As indicated in the REPowerEU Plan, the “development of port infrastructure and their connection to both industrial and transport users in the vicinity will be of critical importance” for increasing the demand for renewable hydrogen in Europe to 20 million tonnes per year in 2030.

Up to 42% (22 Mt, or 730 TWh) of total hydrogen demand in the EU in 2050 could be located in port areas, shows the first report of a study conducted by Deloitte Belgium for the Clean Hydrogen Partnership, published in March 2023. Port ecosystems are expected to play a crucial role in the expansion of the European hydrogen market through 2050. First, as energy transit hubs facilitating the import of hydrogen and its distribution, and second, as investors in dedicated infrastructure to produce, import, store, and distribute hydrogen to multiple end-users in the wider port areas and/or into the hinterland.

The second report, published on September 20, 2023, is informing relevant port related stakeholders (including policymakers) on the required non-technical (policy, regulatory, governance, strategic, etc.) enablers, areas of priority for research and innovation projects and required safety regulations, codes, and standards for the timely development of hydrogen related activities and infrastructures in EU port ecosystems.

The third report, expected by the end of 2023, will examine several case studies highlighting the techno-economic feasibility of developing a range of hydrogen-related activities and infrastructures in the vicinity of ports.

In parallel, the organization of multiple European Hydrogen Ports Network events all along the duration of this study help create impetus for the main European representatives of the port ecosystem to come together, exchange, connect and take a long-term perspective on hydrogen take-up in European ports.

The first report, in an “ambitious base scenario”, projected that by 2050 around 75% of hydrogen demand could be met by European green hydrogen production (400 TWh – 1,300 TWh). Solar PV is expected to be the most economically competitive renewable energy
source to produce hydrogen (at a levelized cost of hydrogen of around 2.2 EUR/kg). The projected local production is largest in Spain,
Denmark, Greece and Italy. This local ocal European hydrogen production is expected to be supplemented by green and blue hydrogen imports, representing 25% of total hydrogen supply. North of Africa and the Middle East are expected to be the main supplier.

As for the required renewable power 160 – 720 GW of solar PV, supplemented by 40 -125 GW of wind onshore and 35 – 80 GW of wind offshore will be required by 2050, in the base supply scenario, depending on the demand scenario. In the increased import supply scenario, solar PV is almost 3x lower than in the base supply scenario, leading to a need for 240 GW of solar PV, supplemented by 85 GW of wind onshore and 20 GW of wind offshore.

In 2030 the increased import supply scenario will require corridors  from Spain to France (Atlantic coast), from Italy, Croatia and
Greece to Eastern Central Europe and from Greece to Bulgaria and Central/South Romania. Import infrastructure is required in Italy, Croatia and Greece to accept hydrogen for the hinterland.
In 2040: Import infrastructure in Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark and North of Germany, and in Baltics, Finland and Sweden. A corridor from North Africa to Western Mediterranean coast.
In 2050: Corridor from France (Atlantic coast) to Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark and North of Germany.

According to Deloittes Global Green Hydrogen Outlook 2023 net-zero compliance in 2050 will require over US$9 trillion of cumulative investments in the global hydrogen supply chain, including US$3.1 trillion in developing economies, with average annual investments over this 25-year period, totalling  less than the US$417 billion spent on oil and gas production in 2022. Deloitte’s outlook suggests
that China, Europe, and North America—the main consuming regions, also accounting for more than half of production— invest US$2 trillion, US$1.2 trillion, and US$1 trillion, respectively. Significant funding should also be raised in developing and emerging economies, including about US$900 billion in North Africa, US$400 billion in South America, and US$300 billion each in Sub-Saharan Africa and Central America.

Map: Courtesy of the Clean Hydrogen Partnership