Following the announcement of the €2.5bn H2 Green Steel initiative that will establish the world’s first large-scale green steel producer, Jacob Ruiter, CEO of EIT InnoEnergy Benelux, discusses how changing the way the business case for green hydrogen is considered has been vital for building momentum for Europe’s green hydrogen value chain.
It is often said that it is human nature to shy away from change. Until recently, one might have said the same about decarbonising industrial processes. While developing renewable technologies to decarbonise electricity has been “relatively straightforward”, decarbonising energy intensive industries, replacing natural gas to generate heat and reimagining CO₂ intensive industries to remove or reduce carbon has not. Yet, between Europe’s goal to be climate-neutral by 2050, growing consumer interest in sustainability, and the arrival of positive returns for the green hydrogen business case, energy intensive industrial processes are primed for a shake-up.
Of course, green hydrogen is not the only solution for industrial decarbonisation, but it is a means and a strong catalyst for change. It has the benefit of sector coupling with a continuously decarbonising electricity system, and, by focusing on energy intensive or CO₂ intensive industries such as steel, cement and fertilisers first, it can make a big impact in a relatively short period. In fact, steel is responsible for eight percent of global carbon dioxide emissions while cement accounts for seven percent of the share.
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