EU policy

In July 2020, the European Commission adopted its EU Hydrogen Strategy addressing how to transform this potential into reality, through investments, regulation, market creation and research and innovation.

Hydrogen can power sectors that are not suitable for electrification and provide storage to balance variable renewable energy flows, but this can only be achieved with coordinated action between the public and private sector, at EU level.

Our View

In line with Cefic, Petrochemicals Europe expects hydrogen to play a pivotal role in reducing the carbon footprint of Europe’s energy and feedstock supply within the transition to climate neutrality. The future of the European chemical industry – especially in the transition towards climate neutrality – will be closely intertwined with the development of a hydrogen economy, as it is both a major producer and consumer of hydrogen. In the future, hydrogen could also become a major building block of chemical products with a low GHG footprint and could help to decarbonise the chemical industry’s energy consumption. For the vision to become reality, the European Union needs a Hydrogen Strategy, which creates legal and investment certainty, to pave the way for a successful deployment of climate-friendly hydrogen.

However, the current production of hydrogen either as a by-product of steam cracking or via steam methane reforming emits greenhouse gases. Nowadays, the cost of green hydrogen production is still high, and research is needed e.g. to optimize and scale up the electrolysis process to reduce it. Research is also required into the CO2/H2 chemistry to make synthetic fuels and methanol that can be used as feedstock to manufacture chemicals (or even directly petrochemicals without going via methanol).