A clear message emerged from the Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking (FCH JU) hosted session Hydrogen and Fuel Cells greening European industry: Hydrogen (H2) and fuel cells are essential to the future of European industry.

At this year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) - the flagship conference for the sustainable energy community across Europe - FCH JU and FCH JU projects featured in more than half a dozen events. It’s clear that fuel cell and hydrogen technology is set to play a big part in Europe’s transition to a low carbon economy.

Speaking at the session, Bart Biebuyck, FCH JU’s Executive Director underlined the role of H2 in Europe’s clean energy future, through enabling renewables integration and sectoral integration. Industry remains the most difficult sector to decarbonise, but the efforts of the FCH JU and the industry grouping Hydrogen Europe, big industries are discovering the potential of H2.

Biebuyck’s message was reinforced by Tudor Constantinescu, Principal Adviser to the Director General for DG Energy in the European Commission, who was also speaking at the session. Constantinescu highlighted the overall objective of EU energy policy: to achieve “secure, sustainable, competitive energy for the future”, and that in this context, “H2 has great potential to help decarbonise the industry sector”.

Already, this potential is being realised. One example, the FCH JU-funded project Demo4Grid, uses green H2 in the food industry.

“Now is the time to change, from fossil to green. We are proud to be part of this change,” said consortium member Ewald Perwög, from MPREIS Warenvertriebs GmbH, presenting the benefits of H2 in the sector.

Further testimony came from Rudolf Zauner, of Austria’s leading electricity company Verbund, “Steel production accounts for 30% of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions globally. In the FCH JU-supported project H2FUTURE, we use green H2 to tackle this problem.”

A call to action came from Frithjof Kublik, Senior Consultant Business Development at Shell, who said that the role of H2 for storage for intermittent renewables and sector coupling needs to be further incentivized by EU funding programmes post-2020.

From the previous day’s session on Europe’s vision for the energy system of the future, co-hosted by FCH JU project CertifHy, it was clear that H2 will play an integral part in making the vision a reality.

Nigel Holmes, Scottish Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association, described the findings to date of the FCH JU- supported project BIG HIT, “The future energy system will be fully integrated. H2 technology will play a key role in the clean energy transition, H2 is the technology of today.”

Key messages from this EUSEW18 panel on Europe’s vision for the energy system of the future, “The future is electric, but not only electric. H2 from renewable energy sources will be a part of the solution. Sound business models are already being deployed to scale.”