European Hydrogen Week is an international event that virtually took place in Brussels in November 2020. It was organized by Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Join Undertaking (FCH JU) and European Commission’s Directorate for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW). The main focus of the event was on clean hydrogen, which has been identified as a key element of the European Green Deal for the decarbonisation of many sectors of the economy and the transition to green energy.

The history of the meeting of stakeholders working in the field of fuel cells and hydrogen technologies in the European area dates back to 2008, when the FCH JU was established. At that time, key industry and research stakeholders from local, national and European institutional levels met with the aim of placing fuel cells and hydrogen in the European context and in the emerging global industry, and demonstrating stakeholder commitment to the common goal of mobilizing high levels of public and private investment for the deployment of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in Europe. The FCH JU is a public-private partnership supporting research, technological development and demonstration (RTD) in fuel cell and hydrogen energy technologies in Europe. Its aim is to accelerate the market introduction of these technologies and to realize their potential as a tool for achieving a low-carbon energy system.

A series of annual General Assemblies, followed in 2014 by Stakeholder Forums, provided an opportunity for industry and policy makers to demonstrate how the existing FCH JU partnership contributes to European energy and transport goals. To meet the unprecedented interest in hydrogen and fuel cell technologies and to mark the adoption of the EU Hydrogen Strategy in July 2020, the first European Hydrogen Week was held.

The series of events, held during European Hydrogen Week 2020, was based on the central role of hydrogen in achieving the EU’s commitment to become the first carbon neutral continent by 2050. The highlight of the week was European Hydrogen Forum, dedicated to the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance (ECHA), established in July 2020, which will connect industry, research institutions, national and regional authorities, civil society and the European Investment Bank and will set up an investment program to increase production and support demand for clean hydrogen in the EU. ECHA was established as part of the new European Industrial Strategy for Europe in March 2020 and to support the implementation of Hydrogen Strategy, and thus represents a new clean energy investment program under the Commission’s Recovery Package. The National Institute of Chemistry Slovenia, the lead partner of the H2GreenTECH project, and the project partner TU Graz, Institute of Chemical Engineering and Environmental Technology, have also committed to the principles and objectives of ECHA. By joining ECHA, including through the H2GreenTECH project activities, the partners will contribute to a more ambitious uptake of hydrogen technologies in the EU by 2030, linking renewable and low-carbon hydrogen production, demand in industry, mobility and other sectors, and hydrogen transmission and distribution.

The European Hydrogen Forum, like all of this year’s event, took place in virtual format on 26-27 November. The forum was organized by DG GROW and FCH JU in partnership with Hydrogen Europe and Hydrogen Europe Research. Originally, the H2GreenTECH project partners had planned to present the project and current project activities to the professional audience in the form of a presentation / poster. With the changed format of the event, the project leaders of both institutions, Dr. Bla┼ż Likozar (National Institute of Chemistry Slovenia) and Dr. Viktor Hacker (TU Graz), participated in several meetings with representatives of various organizations working in the field of hydrogen and hydrogen technologies and sought synergies with similar centres in Europe.

Prepared by: Petra Props, project coordinator at National Institute of Chemistry