Pillars of Progress: Technology – Keeping hydrogen green

Pillars of Progress: Technology – Keeping hydrogen green

Environmentally sustainable hydrogen is essential for decarbonising the energy system. However, hydrogen and fuel cell technologies have yet to be used as widely or effectively as the energy transition demands.

With a series of important guidance documents, a hydrogen roadmap and green hydrogen certification, the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) is ensuring that hydrogen and fuel cell technologies constitute an environmentally friendly solution for Europe.

In 2019, the FCH JU-funded initiative CertifHy marked the start of a new and transparent green hydrogen market by launching the first-of-its-kind EU-wide guarantees of origin (GO) pilot scheme for green and low-carbon hydrogen.

A CertifHy GO discloses information on the hydrogen produced, including its energy source and greenhouse gas intensity. Two labels have been implemented: ‘Green Hydrogen’ and ‘Low-carbon Hydrogen’. The CertifHy GO Scheme enables EU-wide consumption of Green and Low-carbon Hydrogen regardless of geographical location. By using a GO, the corresponding quantity of hydrogen consumed de-facto acquires the properties of the hydrogen covered by the GO, much like existing systems for electricity.

The pilot has successfully led to the issuance of Guarantees of Origin to the market. Today, 76k CertifHy hydrogen Guarantees of Origin (i.e. 2,298 t of hydrogen) have been issued, of which 2.9k (86 t of hydrogen) were for hydrogen from renewable energy sources and 75k (2,212 t) for fossil energy-based hydrogen.

Other FCH JU projects are providing a framework to support the market as it expands.

Launched in 2010, FC-HyGuide is considered the reference for life-cycle assessment (LCA) tools, while HyTechCycling has been establishing environmentally sustainable recycling and dismantling processes for fuel cells.

Ready to roll

FCH JU’s 2019 report Hydrogen Roadmap Europe: A sustainable pathway for the European Enegy Transition outlines the importance of hydrogen for achieving a zero carbon Europe and its potential to decarbonise difficult sectors like long-haul transport, chemical, iron and steel. By 2050, hydrogen energy could account for 24% of final energy demand.

With the creation of an LCA tool and European framework for green hydrogen GOs, while introducing sustainable practices for precious metal and rare earth use, FCH JU-funded projects are paving the way for widespread commercial uptake and ensuring that hydrogen fuel cell technologies are an environmentally sustainable choice.

The FCH JU has achieved a lot in the twelve years since its inception, as it strives to make hydrogen and fuel cell products an everyday reality.

Working in partnership with the FCH JU, H2 View is celebrating the organisation’s success stories in this ‘Pillars of Progress Series’ and bringing you, our readers, an exclusive article every fortnight.

 Creating low-carbon and sustainable solutions, enabling market entry for new products, developing ‘next generation’ products based on previous research and opening new markets for European expertise in fuel cell and hydrogen technology are just some of the FCH JU’s success stories, as you will read about over the coming months.

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