Natural gas as a bridging solution until green hydrogen viable: MEPs

Natural gas should be used as a bridging solution until producing green hydrogen is commercially viable, according to a motion adopted in the European Parliament’s environment committee. The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety calls on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, to incorporate its motion for a resolution.

“Hydrogen may be produced through a variety of processes”, members noted. That implies that other types of hydrogen can be used until green hydrogen scale up. Hildegard Bentele, a German Christian Democrat lawmaker, drafted the motion said: “ENVI adopts with a big majority (60/16/3) my opinion which emphasises the important role of H2 in reaching EU climate goals.”

She said that to achieve climate neutrality, there is no getting around hydrogen, even if we remain open to other technologies. There is a great potential for hydrogen areas such as energy storage and CO2 reduction, leading to help decarbonise heavy industry and traffic. She also stressed that the EU should partner with other countries, especially with Africa, to support the hydrogen market.

The members note that around 95% of hydrogen currently used in the industry is sourced by using fossil fuel. So, increasing the share of renewable-based hydrogen (green hydrogen) would require a significant amount of scaling up at every level of the supply chain from production to transportation. To go from grey to green would also require incentive and funding to support hydrogen-related projects and R&D.

There is still some opposition towards this motion as some maintain a view that grey hydrogen is a way to help out fossil fuel companies. Grey hydrogen is not a sustainable solution and would not help the environment, some believe.

Jutta Paulus, MEP (Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance) shared her views with H2 Bulletin:

“No chapter of glory for the Environment Committee! A dirty majority formed today, ranking the future of the gas industry higher than the climate and the environment. Neither so-called “blue” hydrogen from fossil natural gas with CCS, nor “yellow” hydrogen produced with nuclear energy are sustainable!” she said.

She further added “Even if CCS were already available and risk-free, even if there were a safe final repository for nuclear waste, massive environmental impacts would remain. The use of fossil natural gas always involves climate-damaging methane emissions, and uranium mining contaminates vast areas.”

“There is no alternative to green, emission-free hydrogen. Today’s vote is a missed opportunity to set clear environmental standards for hydrogen production.” she insisted.

Shabla Kahn

Shabla is responsible for Eastern Europe at H2 Bulletin. She has a diploma in Environmental Science. Click on the email icon to send me an email or follow me on social media. I am reachable on Phone: +44 (0) 208 123 7812
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