The EU’s updated Renewable Energy Directive (RED III), which among other measures sets targets for renewable hydrogen use in industry and transport, has passed a vote in European Parliament today (Tuesday).

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The legislation, which had 470 votes for and 120 against with 40 abstentions, includes a target of 42.5% of hydrogen used by industry, including ammonia and chemicals production, oil refining and green steel manufacturing, by 2030 to be renewable, as defined in the previously passed Delegated Acts.

The target rises to 60% by 2035.

However, these targets can be discounted by 20% if member states can prove that their national contribution to the overall EU renewables target meets their expected contribution, and if the share of hydrogen from fossil fuels consumed in the country is not more than 23% in 2030 and 20% in 2035 — opening the door for France to produce some of its industrial H2 from nuclear power.

RED III also sets a requirement for 1% of all fuels supplied in Europe so-called Renewable Fuels of Non-Biological Origin (RFNBOs), ie green hydrogen or its derivatives, by 2030. And it mandates 1.2% of shipping fuels supplied by EU ports by that year to be based on renewable H2.

Hydrogen can also be used to meet the wider target for transport to have either share of renewable energy within the final consumption of energy in the transport sector of at least 29% by 2030; or a greenhouse gas intensity reduction of at least 14.5 % by 2030.

However, while the EU’s Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Regulation is expected to result in further deployment of refuelling stations and thereby make it easier for the switch from diesel to hydrogen, passenger and light-duty vehicles are more likely to go electric to meet these targets due to greater “well-to-wheel” efficiency and cheaper costs.

However, while the updated directive has cleared Parliament, it will still have to be formally voted on by the Council of the EU before it can be published into the EU’s Official Journal and become law.

Once the new directive is in force, member states will have 18 months to update their national laws and regulations to comply with it — although delaying their revisions this long would give them less than a year to meet 2025 subtargets within the legislation.