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The EU's hydrogen strategy and REPowerEU plan have put forward a comprehensive framework to support the uptake of renewable and low-carbon hydrogen to help decarbonise the EU in a cost-effective way and reduce its dependence on imported fossil fuels.

In 2022, hydrogen accounted for less than 2% of Europe’s energy consumption and was primarily used to produce chemical products, such as plastics and fertilisers. 96% of this hydrogen was produced with natural gas, resulting in significant amounts of CO2 emissions. 

The priority for the EU is to develop renewable hydrogen and it aims to produce 10 million tonnes and import 10 million tonnes by 2030.

EU Hydrogen strategy

The EU strategy on hydrogen (COM/2020/301) was adopted in 2020 and suggested policy action points in 5 areas: investment support; support production and demand; creating a hydrogen market and infrastructure; research and cooperation and international cooperation. Hydrogen is also an important part of the EU strategy for energy system integration (COM/2020/299).

The full list of 20 key hydrogen actions listed in the strategy was implemented and delivered by the first quarter of 2022 and are described on a separate page. 

©iStock (from left to right) : Kapook2981/RuudMorijn/Akiromaru/Petmal

EU Hydrogen Strategy

A hydrogen policy framework

The Fit-for-55 package, presented in July 2021 put forward a number of legislative proposals that translate the European hydrogen strategy into concrete European hydrogen policy framework. This includes proposals to set targets for the uptake of renewable hydrogen in industry and transport by 2030 in the Renewable Energy Directive. It also includes the Hydrogen and decarbonised gas market package to support the creation of optimum and dedicated infrastructure for hydrogen, as well as an efficient hydrogen market. The legislation came into force in 2023 and 2024, respectively.

The policy framework was complemented with 2 delegated acts, formally adopted in June 2023, applicable to renewable hydrogen under the Renewable Energy Directive. The first one covers renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBOs) and sets the criteria for products that fall under the ‘renewable hydrogen’ category. The other one puts forward a detailed scheme to calculate the life-cycle emissions of renewable hydrogen and recycled carbon fuels to meet the greenhouse gas emission reduction threshold set in the directive. A delegated act to calculate the life-cycle emissions for low-carbon hydrogen will be put forward in 2024.

Related hydrogen topics

Investing in hydrogen

The Recovery and Resiliency Facility for clean energy is a temporary instrument made available to EU countries in 2021 to invest in hydrogen projects across the value chain.

Investment support has also been provided through the Important Projects of Common European Interest (IPCEIs) on hydrogen. The first IPCEI, called 'IPCEI Hy2Tech', which includes 41 projects and was approved in July 2022, aims at developing innovative technologies for the hydrogen value chain to decarbonise industrial processes and the mobility sector, with a focus on end-users.

In September 2022, the Commission approved 'IPCEI Hy2Use', which complements IPCEI Hy2Tech. It will support the construction of hydrogen-related infrastructure and the development of innovative and more sustainable technologies for the integration of hydrogen into the industrial sector.

The third 'IPCEI Hy2Infra' was approved in February 2024, and supports the development of electrolysers, hydrogen transmission and distribution pipelines, large-scale hydrogen storage facilities and handling terminals.

IPCEI Hy2Move, jointly prepared and notified by 7 EU countries, was approved in May 2024 and will cover a wide part of the hydrogen technology value chain by supporting the development of a set of technological innovations. 

Hydrogen accelerator

With the publication of the REPowerEU plan in May 2022, the Commission complements the implementation of the EU hydrogen strategy to further increase the European ambitions for renewable hydrogen as an important energy carrier to move away from Russia's fossil fuel imports.

In the Staff Working Document (SWD/2022/230) accompanying the plan, the Commission outlines a ‘hydrogen accelerator’ concept to scale up the deployment of renewable hydrogen, which will contribute to accelerating the energy transition and decarbonising the EU’s energy system.

The ambition is to produce 10 million tonnes and import 10 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen in the EU by 2030.

The focus of these actions is to accelerate the uptake of renewable hydrogen, ammonia and other derivatives in hard-to-decarbonise sectors, such as transport, and in energy-intensive industrial processes. Scaling up the development of hydrogen infrastructure and supporting hydrogen investments are also identified as key areas to support hydrogen uptake in the EU.

EU hydrogen initiatives

The EU has launched and promotes several industrial, funding and research and innovation initiatives on hydrogen.

  • Clean Hydrogen Partnership 

The Clean Hydrogen Partnership (2021-2027) is a joint public-private partnership supported by the Commission, through Horizon Europe. It builds upon the success of its predecessor, the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking and includes also the Hydrogen Valleys Platform, an EU led-initiative under Mission Innovation. On 1 March 2023, the Commission and key stakeholders signed a joint declaration on renewable hydrogen research and innovation, committing to step up and accelerate joint action in research, development, demonstration and deployment of Hydrogen Valleys.

  • European Clean Hydrogen Alliance

The European Clean Hydrogen Alliance was launched alongside the EU hydrogen strategy in 2020 as part of the new industrial strategy for the EU. It brings together industry, national and local authorities, civil society and other stakeholders.

The alliance’s objective is to achieve an ambitious deployment of hydrogen technologies by 2030 by bringing together renewable and low-carbon hydrogen production, demand in industry, transport and other sectors, and hydrogen transmission and distribution.

It launched 6 thematic roundtables in key areas of hydrogen production, transportation and use and published a hydrogen project pipeline in November 2021.

It also hosts the 'Electrolyser Partnership' to bring together electrolyser manufacturers and suppliers of components and materials to achieve a combined annual electrolyser manufacturing capacity of 17.5 GW by 2025 in Europe.

  • Hydrogen Public Funding Compass

The Hydrogen Public Funding Compass is an online guide for stakeholders to identify public funding sources for hydrogen projects and it provides information on all the EU programmes and funds (2021-2027) that are relevant for the sector.


Global Hydrogen Review 2022 (IEA, September 2022)

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