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Europe’s hydrogen projects set to double due to clean energy demand

The number of planned or announced hydrogen projects across Europe is almost double that of current operational projects, according to research by global law firm DLA Piper and data analytics firm inspiratia.

DLA Piper’s report The Hydrogen Revolution in EMEA shows that there are 192 planned or announced hydrogen projects in Europe compared to 107 current operational projects on the continent. The report analyses how the hydrogen market is developing, and the different approaches that are being taken across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.

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When burned, hydrogen only leaves water as a by-product, making it an attractive emission-free alternative to traditional energy sources. Its potential is further demonstrated by the fact it is an energy carrier with an energy density more than twice that of natural gas. Those characteristics cause clean hydrogen to have the potential to be a key component of the drive towards a net zero future. DLA Piper’s report argues that investment in clean energy, such as hydrogen, will be a vital part of global economic recovery post-pandemic and building a sustainable future.

Natasha Luther-Jones, DLA Piper’s global co-chair, energy and natural resources sector and international co-head for sustainability and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), said: “Clean hydrogen has the potential to be a vital component of future energy systems and as governments look to recover from the pandemic, an increasing spotlight on the benefits will drive uptake and lead to further jobs and investment from the private sector. With the number of projects and policies within the energy space growing, coordinating intervention across the space ” from policy and regulation to the role played by the private sector ” will be essential to ensure a smooth journey towards sector maturity.”

Current forecasts anticipate that demand for hydrogen will continue to steadily increase towards 2050. Data suggest that global hydrogen demand will require additional generation of 35-1,100TWh per year by 2030, increasing to 300-19,000TWh per year by 2050.

However, the challenge for hydrogen, according to DLA Piper, is to unlock pathways to the production of blue and, in particular, green hydrogen, and to serve increasing demand with decreased reliance on those methods of production which do not serve the zero-carbon agenda. The report sheds light on the different approaches to that which are being taken around the world.

James Carter, UK head of energy and natural resources at DLA Piper, said: “All aspects of the energy and natural resources sector, across the globe, are going through immense change as they seek to address climate change issues and engage with energy transition. There are also significant economic drivers supporting that change, most notably the global need for sustainable economic recovery in a post-pandemic world. It is in that context that cleaner (and clean) hydrogen presents an opportunity to radically change the energy mix in many jurisdictions in a way that has long term benefits for both the planet and the global economy. At DLA Piper we look forward to playing a leading role in that.”

Pamela Largue
Pamela is a senior content creator and editor and has been a part of the Clarion content team for over seven years. She specializes in international power and energy-related content.