Green Hydrogen: Europe as Pioneer and Loser?

by | 28. Jun 2022 - 13:47 | Politics

Study by the Mercator Institute for China Studies sheds light on China’s emerging hydrogen industry.

Germany wants to be no less than a global pioneer in the field of green hydrogen technology. A separate strategy paper on this environmentally friendly energy carrier was adopted in 2020. It outlines how international cooperation can succeed in decarbonizing industry and also the transport sector through the use of this gas.

Much of the hydrogen in this scenario will have to be imported because, according to the authors, there would be insufficient generation capacity. Solar- and wind-rich countries could take over the generation, and Germany could provide the technical know-how. However, there is reason to be concerned about the technical lead, because China has also recognized the potential of green hydrogen, according to a study presented today by the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS). The country already accounts for one third of the world’s production capacity for electrolysers. The emerging hydrogen industry can also rely on strong government support at every stage of the value chain.

Nevertheless, Chinese industry experts believe that it will take at least five years for the domestic technology to catch up with the world’s leading companies. Meanwhile, European companies that bring knowledge to China as suppliers or through joint ventures are also helping to shorten this period. Against this background, MERICS advises companies to protect intellectual property and maintain their technological edge. The German business newspaper Handelsblatt, which reported on the study in advance, points to Europe’s former pioneering role in photovoltaics. In the meantime, China dominates in this area, also thanks to technology exports from Europe.

The complete study can be found here.

Photo: iStock/audioundwerbung

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