The European Hydrogen Week took place in Brussels from 29 November to 3 December 2021, for the second year in a row. The opening speech was given by the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. This year’s event was also held virtually, with representatives of the H₂GreenTECH project partnership among the 2,000 participants. The main theme of the event was the transition to a clean hydrogen economy in the EU and beyond. One of the highlights of the event was the launch of the Clean Hydrogen Partnership, which has taken over all the activities of the existing Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Association (FCH JU). During the week, the opportunities for hydrogen production and use in different sectors of the economy were discussed based on the objectives of the EU Hydrogen Strategy.

President von der Leyen said in her opening speech: “Clean hydrogen will have a central place in the climate-neutral economy of the future and I am proud of Europe’s role as the world’s clean hydrogen trailblazer. At the beginning of this year, more than 200 new hydrogen projects had been announced globally. 55 per cent of them are in Europe… We have to scale-up clean hydrogen production, expand its applications, and create a virtuous circle where demand and supply feed each other and bring the prices down. This is without any doubt a global endeavour, but I want Europe to be leading the race”.

“This new Partnership builds on years of cooperation promoted by the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking. And many thanks for that. And it brings that model to the next level. It is a new big step forward to bring innovative technologies from the laboratory to the factory and, ultimately, to European businesses and consumers” (..)  “Clean hydrogen is the energy of the next generation”, President von der Leyen concluded.

Jean-Eric Paquet, Director General of DG Research and Innovation, highlighted the importance of hydrogen valleys for the future development of the hydrogen economy in the EU. It is also crucial to create value chains that can harness Europe’s potential in this area to develop new skills, knowledge and jobs. Joint research and the innovation agenda as well as private-public investment partnerships are therefore particularly urgent in this area. With the launch of the FCH Observatory online platform in 2020, FCH JU will provide policy makers, economic actors and the general public with access to comprehensive information on hydrogen technologies.

Author: Petra Props, National institute of Chemistry