H2Global – Building international hydrogen markets

About halfway between Montreal and Quebec City, the small town of Bécancour on the Saint Lawrence River has 13,000 inhabitants. The current world record holder in membrane electrolysis is located in the industrial park, between medium-sized chemical and refinery operations. With a capacity of 20 MW, fed by abundantly available hydropower, the PEM electrolyser supplies 8.2 t of hydrogen per day to part of the local industry.

Seen from the outside, a lot has already happened recently in the development towards a global hydrogen economy. More than 20 countries have adopted national hydrogen strategies between 2017 and today. Big announcements have also been made by the industry; the Hydrogen Council now estimates the global investment pipeline at 500 billion dollars.

But the example of Bécancour also shows: Only where climate ambition, the cheapest electricity prices and year-round availability of renewable energies coincide will larger green hydrogen plants be built. After several years of trend-setting strategies on the part of policy-makers and major announcements on the part of industry, there is accordingly still a gap between what is wanted and what is economically feasible today.

The federal government wants to address this gap via the H2Global funding programme and fund at least five larger, non-European projects via ten-year purchase agreements. In each case, 100 MW of electrolysis capacity is to be put out to tender. 900 million euros in funding is available for this from the National Hydrogen Strategy.

In the design of the funding programmes, lessons were learned from past experience, because the purchase subsidy ensures predictable and guaranteed income. Unlike the usual capital funding of individual projects, continuous purchase is guaranteed for the contractually defined periods and quantities. The experience of two decades of EEG subsidies has also taught us that the development of volumes can be controlled politically, but that pricing must also be thought out from the perspective of the market.

H2Global therefore relies on a double auction system instead of fixed feed-in tariffs. An intermediary (broker) is to tender the provision of fixed quantities of H2 at prices determined competitively and thus as cheaply as possible and then sell it to the highest bidder. This creates a contract for difference and thus an H2 market. It is assumed that the necessary financial balance between the willingness to pay on the demand side and the cost structure of the supply decreases over time until the intermediary – and thus the need for state promotion – eventually becomes obsolete.
With a first round of tenders later this year, a foundation is to establish international hydrogen supply chains with funding, but crucial questions are still open.

A say for the federal government

The basic mechanism of H2Global is thus simple and effective. This construct receives equal praise from the Federation of German Engineers (BDI) and the Federal Economics Minister, […]

… Read this article to the end in the latest H2-International

Authors: Kilian Crone & Friederike Altgelt – both from German Energy Agency (dena), Berlin

1 thought on “H2Global – Building international hydrogen markets”

  1. Just a moment, please. The initiator of the 20MW electrolyser,
    the French gas company Air Liquide, is not mentioned here.
    That above mentioned electrolyser stands on the site of their refinery in Bécancour, Canada.
    I was there, on the east coast of Canada.
    They were, by the way, the same people who supplied very black hydrogen
    to just a handful of hydrogen buses to Whistler, BC the yea 2010 for the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, BC. The 2010 Winter Olympics,
    officially known as the XXI Olympic Winter Games and also known as Vancouver 2010,
    were an international winter multi-sport event held from February 12 to 28, 2010 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and in the nearby resort town of Whistler
    However, that place is on the Canadian west coast.
    Canada is the largest country in the world, the distance is: 4,639 km = 2,883 Miles, via Trans-Canada Hwy.
    A normal passenger car needs in average 48 hours for that route. Driving two day and two nights, without stopping for a pee or to filling the tank
    At that glorious times, the hydrogen in question was towed from Bécancour to Whistler with an unknown number of heavy-tonnes, heavy-duty diesel trucks.
    An unbelievable waste, luckily only a temporary one, of greenhouse gases under the mantle of renewables.
    But only few people noticed that.
    On the buses it was written in big letters: 100% steam, 100% clean …
    And what happened to the highly acclaimed hydrogen buses with Ballard fuel cells inside from the Olympic Winter Games in 2010?
    After the end of the Olympics, they were restored (retrofitted) to their original diesel operation modes with diesel engines.
    Well, it works. As long as you don`t look carefully.


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