09 Nov 2020, 13:14
Kerstine Appunn

German trade union calls for use of “blue” hydrogen, European industry power price


Germany should not solely focus on green hydrogen made with renewables in its drive to establish a hydrogen economy, and help its domestic industry by bringing down power prices, Michael Vassiliadis, head of the trade union for mining, chemicals and energy industries (IG BCE), has said in an interview with Handelsblatt. Vassiliadis warned that despite the economic success of the past decade, there was a deficit in new industry investment, as energy-intensive businesses were facing ever harsher climate targets. “We must move from a competition for new climate targets to a competition for implementation of climate action, because only implementation will remove tonnes of CO2.”

Vassiliadis argued that governments should make electricity and hydrogen affordable for companies if they are to survive global competition in a low-carbon future. He called the current government’s hydrogen strategy “lopsided,” as it prioritises green hydrogen, produced with renewable electricity. “But in the medium term, this ’green hydrogen‘ will not be available in relevant quantities. We must therefore, at least at the beginning of the process, extend the theory of colours and not shy away from ’blue‘ and ’turquoise‘ hydrogen." Blue hydrogen is made from natural gas, with the resulting emissions curtailed through carbon capture and storage (CCS). Turquoise hydrogen also refers to a natural gas converstion method that uses pyrolysis technology to lower emissions. The chemicals and other energy-intensive industries need “large quantities of green power at absolutely competitive prices” and therefore a European power price for industry, Vassiliadis said. “It is part of a radical, honest analysis that Europe as an industrial location has no chance if it has the highest energy prices.”

In the fight against climate change, hydrogen made with renewable electricity is increasingly seen as a silver bullet for sectors with particularly stubborn emissions, such as heavy industry and aviation. Germany has set out to become a global leader in the associated hydrogen technologies, and the governmnet has penned a National Hydrogen Strategy to fulfil these ambitions, focusing on green hydrogen made with renewable sources.

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Sven Egenter

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