Hydrogen: the energy of the future given a boost by green recovery package

By ENGIE - 15 July 2020 - 11:53

Thanks to the three-phase plan announced by the European Commission on July 8, hydrogen, a key tool in the energy transition, will be given public support for its industrial development. Useful for storing renewable energy, it can also be used to reduce carbon emissions from polluting industrial processes. ENGIE is developing numerous projects in mobility and storage. 


In June, ENGIE Solutions and the Agence Régionale de l'Energie et du Climat Occitanie (AREC) began construction of a first charging station powered by green hydrogen on the Toulouse-Blagnac airport site via their joint subsidiary HyPort. Four shuttle buses linking the airport and remote car parks will be provided.Located on the public domain and on the tarmac, the station will be able to recharge private and professional vehicles as well as runway vehicles and equipment.


Around thirty active projects with renewable hydrogen

The Group is currently involved in roughly thirty projects involving hydrogen. These include the first hydrogen power-to-gas demonstrator in France, GRHYD, officially opened in 2018 in Dunkirk. Hydrogen is produced by the electrolysis of water, and it can then be injected into the gas network. In particular, the hydrogen is used to power a local heating plant and it already supplies a hundred or so households. A green energy solution, this hydrogen demonstrator also acts as a storage solution that makes it possible to use excess renewable energy production. 


Among other projects, ENGIE is also involved in the launch of the Coradia iLint in Germany, the world’s first renewable hydrogen-powered passenger train. In 2019, the Group took part in constructing a station serving high service-level buses that run on 100% renewable hydrogen.


In addition to its projects focusing on hydrogen end-use, ENGIE intends to develop its renewable hydrogen production capacities, with a target of several gigawatt-hours by 2030.

The European Commission launches a support plan for hydrogen 

As things stand, hydrogen constitutes only 1% of the European energy mix, of which only 4% is produced from renewable sources, according to the International Energy Agency. On July 8, the European Commission announced a Hydrogen Strategy which aims to increase the rate of hydrogen consumption to between 12% and 14% at the level of the continent by 2050, the target date for achieving carbon neutrality, calling for several hundred billion euros of investment over this period.


The plan defined by the strategy falls into three phases:

  • decarbonizing hydrogen production by 2024
  • increasing the capacity of electrolysers producing green hydrogen to 40 GW by 2030, by which time hydrogen production could make it possible to avoid emitting 90 million of CO2 per year. 
  • industrializing hydrogen production to ensure that polluting sectors of the economy become carbon-free between 2030 and 2050


The Commission’s strategy includes a European Clean Hydrogen Alliance, which brings together private-sector players from all parts of the value chain. “The Clean Hydrogen Alliance will act as a platform that enables close cooperation and coordination along the value chain,” states the Commission. In 2019, ENGIE already signed its own alliance for green hydrogen production with DLVA and Air Liquide.