EU urged to require more ‘made in Europe’ standards for hydrogen sector

20 major electrolyzer manufacturers, including Nel Hydrogen, Siemens Energy and thyssenkrupp nucera, have signed a letter calling on the European Commission President nominee Ursula Von der Leyen to ensure a level playing field and require more “made in Europe” standards for the industry.

Courtesy of the European Commission; Photo by Mauro Bottaro

The companies claimed that Chinese subsidies for state-owned hydrogen companies create a “skewed” playing field that puts European manufacturers at a significant disadvantage.

According to the companies, the push for European resilience criteria is aimed at supporting the build-up of a resilient value chain in Europe as well as Europe’s ambitions to become a leader in the production of renewable hydrogen, which is seen as a key way to reduce emissions from heavy industry and heavy-duty transport.

To note, the European Union (EU) wants to produce 10 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen and import another 10 million tonnes by 2030, as part of its plan to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

European manufacturers stated they want important parts of the electrolyzer production process, such as cell assembly, cell stacking and surface treatment, to be made in Europe for the next round of funding from the EU’s hydrogen bank later in 2024, alleging that the results of the EU hydrogen bank pilot auction reveal that less than half of the awarded projects plan to rely on European technology.

Nel Hydrogen said that the companies hope that their efforts will lead to new rules that support the development of the European renewable hydrogen value chain and help European electrolyzer manufacturers compete against Chinese imports.

Nel Hydrogen’s CEO and President Håkon Volldal commented: “I don’t want to give up on Europe. If we don’t create demand for European technology in Europe, we squander the opportunity for European OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] to win.”

To remind, the European Commission has recently started work on a pilot mechanism that aims to accelerate investments by providing a “clearer” picture of the market situation of both off-takers and suppliers and facilitating contacts between them.

According to the Commission, the mechanism will collect, process and give access to information on demand and supply for renewable, low-carbon hydrogen and derivatives, allowing European off-takers to match with both European and foreign suppliers. Furthermore, it will collect and process market data on the development of hydrogen flows and prices.

The Commission said that a procurement process has started to find a service provider to develop an IT platform to operate the mechanism, adding that it plans to sign a contract by the end of this year so that it can start its operations by mid-2025.

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