In the early hours of this morning, negotiators from the European Parliament and Council of EU ministers reached a “provisional political agreement” for 42% of all hydrogen used in industry — for existing purposes such as fertiliser and chemical production, and oil refining — to be renewable by 2030, while also setting new targets for green H2 use in transport.

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The proportion of green hydrogen that must be used by industry will rise to 60% in 2035, but the agreement leaves room for individual member states to reduce these figures by 20% under two conditions: if countries’ national contribution to the binding overall EU renewables target meets their expected contribution, and if the share of hydrogen from fossil fuels consumed in the member state is not more than 23% in 2030 and 20% in 2035.

This allows states such as France to use a lot of nuclear-derived H2 in their hydrogen mix.

The agreement on the Renewable Energy Directive also sets binding targets for the use of green hydrogen in transport.

Member states can choose between a 14.5% reduction of greenhouse gas intensity in transport from the use of renewables by 2030, or at least a 29% share of renewables within the final consumption of energy in the transport sector by 2030. So this would largely be the use of renewable energy in electric vehicles.

However, there is a combined sub-target that 5.5% of the share of renewables in transport must come from “advanced biofuels” (generally derived from non-food feedstocks) and green hydrogen or its derivatives — known in EU parlance as “renewable fuels of non-biological origin” (RFNBOs). Within this, there is a minimum requirement for 1% of RFNBOs in the share of renewable energies supplied to the transport sector in 2030.

The term “provisional agreement” in EU terminology simply means that it still needs to be approved by formal procedures in both the European Parliament and Council.

“We finally have clear investment signals through binding targets for renewable hydrogen in both industry and transport,” said Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, CEO of trade body Hydrogen Europe.

“Hydrogen Europe welcomes the adoption of this key piece of legislation, which forms the foundation for a solid clean hydrogen economy in Europe. This directive solves one of the largest pieces of the hydrogen puzzle, setting a predictable market volume for renewable hydrogen.”

The hydrogen targets are part of the wider Renewable Energy Directive, which raises the EU's binding renewables target from 32% of the bloc's electricity by 2030 to 42.5%, with an aim of reaching 45% by the end of the decade.

Also included in the directive are new “faster and easier” permitting procedures for renewables projects, with dedicated “acceleration areas” in each member state — which will also benefit green hydrogen projects.