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Says William Todts, Executive Director of Transport&Environment, a European clean transport campaign group.

Despite sky high ambitions and unprecedented political support, Europe’s hydrogen industry is struggling. The EU’s goal to produce and import 20 million tonnes of clean hydrogen by 2030 is now widely seen as completely unrealistic. For hydrogen to take off, the EU needs to dial down its ambitions dramatically. Even a more achievable 4 million tonne goal would require an 80 fold increase in renewable hydrogen production.

Despite the chasm between hype and reality politicians remain unfazed. For their first big industry dialogue, Ursula von der Leyen and her new Green Deal Chief, Maros Šefčovič, chose hydrogen. Compared to the automotive, wind, chemicals or steel industry, it is a tiny part of the economy. But no industry sells dreams better than the hydrogen lobby.

The trouble is that unless we change course, the hydrogen dream will become an expensive nightmare.


When it comes to hydrogen, less is more. If Europe’s politicians can avoid the temptation to apply the hydrogen miracle to everything, they have a chance of decarbonising hard-to-decarbonise sectors like shipping and aviation. With a healthy reality check we can really get the hydrogen industry off the ground.

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