The role of renewable H2 import & storage to scale up the EU deployment of renewable H2
Report. Prepared for European Commission, DG ENER under contract N° ENER/C2/2019-456/ SI2.840317
The European Commission's hydrogen strategy presented in July 2020 outlines, amongst other elements, how to upscale the demand and supply of renewable hydrogen. It has set the strategic objective to install at least 40 GW of renewable hydrogen electrolyser capacity within the EU (producing about 5 Mt of renewable hydrogen) based upon an estimated demand of up to 10 Mt per year of renewable hydrogen in the EU by 2030. To produce 10 Mt of renewable hydrogen, a substantial amount of additional renewable electricity will be needed to produce renewable hydrogen, on top of the large amounts of renewable electricity that will be needed to electrify end-uses that are currently served by other energy carriers. The characteristics of renewable electricity generation, such as its variability and the time needed to realize additional solar and wind parks, the need to minimise the costs of the energy transition, and security of supply considerations require taking an in-depth look into the role of renewable hydrogen import (infrastructure) as well as into the role of hydrogen storage (infrastructure) to decarbonize the EU economy. At the moment, it is not clear whether domestic production of hydrogen will achieve the strategic EU 2030 goal to cover 10 Mt of renewable hydrogen demand, leading to the potential need for imports. Therefore, this research paper intends to assess the supply gaps and possible options for cost-effective renewable hydrogen carriers imports and transport modes, given the broad diversity of potential supply scenarios.