives, as stated by Air Liquide.
  5. There is a need for legal provisions in exporting countries that prevent double counting when importing green or clean molecules into the EU.

Hydrogen is now beginning to play a key role in the energy transition and could undoubtedly redraw the global energy map. Adopting renewable hydrogen may not only be a viable solution to meet global decarbonization goals, but also a competitive opportunity to strengthen the region.


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