27 May 2021, 13:25
Charlotte Nijhuis

German industry leaders call for “accelerated ramp-up” of hydrogen market


German industry leaders expressed concerns that Germany will lose out when it comes to building a hydrogen economy, Handelsblatt reports. "It is five to twelve," Martin Brudermüller, CEO of German chemical giant BASF, said at the Handelsblatt Hydrogen Summit on Wednesday, adding that China and the USA are working faster and more pragmatically than Germany. Siegfried Russwurm, head of the Federation of German Industries (BDI) and chairman of the board of Thyssen-Krupp, warned: "The world is not waiting for us." According to Handelsblatt, the industry is calling for a faster expansion of renewable energies, lower electricity costs, the scaling of hydrogen technology and more financial support. In an op-ed carried by the paper, Russwurm argues that the new climate targets proposed by the government require an “accelerated ramp-up” of the hydrogen market and “strategically intelligent international partnerships” are needed for the import of hydrogen.

During the summit Claudia Kemfert, climate policy expert at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), warned business leaders to not place too much hope on hydrogen as there are still many hurdles on the way to mass production. "Hydrogen is not the new oil. It will only play a secondary role, albeit an important one. Hydrogen is the champagne of the energy transition,” she said.  

Earlier this month, companies from energy-intensive industries such as steel, chemicals and cement called for more financial support and better planning security in order to achieve Germany’s new climate goals. The German government is aiming for climate neutrality as early as 2045, pulling forward its previous target by five years, and wants to reduce emissions by 65 percent in 2030 instead of the previous goal of 55 percent.

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