18 Nov 2021, 13:25
Sören Amelang

Germany not able to import enough renewable hydrogen by 2030 – analysis

Clean Energy Wire

Germany will not be able to import enough renewable hydrogen to reach the targets laid out in its national hydrogen strategy, according to an analysis conducted by the German Economic Institute (IW), the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology (UMSICHT), and the climate think tank Wuppertal Institute. Even if the four most promising export countries would only supply Germany, quantities are projected to be insufficient, the researchers found. "The problem is that the expansion of renewable energies in countries like Chile, Morocco, Spain and the Netherlands is progressing only slowly," the IW said. "In addition, the transport of large quantities of hydrogen by pipeline or ship is still being developed or approved and cannot be implemented quickly enough."

"We are talking about enormous quantities that will be needed in a short time," the IW's Malte Küper, who co-authored the study, told the newsletter Tagesspiegel Background. He said many regions of the world offered large import potentials in the long term, but warned that sectors such as steel needed short-term security for the huge investments required to switch to climate-neutral processes.

Germany plans to use hydrogen as a key element in its energy transition, especially in sectors such as industry and aviation, which can't be electrified directly. But the country will need to import a high proportion of the necessary green hydrogen, as it does not have enough potential for the massive amounts of renewable power sources that would be needed to produce it domestically. Germany's national hydrogen strategy set an import target of 76 to 96 terawatt hours for 2030, but this can't be reached, according to the analysis. "As long as the demand cannot be covered by imports, domestic hydrogen production from renewable energies must be massively increased," the IW said. "This, in turn, would require a lot of green electricity in the coming years," whose expansion has been below target volumes in recent years." The researchers also warn against dependence on individual countries. Instead, Germany should coordinate with other European countries to strive for a broad portfolio of export partners.

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