The EU’s two Delegated Acts defining green hydrogen and its derivatives have today become law after being published in the Official Journal of the European Union.

The new rules on so-called Renewable Fuels of Non-Biological Origin will come into force in 20 days.

“This means legal certainty for both producers and consumers of renewable hydrogen, and is a pivotal step to attract the necessary investments to decarbonise our energy system,” said EU energy commissioner Kadri Simson.

One of the acts sets out methodology for calculating greenhouse gas emissions from renewable and recycled carbon fuels to ensure a 70% reduction in CO2-equivalent between the nearest comparable fuel.

The other, more controversial act defines the rules for what counts as “renewable” hydrogen (or one of its derivatives). These include:

  • Additionality: Developers will have to install new renewable energy assets at most three years before the electrolyser starts producing hydrogen
  • Temporal correlation: Hydrogen production has to be matched to renewable electricity production on a monthly basis up until the start of 2030, when it will have to be matched within the same one-hour period
  • Geographical correlation: The renewable energy assets have to be located in the same electricity bidding zone as the electrolyser

These rules are set to equally apply to green hydrogen imported into the EU, thereby setting a kind of global standard for countries that hope to export renewable H2 to Europe.

The EU aims to produce ten million tonnes of green hydrogen by 2030, while importing the same amount from outside the bloc.

Hydrogen Europe boss Jorgo Chatzimarkakis has described the rules as a “straitjacket” that will unnecessarily increase the price of production and put off potential exporters of green H2.

In the US, where the Treasury is supposed to unveil its definition of green hydrogen this summer — which is a necessary step ahead of the roll out of clean H2 tax credits — major hydrogen companies have been lobbying against any kind of additionality requirements.