05 Aug 2022, 13:53
Benjamin Wehrmann

Industry urges German env min to allow green hydrogen for production in refineries


Industry lobby groups in Germany have called on environment minister Steffi Lemke to lift regulations currently preventing the use of green hydrogen in oil refinery products like petrol, diesel and heating oil, business daily Handelsblatt reports. Using green hydrogen instead of “grey” hydrogen - the latter is produced using natural gas - is key to accelerating decarbonisation in the transport sector and could also help make savings on the fossil fuel, industry associations VDMA and DWV said in a letter to the Green Party minister. They argued that Lemke’s hesitation to allow green hydrogen in oil refineries amounts to an “incomprehensible delay” that threatens secure fuel production in the country. The environment ministry claimed there is currently not enough legal clarity regarding an EU directive, which is expected by the end of the year. In response, the industry groups said there is no need to wait for the EU’s greenlighting, a view which is shared by Lemke’s fellow Green Party member and the party’s economic policy spokesperson in the parliamentary faction, Dieter Janecek. “What we need in the current energy crisis are speedy decisions,” Janecek said, adding that industry is eagerly waiting to invest in corresponding infrastructure.

Rising natural gas prices since the beginning of the year have made green hydrogen cheaper than grey hydrogen in areas with very cheap renewable electricity. However, the use of the fuel is heatedly debated in Germany as green hydrogen production requires lots of renewable power production capacity, which Germany needs to primarily green electricity production in its national power mix. The German government is aiming for an electrolysis capacity of about 10 gigawatts (GW) by the end of the decade.

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