Ecoaction supports the EU-Ukraine cooperation within the framework of the European Green Deal initiative with the goal to decarbonise its economy and implement the Paris Agreement. We believe that hydrogen has a role to play in these processes. However, it should not be overestimated due to a number of technological limitations. And the primary focus of Ukraine’s climate and energy policies should not be put off track.
- Energy efficiency and renewable energy must come first.
- Hydrogen is not a silver bullet for all sectors. It should be used only for those processes that can’t easily be electrified and powered directly with renewable electricity, or during hours when renewable electricity is unavailable. Why? Because renewable electricity is much more efficient to produce than renewable hydrogen and thus more likely to be cost-effective.
- At the same time, hydrogen might have a big role to play in such sectors as heavy vehicle transport, production of green building materials such as steel and cement, long-distance shipping, aviation and some other industries.
- Hydrogen has to be green: produced from renewable energy.
- Hydrogen use should be prioritised only when there are no practicable alternatives.
- For selected sectors hydrogen could be used but it has to be a green H2.
- If hydrogen is made with renewable electricity (green hydrogen) it can be considered as a climate solution and a zero-emissions technology in a number of sectors
- Hydrogen production should be based on additional / excess renewable energy and should not compete where renewables-based electricity could be used directly, e.g. in the heating or land transport sectors
- There should be zero support for hydrogen based on fossil fuels (even if carbon capture and storage technology is used)
- Hydrogen originating from fossil gas through steam methane reforming cannot be considered as green, and thus cannot be a solution in the face of the climate crisis
- Hydrogen production linked to nuclear power must not be supported as well in a view of high risks and environmental impacts of nuclear power.
- Impact on the environment from hydrogen production has to be clear.
- Hydrogen is not a technology, it is an energy carrier that can be produced clean or dirty. Hence, understanding environmental impacts of hydrogen production is essential.
- Just like for renewable and other projects, Environmental Impacts Assessments (EIAs) have to be done to identify which consequences hydrogen production has on biodiversity, water and environment.
- Government needs to clearly define sustainability criteria and processes for hydrogen import-export which account for the carbon and environmental footprint of traded hydrogen as well as its environmental impact on water and land use.
- Governance of potential hydrogen infrastructure must be clarified and set in the legislation.
We are grateful to Francesca Bellino and Tsimafei Kazlou for their help in preparing the analytical basis for the development of this position.