17 Feb 2020, 14:13
Sören Amelang

German env min wants to push green hydrogen with aviation quota, auctions

Germany's environment minister Svenja Schulze has proposed to speed up the large-scale use of renewable hydrogen with a quota for aeroplane fuels and tenders for production.  "For me it is of central importance that we organise a market ramp-up of hydrogen as quickly as possible in Germany," Schulze told the business daily Handelsblatt. "The aim is to enable German engineering companies to maintain and expand their technological leadership in the production of hydrogen and its derivatives, such as synthetic fuels." Schulze said she advocates a rising quota of two percent green hydrogen in kerosene by 2030 to secure a guaranteed demand at stable prices. Additionally, she proposed tenders for making 5,000 tonnes of the renewable fuel in 2021 and then increasing the amount by 5,000 tonnes per year until 2030, resulting in an electrolyser capacity of up to five gigawatts within ten years.
Schulze also said she favours subsidies for realising decarbonisation projects using hydrogen in industries, such as steel, cement and chemicals, that will cost billions of euros. "We pay companies a CO2 price that can be significantly higher than the CO2 prices in European emissions trading […] Such 'Carbon Contracts for Difference' models provide the incentive to invest in hydrogen technologies on a large scale. The state must provide targeted help here," Schulze said. She opposed the future use of "blue hydrogen" made with natural gas using carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies because it is expensive, worse for the climate and would require a new debate about controversial CCS, which "should always be the last option" on the way to carbon-neutrality.

Germany's ministries are currently negotiating a highly anticipated strategy to pave the way for a "hydrogen economy" that most experts consider essential to reach carbon-neutrality in industry, aviation and other sectors. Think tanks and environmental groups have criticised the economy ministry's draft strategy because it included the use of "blue hydrogen."

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