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How Far Away is Hydrogen? Its Role in the Medium and Long-term Decarbonisation of the European Energy System


Hydrogen is a promising avenue for decarbonising energy systems and providing flexibility. In this paper, the JRC-EU-TIMES model – a bottom-up, technology-rich model of the EU28 energy system – is used to assess the role of hydrogen in a future decarbonised Europe under two climate scenarios, current policy initiative (CPI) and long-term decarbonisation (CAP). Our results indicate that hydrogen could become a viable option already in 2030 – however, a long-term CO2 cap is needed to sustain the transition. In the CAP scenario, the share of hydrogen in the final energy consumption of the transport and industry sectors reaches 5% and 6% by 2050. Low-carbon hydrogen production technologies dominate, and electrolysers provide flexibility by absorbing electricity at times of high availability of intermittent sources. Hydrogen could also play a significant role in the industrial and transport sectors, while the emergence of stationary hydrogen fuel cells for hydrogen-to-power would require significant cost improvements, over and above those projected by the experts.

Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Italy ; Netherlands

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