The hydrogen strategy aims to make Germany one of the world’s leading providers of modern hydrogen technologies. To this end, the government will be supporting hydrogen technologies so that they can swiftly prove their value on the market and establish their own value chains. The strategy is not based on any one technology, but is open. The support does, however, focus on “green” hydrogen.
Nine billion euros for hydrogen
Specifically, seven billion euros are earmarked for promoting hydrogen technologies inside Germany, while two billion are designated for international partnerships within the context of hydrogen. Hydrogen is, for instance, to be used in the steel and chemical industries, for heating, and in the transport sector.
Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Peter Altmaier, declared:
“The hydrogen strategy points the way forward, so that Germany can become number one in the world in the field of hydrogen technologies.”
The minister sees hydrogen as a key resource in ensuring the energy shift is successful. To this end, he added:
“we must now tap into the potential offered by hydrogen for value added, employment and climate change mitigation, and we must make full use of that potential.”
Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek pointed to the additional research support:
“We will be further stepping up support for research and innovation relating to green hydrogen – from production to storage, transport, distribution and use of the hydrogen.”
Double thrust for environmental protection
Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze believes the hydrogen strategy can provide a double thrust for environmental protection – embracing both climate change mitigation and the sustainable recovery of our economy in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. Svenja Schulze sees green hydrogen as offering an opportunity to advance climate change mitigation in areas where there has hitherto been no solution, including the steel industry and air traffic.
Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer expects to see firstly a swift introduction of hydrogen engines in buses and heavy goods vehicles. The ambitious goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions in road traffic can only be achieved with the help of innovations of this sort, he pointed out.
Gerd Müller, Federal Development Minister, has just entered into the first partnership in this area – with Morocco:
“We are now working with Morocco to develop the first industrial plant in Africa to produce green hydrogen.”
Framework for action along the entire value chain
The strategy offers a framework for action along the entire hydrogen value chain. If hydrogen technologies become a key export sector, this could also help the German and European economies to cope with the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic.
For this reason, private investments in the economical and sustainable production, transport and use of hydrogen will receive support. These include:
- The ambitious implementation of the EU’s renewable energy directive with the aim of replacing grey hydrogen in fuel production with green hydrogen
- Promotion of electrolysers (which electrolyse water into its components: hydrogen and oxygen)
- Promotion of the wider use of hydrogen
- A research campaign entitled “Hydrogen Technologies 2030”
- Investment grants and subsidies for the operating costs in the production of hydrogen and the transition to climate-friendly industrial procedures
- Strengthening/further developing the necessary infrastructure
- Review of state-induced pricing components in the energy sector – the idea is to exempt producers of green hydrogen from the Renewable Energy Act levy
- Greater development of international partnerships in the field of hydrogen, also in development cooperation, for instance in the establishment and operation of plants to produce green hydrogen.
To realise and further develop the strategy a flexible, results-oriented governance structure is to be put in place. This will include the appointment on 10 June of the National Hydrogen Council, an inter-ministerial committee of state secretaries to focus on hydrogen and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research’s innovation commissioner for “green hydrogen”.
A flexible and target-driven governance structure is being set up to help consistently implement and further develop the strategy. At the centre of these efforts is the new National Hydrogen Council, whose members were appointed by the Federal Cabinet.
Said Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Peter Altmaier:
“In adopting the hydrogen strategy, we are paving the way for Germany to become the world leader in the field of hydrogen technologies. The time has come for hydrogen and the technologies enabling its use. We must therefore harness the potential for economic output, employment, and the climate, and do this now. Hydrogen will be a key commodity for a successful energy transition. This forward-looking source of energy will make an important contribution to meeting climate targets in Germany and across the world. Germany will be playing a pioneering role in this, as we did 20 years ago when we started to promote the use of renewables.”
Said Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety Svenja Schulze:
“The National Hydrogen Strategy will give Germany a dual boost – for the climate and for a sustainable economic recovery after the COVID-19 crisis. Green hydrogen gives us an opportunity to better mitigate climate change in areas where there were no solutions available before, for instance in the steel industry or aviation. This will work because the strategy focuses on promoting “green” hydrogen. This is something I have been calling for, because, in the long run, only hydrogen that is based on 100% renewable energy is good for the climate. This also means that a “Yes!” to hydrogen is also a “Yes!” to wind energy. We need additional green power to be able to produce green hydrogen. This is why we must and will consistently expand the use of renewables. Green hydrogen gives us an opportunity to link up climate action and a sustainable industrial sector that offers future-proof and resilient jobs.”
Said Andreas Scheuer, Federal Minister for Transport and Digital Infrastructure:
“We also need hydrogen for the transport sector! Our hydrogen strategy sets a clear framework for companies and allows them to plan their investments. For more than a decade, my ministry has been working on hydrogen technology, investing more than €700 million in research and development in particular. Now we need marketable projects. People must have a chance to experience hydrogen. This is where the strategy comes in: it looks at the entire value chain – technology, production, storage, infrastructure and applications in vehicles. With our HyLand projects, we are already in the process of rolling out hydrogen technologies ranging from production to local use in selected regions. The next step now is to do this across the Federal Republic. In addition to this, we will support and build a hydrogen application and technology centre for the upstream industries and a dedicated fuel-cell production industry in Germany. This will give our German automotive industry fresh prospects for the future and help secure a great many jobs.”
Education and Research Minister Anja Karliczek said:
“Part of being a country of innovation is to set ambitious targets for a hydrogen industry that can compete internationally. With our National Hydrogen Strategy we have succeeded in this. The lengthy negotiations have delivered a good result. Green hydrogen is the energy source of the future. We want to be one of the global pioneers of this forward-looking technology. The quicker and bolder we are, the better our chance to make the new hydrogen industry a driver of new jobs in Germany. The adoption of the strategy marks the beginning of an equally ambitious implementation process. If we want to become climate-neutral by 2050, we will need a sustainable energy supply from renewables. We will continue to invest in research and innovation on green hydrogen: its production, storage, transport, distribution and application. A further €310 million will be made available for this in the period up to 2023. This will give us some tailwind in the race to make Germany the green hydrogen world champion.”
Said Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr Gerd Müller:
“Climate change has long been about the survival of humankind as a whole. The hydrogen strategy allows us to make a giant leap towards carbon-neutral fuels and a global energy transition. “Green” hydrogen and its derivatives, such as methanol, have the potential to become the clean “oil” of tomorrow. Countries in northern Africa, in particular, are suitable production sites for this as the amount of sunshine available appears to be virtually unlimited. Together with Morocco, we are now developing the first industrial plant for “green hydrogen” in Africa. In doing so, we are creating jobs for many young people, strengthening Germany’s leadership on technology, and helping to reach international climate targets.”