The German Council on the Environment (SRU) just released an opinion (in German only) on the potential role of hydrogen. In its opinion the Council argued that hydrogen can play an important role in climate protection, but will remain a scarce and precious energy carrier. The Council recommends concentrating all efforts on the market ramp-up of green hydrogen from wind and sun. Even as a transitional measure, policymakers should not rely on fossil-generated hydrogen, the Council stated.
The reason for not relying on fossil generated hydrogen is the impact of the production. The production of hydrogen from fossil fuels causes significant greenhouse gas emissions – even if hydrogen is produced from natural gas in combination with CO2 capture and storage (CCS). There are also environmental and health risks associated with CO2 storage, the Council argues.
The council also warned that the reasoning that green hydrogen and synthetic energy sources could be used everywhere, does not mean that it would make economic and ecological sense. It makes sense to use hydrogen in parts of industry and in international shipping and aviation, the Council stated. The SRU furthermore pleas for a certification system with sustainability criteria to ensure that the production of green hydrogen does not exacerbate environmental problems such as land or water shortages. This is especially true for imports.
To conclude, the Council pushed for infrastructures of hydrogen, natural gas and electricity to be planned in an integrated way. The basis for this must be the climate targets, the Council stated. As soon as the translated version of the position is made available, it will be uploaded on the website of both the SRU and the EEAC Network.