EU earmarks €2.2 billion in hydrogen funding for spring 2024
The President of the European Commission (EC) Ursula von der Leyen has announced new investments into the hydrogen industry, including €2.2 billion worth of funding reserved for the spring of 2024.
During a speech at the European Hydrogen Week 2023, via video message, von der Leyen said that the hydrogen economy is blooming as the first hydrogen buses are running in European cities, construction works have begun on the Port of Rotterdam and the world’s first plane powered by liquid hydrogen cruised the skies of Slovenia, reminding the participants of the European Union’s (EU) support towards developments in the hydrogen industry.
Von der Leyen noted that the EU has been working on three main strands: first, strong public investment to scale up the hydrogen market, second, international cooperation to build a global market for hydrogen, and third, a new partnership with the private sector to spur innovation.
In regard to the investment, von der Leyen mentioned the European Green Deal, noting that with NextGenerationEU and REPowerEU programs, the EU is investing in hydrogen valleys, hydrogen trains and clean-steel factories. Furthermore, the EC president said that over €17 billion in state aid was authorized for roughly 80 hydrogen projects across the EU.
During the speech, von der Leyen also announced the next steps for the European Hydrogen Bank. This week, the first auction of the European Hydrogen Bank is being launched. It is backed by €800 million in European funding and is expected to attract private sector financing and result in commercial off-take agreements.
In the spring of 2024, the EU will launch the second round of auctions, reaching a total value of €3 billion. In parallel, work is progressing on the international leg of the European Hydrogen Bank, von der Leyen said, noting that this will secure diversified imports of renewable hydrogen from reliable suppliers abroad.
Von der Leyen announced the EU’s support to build “one of the biggest hydrogen projects in the world” in the Brazilian State of Piaui. The project is part of a €2 billion Global Gateway investment in the hydrogen value chain in Brazil. This new Green Energy Park will be a 10 GW production facility for clean hydrogen and ammonia, which will then be shipped to the island of Krk in Croatia, and from there, hydrogen will travel to serve industrial off-takers in South-East Europe. In parallel, the project is expected to create local jobs and value chains in Brazil.
As for the cooperation with the private sector, the EC president mentioned the launch of a series of Clean Transition Dialogues with each industrial ecosystem, the first one being dedicated to the hydrogen industry.
Von der Leyen said that by the end of the year, the EC will assess how member states plan to implement their national hydrogen commitments and will make it simpler to access public financing. To support producers and consumers to better find each other, the president said the EC will create a public platform where consumers can indicate their demand and producers can find their off-takers.
To remind, this week, in a joint letter, CEOs from the Renewable Hydrogen Coalition (RHC) urged European Ministers of Finance to streamline financing to renewable hydrogen and electrolyzer manufacturing capacity within Europe and allocate national budgets to the European Hydrogen Bank.
“Europe has everything it needs to lead the renewable hydrogen revolution. This opportunity must not be missed,” the CEOs stated in the letter.