Germany updates its national hydrogen strategy

Germany has decided to update the National Hydrogen Strategy with the increased level of ambition in climate protection and the new challenges in the energy market.

Illustration only. Courtesy of Port of Hamburg

The Federal Cabinet made the decision on 26 July preceded by a political agreement of all departments, including the five core departments for hydrogen: the Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection, the Federal Development Ministry, the Federal Ministry of Transport and the Federal Research Ministry. 

The updated strategy sets state guidelines for the generation, transport and use of hydrogen and its derivatives and bundles the federal government’s measures. A reliable supply of Germany with green, long-term sustainable hydrogen is the declared goal of the federal government.

The measures of the update cover the entire value chain, have often already been started parallel to the development of the update of the strategy or are planned in the short term for the year 2023, in the medium term for the years 2024/2025 and in some cases already in the long term until 2030. 

The following targets are to be implemented with the measures:

  • Accelerated market ramp-up of hydrogen: The market ramp-up of hydrogen, its derivatives and hydrogen application technologies will be significantly accelerated and the level of ambition along the entire value chain will be massively increased.
  • Ensuring sufficient availability of hydrogen and its derivatives: The target for domestic electrolysis capacity in 2030 is increased from 5 GW to at least 10 GW. The remaining demand is to be covered by imports. 
  • Development of an efficient hydrogen infrastructure: By 2027/2028, a hydrogen start-up network with more than 1,800 km of converted and newly built hydrogen lines will be set up in Germany via the IPCEI funding; Europe-wide about 4,500 km are added (European Hydrogen Backbone). All major generation, import and storage centers will be connected to the relevant customers by 2030.
  • Establishment of hydrogen applications in the sectors: By 2030, hydrogen and its derivatives will be used in industrial applications, heavy commercial vehicles and increasingly in aviation and shipping. In the electricity sector, hydrogen contributes to energy security; through gas power plants that can be converted to climate-neutral gases (H2-ready) and through system-friendly electrolysers.
  • Germany will be the leading provider of hydrogen technologies by 2030: German providers will expand their technology leadership and offer the entire value chain of hydrogen technologies from production ( e.g. electrolysers) to various applications ( e.g. fuel cell technology).
  • Creation of suitable framework conditions: Coherent legal requirements at the national, European and, if possible, also international level support the market ramp-up. In particular, this includes efficient planning and approval procedures, uniform standards and certification systems, and administration that is adequately equipped and coordinated at all levels.
  • Import strategy: An import strategy for hydrogen and its derivatives is being developed, taking into account sustainability criteria in the sense of the global goals for sustainable development. The import strategy will send the signal to partner countries that Germany wants to enter into global partnerships, enable reliable supply chains to Germany, establish sustainable standards and be available as a technology partner. This spring, the federal government reached an agreement with Norway on the long-term supply of hydrogen.

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, Robert Habeck, said: “With the update of the National Hydrogen Strategy, we are setting the framework for the new phase in the hydrogen market ramp-up, which we have consistently initiated since taking office: from research and demonstration to large-scale production. Investing in hydrogen is an investment in our future. In climate protection, in qualified jobs and the security of energy supply.”