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Study on Opportunities Arising from the Inclusion of Hydrogen Energy Technologies in the National Energy and Climate Plans

Brussels, Belgium, 26 March 2019


The current study aims to identify opportunities in terms of jobs, growth, environmental sustainability and energy security through the inclusion of hydrogen energy technologies in the NECPs, estimating at the same time the financial impact. Hydrogen provides both a mechanism for sector integration and sector coupling as well as the option to store energy at large scale over long periods of time or to transport it from regions of supply to centers of demand. Therefore, hydrogen is systemic and a must-have to ensure the transition of the energy system. Hydrogen offers a major route for at-scale decarbonization in selected end use segments:

  • Transport: For large cars, buses, trucks, trains, aviation and ships, hydrogen-powered fuel cells can provide energy for long distances.

  • Gas Network: Hydrogen can employ existing assets and infrastructure, such as Europe's extensive natural gas network, existing heaters, industrial assets, and fuel retail networks to decarbonize the gas grid covering buildings and industrial, high- grade heat.

  • Industry: Low carbon hydrogen (either from renewables through electrolysis or from natural gas through steam methane reforming coupled with carbon capture and storage) used as feedstock is the only at-scale path to reduce the carbon footprint of some industries, especially in the production of steel and chemicals.

The study should follow the timing of the NECPs process as further detailed below under section

Objectives of the study

Based on the information from the publicly submitted NECPs, this study must perform an analysis for a low and a high hydrogen energy technologies penetration scenario in terms of increased renewable energies penetration, reduced emissions, improved airquality and improved energy security. The objectives are to:

  • Analyse the 28 MS NECPs, with a view to extract useful figures to identify the potential for hydrogen to contribute to the energy transition through its use in the transport, in the gas networks and in the industry sectors.

  • Perform a SWOT analysis per MS in relation to renewables potential, industrial / manufacturing infrastructure, indigenous fossil fuels and geological structures for underground storage of hydrogen and natural gas admixtures of hydrogen as well as public acceptance / NIMBY (Not in my back yard) issues concerning Natural Gas exploitation or underground CO2 storage.

  • Analyse the financial impact of the introduction of hydrogen energy technologies in the Transport, Gas network and Industry sectors of all MS, based on a technoeconomic analysis along the NECPs and presenting the impacts in terms of environmental sustainability, energy security, growth and job creation. The focus should be on hydrogen from renewable energy sources, with a view to enable a cost-effective integration of larger shares of renewables in the energy systems. Other pathways for the production of sustainable hydrogen where economically feasible and relevant may also be considered. Existing studies, as the recent FCH 2 JU Hydrogen Roadmap, should be taken into consideration as to the overall EU potential of Hydrogen in helping decarbonize the said sectors.

  • Disseminate the study's findings to Member States through appropriate channels, by engaging with the Technical Working Groups.

View the ECN Procurement Notice (This notice is visible only to ECN Executive and Expert Members: Please login to view).

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