The EU has set itself ambitious goals when it comes to climate protection. By 2050, it wants to become climate-neutral and move away from fossil fuels. The Russian war of aggression in Ukraine has increased the pressure even more – since the EU states now want to become as independent as possible from Russian resources for energy production such as gas and coal as quickly as possible. The EU sees one way to achieve these goals in the use of hydrogen.
In order to promote the development and expansion of the industry necessary for the production and use of hydrogen, the EU competition authorities have now approved that EU states may financially support this branch of the economy. This was announced by the EU Commission.
"Enormous potential for the future"
Specifically, it is about the "IPCEI Hy2Tech" project. This is intended to realize the generation, storage, transport and sale of hydrogen. 15 EU countries are behind this plan – and thanks to the EU's commitment, they can now invest funding of up to 5.4 billion euros in the hydrogen industry.
The EU hopes that the state financial injections will also increase private investments in the hydrogen sector: the EU is forecasting up to 8.8 billion euros in private subsidies that could be generated as a result of state support.
"Hydrogen has enormous potential for the future," emphasized EU Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, who is responsible for competition. For the "ecological change" hydrogen is "indispensable". A requirement of the EU for hydrogen to be considered a clean energy source is that so-called green electricity is used in its production, i.e. it is obtained from regenerative energy sources.
EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton also sees great future potential in hydrogen, which could create thousands of new jobs at the same time. The EU expects that around 20,000 new jobs will be created in the EU countries involved in the project thanks to the hydrogen industry.
Four German companies there
According to the EU, 41 sub-projects involving a total of 35 EU companies are integrated into the "IPCEI Hy2Tech" project – four of them from Germany, including Daimler Truck and Bosch.
The abbreviation IPCEI stands for the definition "Important Project of Common European Interest". According to the Federal Ministry of Economics, this is a "transnational, important project of common European interest, which makes an important contribution to growth, employment and competitiveness in European industry and business through state funding".
Last year, German companies with investment plans and planned projects were able to apply to become a candidate for IPCEI in the hydrogen sector. As of May 2021, the Federal Ministry of Economics had selected 62 companies as possible IPCEI locations.