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10 Mar 2020, 14:01
Sören Amelang

Germany must focus on green hydrogen, CCS is a distraction - research minister

Clean Energy Wire

Germany's highly anticipated strategy to pave the way for a hydrogen economy must focus on green hydrogen made with renewables and be "truly ambitious," says German research minister Anja Karliczek. "We mustn't vacillate. The longer the transition takes, the more expensive it will be. We need a clear schedule and a clear target, and that must be green hydrogen," Karliczek said at an industry conference in Berlin on Tuesday, referring to hydrogen produced using only renewable energy. Karliczek added that blue hydrogen, which is made with natural gas and uses carbon capture and storage (CCS) to reduce its emissions, is a distraction. She said the government will decide on the strategy on 18 March.

Karliczek said she wouldn't rule out the use of green hydrogen for heating buildings, but added that the focus of the hydrogen strategy should be on decarbonising heavy industry. She stressed that the transition to hydrogen represents a huge economic opportunity for German industry. Germany could create hundreds of thousands of jobs by the middle of the century if the country can hold onto its current share of the global market for electrolysers that produce hydrogen, which stands at around 20 percent. 

She said making green hydrogen in Germany currently costs around 8 euros per kilo, but this could easily be lowered to 3-4 euros with exemptions from taxes and levies on electricity. But Karliczek rejected a fundamental overhaul of power taxes and levies. "The call for a fundamental reform will result in no change at all. This is how politics works," she warned.

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