European HYDROGEN WEEK kicked off today, CLEAN HYDROGEN partnership launched, UNIQUE CROSS BORDER HYDROGEN VALLEY between Italy, Slovenia and Croatia and city Zagreb were mentioned in opening speech by president URSULA VON DER LEYEN

Brussels, 29.11.-3.12.2021

The second edition of the European Hydrogen Week kicked off today in Brussels, with an opening address from the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen.  Almost 2000 registered participants are joining online speakers from across Europe and beyond to discuss how to move forward in the transition to a clean hydrogen economy in the EU and beyond.

One of the highlights of the Hydrogen Week is the launch of the Clean Hydrogen Partnership, which will take over all the activities of existing FCH JU.

President Ursula von der Leyen said in her opening speech: “Clean hydrogen will have a central place in the climate-neutral economy of the future and I am proud of Europe’s role as the world’s clean hydrogen trailblazer. At the beginning of this year, more than 200 new hydrogen projects had been announced globally. 55 per cent of them are in Europe… We have to scale-up clean hydrogen production, expand its applications, and create a virtuous circle where demand and supply feed each other and bring the prices down. This is without any doubt a global endeavour, but I want Europe to be leading the race”.

“This new Partnership builds on years of cooperation promoted by the Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking. And many thanks for that. And it brings that model to the next level. It is a new big step forward to bring innovative technologies from the laboratory to the factory and, ultimately, to European businesses and consumers” (..)  “Clean hydrogen is the energy of the next generation”, said President von der Leyen.

… If we are to meet our climate goals, we need to accelerate in the European hydrogen economy…….Hydrogen valleys, we spoke about it, are a perfect example of the hydrogen economy we want to build. Take, for example, the Groningen area – in the Northern Netherlands. The region has large quantities of renewable energy from its offshore wind turbines. Two electrolysers will use this renewable energy to produce green hydrogen. This hydrogen will then power up industries, it will fuel public transport, it will heat up homes, and be stored underground. By the end of 2025, the Northern Netherlands will host a complete green hydrogen value chain. And this hydrogen valley will create more than 20,000 jobs in the region. It is a project we are proud to support. And we are expanding the same model to other areas, there are many areas that want to follow, from the island of Mallorca to the border region between Italy, Slovenia and Croatia. This is how we can accelerate the hydrogen economy on a local scale, on our way towards a European hydrogen economy as a whole, said President von der Leyen.

The Climate Conference in Glasgow was a stark reminder that the world still has a long way to go towards climate neutrality. But today, clean technologies are rapidly becoming reality. The first hydrogen planes could fly in Europe’s skies already in the next decade. And thanks to NextGenerationEU, our Investment Plan, European cities such as Zagreb will soon have hydrogen buses, or hydrogen-fuelled taxis in Copenhagen. Clean hydrogen is the energy of the next generation. So let us speed up the transition together, to reach climate neutrality by 2050 – it is a big goal – and to propel our economy already today, concluded President Ursula van der Leyen at her speach.

Jernej Vrtovec, Slovenian minister for infrastructure expressed Slovenian comittment to deliver its part towards net zero carbon future and support for clean hydrogen. Slovenia is proud, that a new initiative was born for Cross border Hydrogen Valley between Slovenia, Italy and Croatia and on November 24th endorsment to support the project by three countries was made, said minister Vrtovec.

He expressed support for already approved pan-europeand defence project RESHUB, which is lead by SI-MOD and for infrastructure project Zero emission mobility corridor slovenia developed by comapny ECUBES, which is also fully alligned to meet user requirements set by defence project RESHUB. I am really proud, that last week we have opened the very first hydrogen refuiling station in Slovenia, concluded minister Vrtovec at his speach.

Jean-Eric Paquet , Director-General of DG Research and Innovation, highlighted the importance of hydrogen valleys: “to further build the hydrogen economy in the EU, we need to ensure that the whole of the EU benefits from hydrogen production scale up, distribution and end-users applications, more European Hydrogen Valleys for instance are needed and it would be important to build connections between old and new European Hydrogen Valleys”.

René Schutte, Chair of the FCH JU Governing board, mentioned in turn: Hydrogen as “hero net zero” is necessary to meet the climate goals. Building the hydrogen value chain and economy unleashes many opportunities in Europe as a frontrunner to create skills, knowledge and jobs. This can only be obtained by a joint research and innovation agenda and joint investment from public and private partners. The Clean Hydrogen Partnership will strongly contribute to this.

“A new energy system is emerging in a very clear way (…)  Everybody loves hydrogen because it can be produced from different energy sources, for different uses, and it will be one of the backbones of the new energy economy” , concluded Dr. Fatih Birol, Director of the International Energy Agency”.

“The Clean Hydrogen Partnership is built on more than a decade of successful research and innovation in Europe and it is now ready to contribute to Europe’s green evolution together with the other partnerships. It’s a great result for the entire community and I’d like to congratulate the industry, research and policy partners as well as the programme office for their work during these past years”, commented Bart Biebuyck, Executive Director of the FCH JU.

The Council of the EU has adopted on 19 November the regulation establishing Clean Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (Clean Hydrogen Partnership).

Clean Hydrogen will build on the success of FCH JU to accelerate the development and deployment of a European value chain for clean hydrogen technologies, contributing to sustainable, decarbonised and fully integrated energy systems. The EU will support the Clean Hydrogen JU with €1 billion euro for the period 2021-2027, complemented by at least an equivalent amount of private investment (from the private members of the partnership).

Together with the Hydrogen Alliance, it will contribute to the achievement of the Union’s objectives put forward in the EU hydrogen strategy for a climate-neutral Europe. It will focus on producing, distributing and storing clean hydrogen and on supplying sectors that are hard to decarbonise, such as heavy industries and heavy-duty transport applications.

Read the full speech of President Von der Leyen at the opening of the European Hydrogen Week.

Read the full Council Regulation on establishing joint undertakings under the Horizon Europe programme.