Europe sets clear rules for sustainable hydrogen. As we explained in the news, Green, blue and gray: the colors for the classification of hydrogen catalog according to a color scale is a nonformal mode. A “way” that serves to identify hydrogen production technologies, but that does not define the actual European rules.
For it’s part, the European Commission is clarifying the EU rules applicable to renewable hydrogen and introducing disciplinary restraint.
Specifically, it identifies two types of sustainable hydrogen:
In order to give a general review of the situation, we can state that climate change, linked to greenhouse gases, affects our planet in the form of increasingly continues extreme climatic conditions in Europe as well.
That is why we must turn the page on fossil fuels and switch to cleaner energy sources. This means being able to replace fossil gas with renewable, low-carbon gases, such as hydrogen.
In legal terms, on 24 June 2021 the Parliament approved the EU climate law, which makes it legally binding to reduce emissions by 55% by 2030 and climate neutrality by 2050. Let’s find out more about it.
Hydrogen from renewable sources
When can hydrogen be defined as renewable?
The European Commission is promoting two new acts defining the community rules applicable to renewable hydrogen, introducing disciplinary restraint:
- Act 1: Measures for establishing hydrogen from renewable sources
- Act 2: Calculating hydrogen life cycle Emissions
First Act: the criteria for establishing hydrogen from renewable sources.
The first act refers to non-biological renewable fuels.
It also establishes concept for products that fall within the category “renewable hydrogen“. Specifically, it identifies the rules for accounting for the green electricity used to power the electrolysers.
For example, in the case of electrolysers connected to the electricity grid, producers may consider electricity as fully renewable only in the following case: the plant must be in a bidding zone where the average percentage of green electricity exceeded 90% in the previous calendar year.
On the other hand, for electrolysers directly connected to photovoltaic or wind power plants it is necessary to demonstrate the non usage of electricity grid.
In addition, renewable hydrogen producers must prove that the electricity purchased through the contract comes from a wind or photovoltaic project operating for no more than three years more than the H2 plant and without EU funding.
Finally, until 2027, the producer must demonstrate that the green energy purchased is generated in the same month as the electrolyser is in operation or that, alternatively, it is provided by a storage system
Second Act: the plan for calculating life cycle emissions of hydrogen from renewable sources
The second act, on the other hand, introduce a detailed scheme for calculating the life cycle emissions of renewable hydrogen and recycled carbon fuels.
Low impact hydrogen emission
When can hydrogen be defined a low impact emission?
In general, the EU Gas Package argues that hydrogen is low carbon when it comes from non-renewable energy sources.
At the same time, it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 70% compared to fossil fuel. This definition of low-carbon hydrogen includes, for example, hydrogen produced by methane reforming with carbon capture and storage.
In this case, in fact, hydrogen is obtained through a process that uses fossil fuels.
At the same time, however, it has a lower impact on the environment because it involves the capture of CO2 particles that are not so dispersed in the atmosphere.
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