UK and Germany forge hydrogen partnership

UK and Germany have signed a Joint Declaration of Intent to collaborate on the development of an international hydrogen industry.

Courtesy of UK's Department for Energy Security and Net Zero

The new agreement was signed on September 26, 2023, at the UK Embassy in Berlin, by Minister for Energy Efficiency and Green Finance Lord Callan and Federal Republic of Germany’s State Secretary for Energy Phillip Nimmermann.

The two countries agreed to accelerate the role of low-carbon hydrogen in their nations’ energy mix and committed to working together to advance ground-breaking and renewable hydrogen technologies, supporting jobs and low-carbon investment.

The partnership follows significant investment by both countries in the development of hydrogen as an alternative fuel.

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In the UK, the government is supporting new low-carbon hydrogen production with capital from the £240 million ($292.5 million) Net Zero Hydrogen Fund and revenue support from the Hydrogen Production Business Model.

In Germany, the government is also supporting the implementation of the National Hydrogen Strategy with funding from the Climate and Transformation Fund, providing a push for the ramp-up of a hydrogen market.

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The agreement between the UK and Germany is also expected to further boost the move towards net zero emissions by 2050, and the energy security of both countries, moving away from fossil fuels and towards cleaner and more secure, diversified alternatives.

As disclosed, the parties agreed on the following five pillars of collaboration:

  • Accelerating the deployment of hydrogen projects for industry and consumers;
  • Establishing international leadership on hydrogen markets, setting safety and regulations to aid trade;
  • Research and innovation on hydrogen, from production to end use;
  • Promoting trade for hydrogen, plus related goods, technologies, and services; and
  • Joint market analysis, to support planning and investment by government and industry.

The goal is to make hydrogen technologies cheaper and more accessible and lower energy costs for consumers in the future.

Lord Callanan said: “The UK and Germany are natural partners in making low-carbon hydrogen a cleaner and more sustainable way to power up our societies. This agreement will underpin the development of this new fuel not just for our respective countries but also for international trade that could be transformative in our work towards achieving net zero emissions by 2050. It is through these partnerships that we can move away from expensive fossil fuels – and in doing so boost our energy security.”

Philip Nimmermann added: “With this declaration we are on our way to jointly help developing the European and international markets for hydrogen. Our cooperation will not just involve trading of hydrogen and its derivatives, but also cooperation on technologies and innovation in this field, which will be of mutual benefit for both Germany and the UK.”

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Reaping the benefit of trade opportunities between the two countries, the industry now expects private investment in hydrogen technology and projects to follow the agreement.

Sopna Sury, COO at Hydrogen RWE Generation, said: “RWE is committed to ramping up green hydrogen in the UK and Germany as part of its clean energy growth plans. By the end of the decade, RWE aims to build a net 2 GW of dedicated electrolyzer capacity in our core markets, including the UK. Evidence of this is our flagship GetH2 project in Lingen, Germany and our project development work in England, Scotland and Wales.”

Dennis Schulz, CEO of ITM Power, the UK’s only commercial electrolyzer manufacturer, welcomed the agreement, noting the company will in October open its new office and EU after-sales hub near Frankfurt in Germany.