The National Hydrogen Council (NWR) is promoting the rapid stimulation of a hydrogen economy in view of the more stringent climate targets at the European and German levels. “The importance of hydrogen will fundamentally increase as a result of these new targets,” explains the committee in its “Action Plan Germany” published on Friday for the years up to 2025. Continuous technological improvements can reduce greenhouse gas emissions more comprehensively and efficiently. “Largely climate-neutral hydrogen” will play a central role in this transformation.
“The guiding principle must be to invest in systems that combine climate neutrality, economic efficiency and security of supply,” the 26 experts work out. They advise the federal government and handed them over a good 50-page work now Head of the Chancellery Helge Braun (CDU). First of all, “natural gas will play a central role in replacing coal as an energy carrier,” it reads. The aim, however, is to “gradually replace this fossil fuel with largely climate-neutral hydrogen” as soon as possible.
National hydrogen strategy
At its core, the NWR, which includes economist Veronika Grimm, Daimler Truck Board Member Sven Ennerst, Siemens Manager Christian Bruch and Linde Vice President Andreas Opfermann, advocates the initial use of blue hydrogen obtained from fossil natural gas in the industry. This touches a sore point, since the government, with its National Hydrogen Strategy (NWS), which is a good year old, has issued the slogan to primarily use green hydrogen that is obtained from renewable energies. “Corresponding value chains” should be established for this.
The executive branch also has a blue or turquoise H2 from thermal energy in the NWS but not quite shown the red card. The Council sees the government now under pressure to make “a political decision on the direction” with a view to the climate targets. The extent to which the controversial forms of production are preferred for production and application funding will “have significant effects on the design of the various funding instruments”.
“CO2– Strengthen pricing in all sectors “
The NWR also makes it clear: In view of the envisaged expansion of generation capacities, the expansion corridors for additional solar and wind power intended for hydrogen use in the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG) would have to be increased, as well as “measures for the short-term development of additional potential in all areas of regenerative power generation to be hit”. In general, the availability of green hydrogen comes first, followed by the recording of CO2-Footprint of the gases used in industrial processes through the introduction of uniform guarantees of origin.
The committee considers it urgently necessary to significantly reduce the comparatively high electricity prices in Germany. “The coordination of numerous actors across several sectors urgently requires an increase in the effectiveness of market-oriented incentives,” write the experts. To this end, “the CO2Strengthening pricing in all sectors “and, as part of a tax reform, in particular to exempt the electricity price from the EEG surcharge. Furthermore, the electricity tax would have to drop massively. This would relieve households and companies and create incentives for investments.
Development of further generations of new technologies
“The electricity costs remain the biggest price driver in the production of green hydrogen,” it says. With the current structure of the German electricity price components, the ignition spark for the hydrogen economy is at least made considerably more difficult. The cost delta between fossil and renewable energy sources like green H2 largely based on price components dictated by regulation. A reform of the tax, levy and contribution system must therefore urgently take place in the coming legislative period.
The plan contains a total of 80 proposals for the next federal government. The NWR also shows short-term development needs for state funding instruments. In his view, the period up to 2030 is generally “the decisive stage for climate protection and Europe’s industrial competitiveness”. The forced industrialization must go hand in hand with further research activities. Science will continue to play a decisive role in the development of further generations of new technologies and in scaling up production, for example in the areas of fuel cells and electrolysis.
There is no alternative to hydrogen in any sector
In general, the Council believes that there is no alternative to “extensive, widespread use of hydrogen in all sectors” such as industry, mobility, heating and energy. Since there are no other alternative technologies with potential for mass use, he is convinced “that in land-based transport the focus is on battery-powered vehicles and those with hydrogen and fuel cell drives”. In addition, e-fuels would be used in some areas of application and would be needed for more than 40 years in the long term. These are synthetic fuels that are produced using electricity from water and CO2.
In the case of cars, the carmakers are driving battery-electric mobility themselves forward, the experts know. In the area of heavy commercial vehicles, however, investments were also made in storage technologies for H2. For this, the establishment of a “high quality hydrogen filling station network” is necessary. In addition, “largely climate-neutral, hydrogen-based fuels are used”, especially on long-haul air transport. In short and medium-haul air traffic, liquid hydrogen could also become CO around 20352-Savings lead.
No infrastructure for refueling hydrogen cars
“Hydrogen is the basic requirement for the decarbonization of applications that cannot be converted to green electricity technically or economically,” emphasized NWR chairwoman Katherina Reiche. The head of the Eon subsidiary Westenergie described the rapid implementation of the measures brought into play as essential.
The NRW was not entirely in agreement. The Climate Alliance and the Federation for Environment and Nature Conservation Germany (BUND) remind in a special vote that the government has already focused primarily on green hydrogen. This perspective needs to be supported financially and in terms of planning. Everything else is incompatible with the goal of a climate-neutral energy system. Blue or turquoise hydrogen should not be established as an equivalent source. In the mobility sector, the establishment of an infrastructure for refueling hydrogen cars parallel to e-mobility should “be completely avoided”.