Corporations are demanding faster pace towards a hydrogen economy

Green Hydrogen Production Plant in Puertollano, Spain

Industry needs green hydrogen to be able to produce in a climate-neutral way.

(Photo: Bloomberg)

Berlin A group of German corporations, together with the Australian hydrogen pioneer Fortescue Future Industries (FFI), are campaigning for a much faster development of the hydrogen value chain. The group, which describes itself as the “Green Hydrogen Crisis Task Force” (GHCT), is calling on politicians to finance startups more efficiently and create cross-border standards.

The GHCT has summarized its ideas in a 15-page white paper that is available for Handelsblatt. The group clearly understands its recommendations as a message to the G7 summit, which begins Sunday in Elmau. The topic of hydrogen is already on the agenda of the summit of heads of state and government of the seven most important industrialized Western countries.

In addition to FFI, the GHCT includes the German companies Covestro, Linde, Luthardt, SAP, Schaeffler, Eon, Siemens Energy and Thyssen-Krupp. For much of German industry, the rapid availability of climate-neutral hydrogen in large quantities is of paramount importance. Without climate neutral hydrogen, sectors such as steel, chemicals and cement cannot achieve the goal of climate neutrality.

Two years ago, the then federal government adopted the “National Hydrogen Strategy”, which is to create the framework for the rapid development of the market. Meanwhile, the new federal government has increased the goals of the hydrogen strategy. The topic is also being promoted at European level.

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However, there are problems with implementation. Steel producers such as Thyssen-Krupp and Salzgitter are currently facing investment decisions: they want to replace the classic blast furnace route for steel production with direct reduction plants. With these systems, steel can be produced in a climate-neutral manner if hydrogen is used for the operation.

Climate-neutral hydrogen is likely to be lacking in the foreseeable future

However, it is not yet definitively clear to what extent the investments will be promoted. Climate-neutral hydrogen is also likely to be lacking in the foreseeable future.

Therefore, the task force is calling for a new course: “Clean hydrogen plays an important role in the energy transition, but we need the right framework conditions, incentives and infrastructure to be used as a lever for decarbonisation.” said Jürgen Nowicki, head of Linde Engineering.

The task force document stated that clear and timely support is needed to signal confidence in a growing green hydrogen market and remove investment barriers. Only if common standards and robust financing mechanisms are implemented will companies be willing to contract along the entire value chain and ensure that manufacturing, storage and processing facilities are developed to the extent required to achieve their goals.

The initiators are demanding clear and pragmatic rules for tracking green hydrogen and green ammonia along the entire value chain, including proof of origin. In addition, everything must be done to create a global hydrogen market.

Australia is seen as a source of hope for German industry

From the point of view of German industry, Australia is one of the most promising candidates for a future supplier of green hydrogen. With the support of the federal government, the German Academy of Science and Engineering (Acatech) and the Federation of German Industry (BDI) are currently working with Australian partners to explore the possibility of establishing hydrogen supply relationships between Australian and German companies.
One of the pioneers in Australia is entrepreneur Andrew Forrest, who wants to invest billions in producing green hydrogen in his country, but also in other parts of the world. His company FFI has already signed letters of intent with Covestro and Eon for the supply of green hydrogen in the middle of the decade.
More: Thyssen-Krupp suspends the IPO of its hydrogen subsidiary Nucera

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