The ‘Hydrogen and Decarbonised Gas Market Package’ (Hydrogen Package), which the European Parliament is due to vote on in the autumn, plays a decisive role for the development of hydrogen infrastructure. Even small adjustments to definitions can make a major contribution to its openness towards technologies and ensure a forward-looking hydrogen infrastructure.
Dr Daniel Teichmann, CEO and founder of Hydrogenious LOHC Technologies
In November 2022, the European Parliament will vote on the Hydrogen and Decarbonised Gas Market Package (Hydrogen Package), which will create the basis for the development of the entire hydrogen economy in the EU. This regulatory framework for hydrogen infrastructure follows similar approaches to those adopted for natural gas – however, hydrogen differs from natural gas in several respects, ranging from production to transport and storage. To make hydrogen transportable it can, for example, be liquefied (-253° C) or attached to molecules such as ammonia and ‘hydrogen carriers’ such as Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carried (LOHC).
In the present draft of the Hydrogen Package, however, technologies such as LOHC are not considered as an option for storage and transport of hydrogen. Rather, infrastructure facilities such as hydrogen terminals are currently defined only for ammonia and liquid hydrogen. Adapting the definition makes sense, in order to enable other hydrogen carriers to be used and guarantee openness towards technologies.
What needs to be observed regarding the requirements for the degree of purity of hydrogen
The requirements for the degree of purity of the hydrogen that are being proposed for hydrogen terminals and storage facilities as parts of the hydrogen system might present an additional potential obstacle for new hydrogen transport technologies. At present, only a very high degree of purity is envisaged for the hydrogen, which means that hydrogen carriers such as ammonia and LOHC could be excluded. Purity requirements of this type should not apply to the hydrogen carrier itself, but rather only to the hydrogen that is released from such hydrogen carriers.
Why the inadequate definition for smaller hydrogen storage plants might prove problematic
The definition for hydrogen storage is also highly imprecise at present and, in addition, excludes small hydrogen storage facilities. However, the storage infrastructure can come in various sizes and volumes, which means that excluding smaller hydrogen storage plants in the framework of the Hydrogen Package would create further obstacles.
Three sensible changes to the Hydrogen Package that will permit new technologies
Adapting these three points in the draft of the Hydrogen Package opens the gates for the application of new technologies and development of the infrastructure for transporting and storing hydrogen. At the same time, these changes would create new opportunities for importing hydrogen from the entire world with the aid of hydrogen carriers, thus reducing dependency. Naturally, depending on the technology, detailed regulation is necessary as the next step.