Hydrogen economy in the EU – European Commission to allocate €6.9 billion for IPCEI Hy2Infra project

Gospodarka wodorowa w UE – Komisja Europejska przeznaczy 6,9 mld euro na projekt IPCEI Hy2Infra

The REPowerEU plan lays out a series of measures aimed at smoothly reducing the EU’s dependence on Russian fossil fuels by accelerating the transition to clean energy. One such measure is faster implementation of ways to use hydrogen. Target adopted by 2030. assumes the production of 10 million tons of renewable hydrogen in the EU. With the stated goal in mind, the European Commission will allocate nearly €7 billion to seven member states to support the development of an innovative and sustainable European hydrogen industry.

Hydrogen management in the EU – IPCEI Hy2Infra project

The project, called IPCEI Hy2Infra, was prepared and submitted by several member states: France, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Italy. It is intended to help increase the supply of renewable hydrogen, thereby reducing dependence on natural gas and helping achieve the goals of the European Green Deal and the REPowerEU plan. Some member states (France, Germany, Poland and Portugal) have included participation in IPCEI’s Hy2Infra project in their reconstruction and resilience plans, allowing them to partially finance certain projects through the Reconstruction and Resilience Facility.

Member states will provide up to €6.9 billion in public funding for the project. It is also expected to free up an additional €5.4 billion in private investment. The 33 projects will involve 32 companies operating in more than one member state, including small and medium-sized companies. They will work closely with each other, as well as with external partners such as transmission system operators, potential customers, universities, research organizations and equipment suppliers from across Europe.

IPCEI’s Hy2Infra project will cover a wide range of the hydrogen economy value chain, with support going to:

  • Launching electrolyzers with a capacity of up to 3.2 GW, producing renewable hydrogen;
  • Commissioning of new and adapted hydrogen transmission and distribution pipelines with a length of about 2,700. km;
  • Launching large-scale hydrogen storage facilities (with a potential of at least 370 GWh);
  • Construction of terminals and related port infrastructure for handling liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHCs), allowing the turnover of 6,000. t of hydrogen per year.

As part of the project, participants will work together on interoperability and common standards, which will eliminate barriers and facilitate market integration in the future. It will also support the gradual process of creating a hydrogen infrastructure that will cover the entire EU and be based on regional groups.

European Commission evaluation of IPCEI Hy2Infra project

The European Commission has assessed the proposed project on the basis of EU state aid rules and, in particular, the Communication on important projects of common European interest.

According to the assessment:

  • IPCEI’s Hy2Infra project contributes to a common goal by supporting the deployment of hydrogen infrastructure, important for achieving the goals of key EU policy initiatives such as the European Green Deal, the REPowerEU Plan and the EU Hydrogen Strategy;
  • All 33 projects that make up IPCEI are very ambitious and aim to create infrastructure beyond what the market currently offers. They will lay the foundations for an integrated and open hydrogen network, available on a non-discriminatory basis, and allow for an increased share of renewable hydrogen supply in Europe. This, in turn, will facilitate the decarbonization of economic sectors that need to rely on hydrogen to reduce carbon emissions;
  • The IPCEI project involves significant financial risks. Therefore, public support is needed to encourage companies planning to invest;
  • aid to individual enterprises is limited to what is necessary and proportionate and which does not unduly distort competition;
  • Technical knowledge and experience gained during the start-up period and during the first years of project operation will be shared by participating companies through publications, conferences and joint recommendations; operational rules and technical standards will be developed.

Development of the hydrogen economy in the EU

The green hydrogen economy is currently one of the European Commission’s priorities. Numerous initiatives and activities are being undertaken as part of development and promotion. One of them is the Hydrogen Bank, which we have already written about in Water Matters. According to the announcements, a number of programs will be implemented in the future for various high-powered electrolyzers, which would become operational between 2026 and 2028, as well as hydrogen pipelines, which in turn would become operational between 2027 and 2029 – depending on the geographic region.

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