Gateway to a safer future of the Old Continent


The President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, and the Executive Vice-President for EU Competition, Margrethe Vestager, announced in early February this year that hydrogen will become a strategic technology for Europe to achieve its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. Another important piece of information released just a few days ago is the publication by the European Commission of the long-awaited definition of 'green' hydrogen. This fact should give the market certainty necessary to start the planned investments.

On 16 and 17 May of this year, the greatest authorities representing the broadly understood hydrogen environment will meet in Poznań. It is here, at the Poznań Congress Centre on MTP Poznań Expo fairgrounds, that the 2nd Central European Hydrogen Technology Forum H2POLAND, organised by Grupa MTP, will take place. This event is directly related to the changes taking place in Europe leading to the popularisation of the use of hydrogen technologies in many areas of the economy – from transport, through heating and energy, to the use of H2 in everyday life of each of us.


Pillars of the new plan

The ambitious 'Industrial Plan' presented at the beginning of February by the EU authorities – as this part of the 'European Green Deal' was called – will be based on several pillars, each of which concerns hydrogen technologies and their applications. The proposed changes, in line with the current EU climate policy, are to take place faster and faster, and the permitting processes are to be accelerated, as well as the development of the technologies themselves. Issues such as state aid in crisis situations or transitional periods, providing direct support for the production and storage of renewable hydrogen or its use in industry are also important.

The pillars mentioned by the EU authorities also include simplification of the regulatory environment, faster access to financing and the establishment of a European Hydrogen Bank. It will be extremely important to provide appropriate qualifications to people involved in creating a new hydrogen market, as well as to create a programme enabling retraining of staff working today in the 'dirty' sectors of the economy.

– To thrive, our new net-zero industries need a legislative framework. These must be implemented faster and be much more predictable than at present. We want the hydrogen industry to stay in Europe and prosper more and more. That is why we must adapt to American solutions and start applying them, which means assistance from individual countries and tax reliefs for the entire H2 sector – said Ursula von der Leyen in early February, while Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, CEO of Hydrogen Europe added: – We are very pleased to welcome the statement by President Ursula von der Leyen confirming that hydrogen is a key strategic technology in the energy transition. We hope that EU support will be extended to the entire hydrogen ecosystem, and state aid will work more effectively, giving new opportunities for the development of clean technologies.


Green hydrogen defined

Another important information for the hydrogen market is the publication in mid-February of this year by the European Commission of the long-awaited definition of renewable, i.e. the so-called green hydrogen. This is an assurance for producers and investors that the hydrogen they produce can be sold as renewable in the European Union. So far, many planned EU subsidies for the production of green hydrogen could not move forward because there were no appropriate definitions.

The key – and most controversial – decision was how to ensure that renewable energy is used to produce green hydrogen using electrolysers. There were fears that electricity from fossil fuels would be needed to replace green electricity used to produce hydrogen, leading to an overall increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

The most important question was how to act in situations where the wind is not blowing and the sun is not shining. Could producers use electricity from the grid – which could have been produced using gas or coal – during such periods, and then feed equivalent amounts of renewable energy into the grid at a later date to compensate for this? And under what circumstances would it be allowed?

It was agreed that producers of renewable hydrogen will be able to run their electrolysers, provided that the total amount of electricity consumed from renewable sources corresponds to the total amount of renewable hydrogen produced in a given calendar month on an annual basis. This is to allow producers of renewable hydrogen to supply a steady stream to their customers, especially in those cases where there is no hydrogen infrastructure or storage capacity yet. These solutions seem to be a compromise between the expectations of ecologists and the possibilities of green hydrogen producers.


At the same time, it was ensured that, for example, solar energy in southern Italy could not be used to produce hydrogen from renewable sources in northern Sweden. The new directive says that the electrolyser must be located in the same 'tendering zone' as the renewable energy produced. The new delegated acts of the Commission must now be approved by the European Parliament.

The 2nd Central European Hydrogen Technology Forum H2POLAND will be held at the Poznań Congress Centre on MTP Poznań Expo fairgrounds on 16-17 May 2023. It will be an opportunity to analyse the current economic situation in the world, in Europe and in our country, its complexities and unobvious impact on the environment with the main emphasis on the economic potential for the development of the hydrogen economy in our part of Europe. Participants will attempt to answer the fundamental question – whether the global economy, and at the same time ours (Poland is the fifth producer of hydrogen in the world and the third in Europe, although not necessarily its most desirable, 'green' version), are prepared for such far-reaching changes as introduction of hydrogen into general use.

H2POLAND is a platform for the exchange of expert knowledge that brings together representatives of government administration, local government units, entrepreneurs, and the science and business environment open to modern, environmentally friendly technologies. Importantly, the uniqueness of the event is based on the combination of the fair exhibition with the conference part, and the subject matter fits into the REPowerEU plan that assumes affordable, safe and sustainable energy for Europe, which in these times of much unrest, energy turbulence, and even warfare, may turn out to be a gateway to a safer future for the Old Continent.

The first edition of the H2POLAND Forum took place in Poznań in May 2022. During two very intense days, nearly one hundred experts from around the world appeared on three stages, and over one and a half thousand guests from all over Europe participated in conferences, discussion panels and the fair exhibition.


The 2nd Central European Hydrogen Technology Forum H2POLAND will be held on 16–17 May 2023 on MTP Poznań Expo fairgrounds.