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26 May 2021, 13:25
Edgar Meza

Germany must accelerate hydrogen ramp-up to achieve 2045 climate target – report

Clean Energy Wire

Germany will need some 60 terawatt-hours of hydrogen by 2030 and domestic production can only cover a third of that demand, according to a paper by Berlin-based think tank Climate Neutrality Foundation outlining recommendations on how to best achieve a speedy hydrogen rollout. The foundation commissioned the Institute for Applied Ecology (Öko-Institut) to investigate how Germany’s current National Hydrogen Strategy could be further developed so that climate neutrality can be achieved by 2045. Based on the resulting study, the new proposals call for considerable government funding for hydrogen development and for its targeted promotion in industrial sectors in which there are no other cheaper or more efficient alternatives, such as in steel and chemicals. Additionally, the government should prioritise sectors that need considerable lead time to set up new infrastructure and production facilities, such in the combined heat and power plant (CHP) area as well as in air and ship transport, where the use of synthetic fuels is necessary. It likewise recommends targeted funding for areas such as long-haul transport, particularly heavy-duty trucks, buses and non-electrifiable railways. The foundation estimates that the required funding to compensate for the differences in operating costs in these priority areas would amount to 3 to 5 billion euros a year until 2035, in addition to other funding measures aimed at supporting investment in new technologies. The foundation states that hydrogen could be produced domestically as well as in the EU using renewable energy, particularly in the North Sea. While it could also be produced in Southern and Eastern Europe, the lack of a necessary pipeline infrastructure would limit imports for those regions. Imports from countries outside the EU, such as Morocco or Ukraine, would similarly be hampered by limited means of economically viable transport.

Hydrogen produced with renewable electricity is seen as increasingly vital in the fight against climate change, particularly for high CO2-emission sectors like heavy industry and aviation. It could also be used for seasonal storage, meaning storing the summer's high renewables energy output for the winter. German last year presented a National Hydrogen Strategy. Earlier this month, the government pulled forward its climate neutrality target by five years to 2045, which requires a faster ramp-up of clean energy sources including green hydrogen.

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