The German government is to transfer more than €3.5bn ($3.8bn) to the country’s pioneering green hydrogen purchasing programme, H2Global, in order to fund further subsidy auctions for renewable H2 and its derivatives this year, the company tasked with managing the scheme has announced today (Monday).

Stay ahead on hydrogen with our free newsletter
Keep up with the latest developments in the international hydrogen industry with the free Accelerate Hydrogen newsletter. Sign up now for an unbiased, clear-sighted view of the fast-growing hydrogen sector.

The Hydrogen Intermediary Network Company (Hint.Co), which uses the funds it receives to auction subsidies for green hydrogen imported into the EU, has received a grant notification from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) for €3.53bn.

Hint.Co acts as both hydrogen buyer and seller in H2Global’s “double-sided” auction. The specially- formed company buys green hydrogen or its derivatives on ten-year contracts and sells volumes onto end-users via one-year offtake agreements, with the difference in price between the two made up from Hint.Co’s funding pot.

The aim is to provide green hydrogen producers with the long-term revenue certainty they need to get their projects off the ground, without exposing potential buyers to the “green premium” demanded for renewable H2.

The grant brings the total contribution from the German government so far to €4.45bn, including the €900m promised for the scheme’s recent pilot auction, close to the “more than €5bn” promised by Berlin last year, which was itself built on an earlier pledge of €4bn.

“The grant is tied to the next iteration of double-sided tenders modelled after the H2Global mechanism,” said the H2Global Foundation, which is also funded with donations from private-sector energy giants such as Uniper, BP, Shell, RWE and Total, in a statement online.

H2Global told Hydrogen Insight that the latest tenders will be launched this year, although the exact number of auctions is “still to be determined”.

“Final decisions will be made with the provider of the funds, the BMWK,” a spokesperson said.

H2Global is yet to give a firm date to reveal the winners of its recently-closed €900m pilot auction, but told Hydrogen Insight it expected to publish the results in “late spring”.

The latest grant has been released shortly after Germany’s parliament approved the country’s 2024 budget — however, the funds were first promised last year, as part of the 2023 budget.

Taken with the €300m committed by the government of the Netherlands in 2023 for an auction early this year, this latest grant notification takes total public funding for the programme to €4.73bn, H2Global said.

The Netherlands has additionally agreed to jointly fund a €600m auction with the German government. The Australian government is also in talks to jointly fund a €400m auction with Germany — although this is still not yet confirmed — and a similar discussion is under way with officials from the United Arab Emirates.