In May, the Group of Seven (G7) agreed to step up efforts to advance hydrogen on a commercial scale from low-carbon and renewable sources in its economies, including support for the deployment of fuel cells globally. Following this news and with the approach of the G7 Leaders’ Summit this weekend (Friday 11 June to Sunday 13 June) in Cornwall, UK (pictured above), H2 View brings you a series of ‘articles on thought leadership written by hydrogen associations in the G7 countries. The first is Germany.
Faced with the enormous environmental challenges for the economies of the G7 countries, it is necessary to discuss and agree on solutions for the development of a global hydrogen economy, as in the 1970s (first oil shock and collapse of the fixed exchange rate system). Only with an internationally coordinated renewable hydrogen economic policy will the G7 economies be able to maintain climate goals in harmony with stable and socially just economic systems.
Green hydrogen – essential for a secure energy supply
Green hydrogen, produced with renewable energies, is the energy vector of the 21st century and the guarantor of an emission-free, secure and economical global energy system. To achieve the Paris climate objectives by 2050 (Europe 2045) and for the active defossilization of the world economy, the establishment of a global green hydrogen value chain is essential. To achieve this goal, it is important to form alliances through international energy partnerships and to create national and international regulatory frameworks now.
Climate protection, industrial potential and economic prosperity
Green hydrogen stands for climate protection, intergenerational social justice and economic prosperity and offers a unique opportunity for G7 national industries and the global economy as a whole. In accordance with the German National Hydrogen Strategy (NWS), the task for the coming years is to reshape the system of the energy industry with foresight until 2045 and to create the regulatory framework for an acceleration of the economy of hydrogen based on the market.
Whether in industry, transport or heating, hydrogen and fuel cells are the emission-free solutions to face the technological change to come. Green hydrogen offers enormous industrial potential and is therefore synonymous with economic prosperity. With the establishment of fuel cell and electrolysis manufacturing facilities, thousands of jobs can be created in Germany, Europe and the world by 2030. In the future, the industry chemicals and the steel industry will depend on green hydrogen to meet climate goals. In the transport and heating sectors, hydrogen and fuel cells are zero-emission solutions that will meet the demands of use.
Read more: G7 to step up efforts to advance hydrogen on a commercial scale
Clear legal framework conditions for the coherent integration of the renewable energy market and green hydrogen power plants are essential in the G7 member states. The same goes for the extension and reconversion of the gas infrastructure, the mixing of hydrogen and the transport of pure hydrogen.
Green steel – Decarbonize industrial processes with green hydrogen
The German steel industry produced around 40 million tonnes of crude steel in 2019, generating around 35.6 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent. With a share of around 4.4% of Germany’s total emissions, the steel industry is a major emitter of greenhouse gases. To achieve the Paris climate objectives by 2050 (EU 2045), the European steel industry must therefore become significantly less emitting. A low-emission and competitive steel industry based on green hydrogen is therefore a decisive factor for achieving national and international climate targets and for Germany’s future as an industrial site.
Fuel cell trucks – Solution for climate-friendly freight transport
Road freight transport faces enormous challenges in meeting the 2030 climate goals. Many experts agree that these goals can only be achieved with green hydrogen and fuel cell utility vehicles. The advantages are clear: emission-free operation, high payloads, short refueling times and long back-up times per tank fill comparable to conventional vehicles.
Likewise, security of supply and reliability of delivery must continue to be maintained in the transport of zero-emission goods, regardless of the current supply of renewable energy. Green hydrogen and fuel cell trucks, unlike other zero emission vehicle solutions, meet this requirement. Therefore, fuel cell trucks must be brought to market quickly and rigorously in the interests of climate protection and Germany as a business location. Many manufacturers and logistics companies have recognized this and are constantly pursuing the market launch.
Power-to-X – Synthetic fuels for the automotive fleet
In addition, it is important to reconsider the use of hydrogen in the automotive sector and overcome ideological resistance to synthetic hydrogen fuels for existing automotive fleets – Power-to-X products are the only means of achieving the climate objectives for transport by 2030..
Global energy partnerships
Germany and many European members will also need to import significant amounts of energy in the future. Experts predict an import need for Germany of between 700 and 1,500 terawatt-hours per year. To achieve climate objectives, these imports will have to be made up of 100% renewable energies. The import of these huge amounts of energy and their storage will essentially only be possible with green hydrogen and its derivatives, which have been generated with renewable electricity. Therefore, it is now necessary to politically shape a European Hydrogen Union and to establish international hydrogen energy partnerships.
Green hydrogen has the potential to combine climate protection and economic prosperity like no other energy carrier. It is important to act now!
About the Author
Werner Diwald (on the photo on the right) is president of the German Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (DWV).
The DWV is the umbrella organization for hydrogen and fuel cell technology in Germany. He coordinates between interested people and companies, disseminates information to technicians, media and policy makers and lobbies for hydrogen technology in Germany. In doing so, the DWV works closely with partner organizations in other countries.