Decarbonisation of district heating systems, certification of hydrogen, development of a unified position on EU regulations, selection of cross-border hydrogen projects - these are the priority activities of the 3 Seas Hydrogen Council, the first platform in Europe bringing together CEE countries.
The 3 Seas included hydrogen organisations from Poland, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary and Ukraine. The agreement was signed in May during the Central European Hydrogen Forum in Poznań.
The council's task is to define strategic directions in the development of the hydrogen economy for the region, using the technological, scientific and economic potential of its countries. The council also wants to represent the common demands of the industry to the EC and the European Parliament and to have a voice in the redistribution of funds for hydrogen projects.
- The challenges facing the hydrogen sector in the CEE region are complex and require joint action. As the association Hydrogen Poland, which is the originator of 3 Seas, we have defined the key areas on which to focus first - says Paweł Piotrowicz, president of Hydrogen Poland.
Paweł Piotrowicz, CEO Hydrogen Poland
One is the decarbonisation of district heating systems. The initiative is based on a common architecture of district heating systems in its member countries, where heat markets are regulated (unlike in Western Europe).
- This architecture allows renewable hydrogen to be produced at a competitive cost today, without a support system. Meanwhile, Western Europe does not have (apart from Denmark) district heating (centralised), so our optics in designing regulation are not and have not so far been considered to the extent they deserve - says Tomoho Umeda, vice president of the Hydrogen Poland association.
The next task will be to develop Net Zero certification Hydrogen projects involve risks, as a result of which their bankability is low. To change this, the European Commission has proposed certification criteria - Net Zero. 3 Seas wants to help develop these criteria so that hydrogen projects of 3 Seas countries are bankable.
One of the priorities is also to analyse and select cross-border demonstration, test or commercial projects that promote the use of hydrogen as a clean energy source in the region. Such projects could include hydrogen production, hydrogen infrastructure, transport, renewable energy, energy storage, etc. They will aim to develop local areas and innovative solutions. This will also involve broadening and deepening regional cooperation with industry organisations and local authorities.
The 3 Seas Hydrogen Council intends to engage in obtaining adequate funding, from both public and private sources, to enable investment in hydrogen technologies, research and development of the sector. Access to adequate financial resources is key to successfully scaling hydrogen projects in the region.
- We will also develop a unified position on EU regulations. This includes the area of electromobility or support for the use of hydrogen in industrial processes, e.g. in connection with Net Zero Industry - announces Beata Superson-Polowiec, lawyer on the HP board.
The documents with the most extensive impact on the Community's economy include, above all, the next iteration of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED III), together with a delegated act concerning Renewable Fuels of Non-Biological Origin (RFNBO) and a delegated act concerning the Methodology for the Calculation of Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions from the Use of RFNBO and Recycled Fossil Fuels.
An initiative whose details Central and Eastern European countries are eagerly awaiting is the European Hydrogen Bank, which is likely to take the form of a feed-in-premium contract awarded in an auction formula. It is intended to be a bridge to connect supply and demand for the new raw material/energy carrier, whether produced in Europe or imported.
The organisation now faces the election of its board of directors, the development of strategic goals and action plans for the coming months. One of these is to join Hydrogen Europe, the largest European organisation promoting hydrogen technology, and to open an office in Brussels.
Tomoho Umeda, Vice-President of Hydrogen Poland
- It is time for hydrogen Europe to hear the voice of our region. Through concerted action and commitment from all parties, our countries' hydrogen sector has the potential to lead the energy transition in Europe - concludes Tomoho Umeda.
PHOTO - PHOTOBUENO