Hydrogen colors: Do not confuse green, blue and pink

This is not new: different voices invite us to consider, at the same level as renewables (green), hydrogen produced with nuclear (pink), or with natural gas by sequestering carbon (blue). This trend seems to be gaining ground in the Council of the European Union. To the point of provoking a warning from the coalition for renewable hydrogen.

Under the impetus of the current Czech presidency, the Council of the European Union is asked to assimilate low-carbon hydrogen to renewable hydrogen, in particular for applications in industry and transport. The revised Renewable Energy Directive (RED3) supports the development of decarbonized hydrogen reduced to green color. This would include including pink and blue to renewable fuels of non-biological origin (RFNBO).

According to the proposal formulated on November 23, an article 8a could be added to the Hydrogen and Gas Directive allowing Member States to possibly count “low-carbon hydrogen and low-carbon fuels in the decarbonization objectives”. This could also have consequences for regulations affecting sustainable fuels in aviation (Refuel EU Aviation) and maritime transport (FuelEUMaritime).


A denounced position

The Renewable Hydrogen Coalition denounce this positionsaying she is supported “ by a few Member States such as France, Romania and Poland, anxious to see low-carbon hydrogen find its place in European legislation at all costs “. This is indeed the case for the French industry.

Every ton of carbon avoided counts, and the proposal of the Czech presidency gives us a historic opportunity to accelerate, and strong: let’s seize it! “, Can we read in a reaction dated November 29 and published on its site by France hidrogen, surrounded by “actors from the entire hydrogen value chain”. A position that Philippe Boucly, president of the French association, justifies as follows: ” To provide a realistic trajectory, it now appears imperative to open the scope of hydrogen use quotas in industry and transport to all clean hydrogen production methods, and not only to RFNBOs “.

Decisive launch pad?

Evoking “a combination of renewables and nuclear” likely to offer “ a decisive launch pad that will benefit the entire European value chain “, Philippe Boucly calls for recognizing “ at its fair value non-electrolytic renewable hydrogen, particularly that produced by pyrogasification or thermolysis of sustainable biomass “.

Highlighting ” the very survival of the continent’s heavy (and essential) industry “, he rocks : “ Exploiting the strong complementarity between renewable and low-carbon hydrogen will be decisive in reducing the costs of this transition and not creating new energy and industrial dependencies. “. Yet it is in the name of energy security that the coalition for renewable hydrogen rejects the assimilation of pink and blue to green hydrogen.


Later, will it be too late?

One letter signed by 50 industrialistsenvironmental NGOs and think tanks, including the Renewable Hydrogen Coalition, call for keeping the targets and tone of the Renewable Energy Directive.

Nuclear and fossil electricity have never been considered renewable, therefore nuclear and fossil hydrogen should not be treated differently and have no place in the RED “, they oppose. It is for them a question of credibility, but also of clear orientation for the industrialists. Maintaining the trajectory towards renewables would be important to reduce “ considerably the large appetite “of the heavy industry, aviation and shipping sectors” for imported fossil fuels “.

The Renewable Hydrogen Coalition recalls that “hydrogen has long been considered the fuel of the future”. With the current geopolitical and energy crisis, she believes that it could now become ” the fuel of the present “. For the organization, policy makers must make the renewable energy choice today so that Europe can benefit from a thriving market for renewable hydrogen in the future “. She warns: Later will be too late »


Ademe’s opinion on blue hydrogen

Last May, Ademe ruled in an “Expert opinion” document entitled “Climate impact of blue hydrogen”. The agency assures: The hydrogen produced by methane steam reformers with pre-combustion capture (partial capture of approximately 60% of emissions) is far from being compatible with the term ‘low-carbon’ “. It adds that, according to current natural gas supply conditions, “hydrogen produced with post-combustion capture (over all emissions) on methane steam reformers does not meet the ‘low-carbon’ threshold either”. .

The 22-page document does not exclude possible developments “to pass theblue hydrogen below the emissions threshold set by the taxonomy”. These include, for example, new technologies, changes in supply, or the exclusive use of renewable gas. This would not be without new risks concerning energy sovereignty, the availability of the resource, and the lock-in due to the heavy investments made.

The topic is expected to spark much discussion among proponents and opponents of hydrogen color mixing.

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Hydrogen colors: Do not confuse green, blue and pink

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