The German government is planning to introduce new legislation — a Hydrogen Acceleration Act — in the first half of next year to set new rules and regulations for H2 infrastructure, Hydrogen Insight has learned.

Blue hydrogen will also be promoted for the first time, as part of a new update of the national hydrogen strategy, the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) tells this publication.

Hydrogen: hype, hope and the hard truths around its role in the energy transition
Will hydrogen be the skeleton key to unlock a carbon-neutral world? Subscribe to the weekly Hydrogen Insight newsletter and get the evidence-based market insight you need for this rapidly evolving global market

The current national hydrogen strategy, released in 2020, left no room for blue H2, which is produced from natural gas with incomplete carbon capture and storage.

Blue hydrogen will also not be eligible for the planned EU Contracts for Difference subsidies.

German daily newspaper Tagesspiegel reported last week that it had seen a draft of the new hydrogen strategy, which includes 800km of new hydrogen pipelines and 1,050km of natural gas pipelines that would be converted to transport H2.

The BMWK would neither confirm or deny the plans for H2 pipelines when contacted by Hydrogen Insight, but it did confirm that blue hydrogen would be included in the new national strategy, explaining that it would be “needed in the transition phase to meet demand, especially from industry”.

In other words, the German government does not believe that the renewable energy supply can be ramped up fast enough to produce sufficient quantities of green hydrogen to meet the coming demand for clean H2.

The new Hydrogen Acceleration Act — which is being worked on by five government ministries — would set the framework conditions “to accelerate planning and approval procedures for infrastructure construction”, the BMWK tells Hydrogen Insight.

According to Tagesspiegel, this will include speeding up the construction of new hydrogen import terminals and building H2 pipeline to neighbouring countries such as the UK and Norway, as well as nations further afield such as Ukraine, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria.

In May, the German government passed the LNG Acceleration Act to allow faster approval of the new liquefied natural gas terminals needed to enable the replacement of the Russian methane that had long been imported via dedicated pipelines.

A spokesperson for the BMWK said that the strategy update would state that “the network and storage facilities and import infrastructures must be expanded quickly”.

No further details could be given, she explained, “as the strategy is still being agreed”.