All hands on deck of EU’s famous acronyms these weeks, as on May 27, 2020 the EC (EU Commission) presented its €750 bln Recovery fund, or Next Generation EU Plan,  5.3% of EU’s GDP,  to address EU’s GDP falling -7.4%  by the end of this year. EC president Ursula Von der Leyen said “the bulk of the money” will go to a “Recovery and Resilience tool” to fund public investment and reforms to support the EU transition to “a climate-neutral, digitalised and resilient” economy. The Green Deal Recovery Plan, will be part of this tool, including a massive budget (up to 45 bln), compared to previous years for hydrogen infrastructure development. The Green Deal Recovery Plan includes a 1 M(ln)ton per year of Green Hydrogen Production ambition ( total EU production is currently 8 Mtons mostly grey hydrogen) and indicated potential price levels of €2,5 – 5  per kg for electrolyser based hydrogen, € 1,5 -2,5 and € 1 euro for grey hydrogen) 

In addition the CEF Committee on June 4 -5, 2020 will decide on the content of future EU transport calls that will need to include funding for mobile applications to complement funding in EU’s Horizon Europe research funds as mentioned in the Green Deal Recovery Plan.

A timely push in this direction on May 20, 2020, came from Dutch Member of the EU Parliament, (MEP), Caroline Nagtegaal – van Doorn, the deputy for Mobility of the provincie of Zuid-Holland Floor Vermeulen and  Dieke van Groningen, deputy responsible for the Port of Rotterdam of the City of Rotterdam in an op-ed article in Dutch newspapers for much needed capital and regulation to facilitate hydrogen inland shipping on EU’s main transport corridors in line with the Port of Rotterdam’s hydrogen hub ambition, to replace its pole position as oil and coal harbour.  The CEO of the Port of Rotterdam, Allard Castelein, announced on May 7, 2020 “plans to construct a public hydrogen network in the port area.” The Port of Rotterdam is looking at a potential of 20Mtons of hydrogen annually to be transported or produced through its terminals. Tis would require 200GW of wind power; the Dutch part of the  North Sea currently has 1 GW in wind farm capacity, that could be increased to only 60-70 GW by 2050. Further upstream the recent announcement of the Cologne Stadtwerke Distibution System Operator HGK, taking over the inland shipping activities of Imperial, seem to proof their point that inland shipping is ready for a clean fuel transition. Therefor conditions to obtain the necessary Rhine and EU certificates for these ships should be softened as the Dutch article suggested. Also for this purpose the long awaited German H2 Strategy is expected to offer some necessary backing.

This shift of gears in hydrogen EP, EC and MS support could eventually indeed lure the Next Generation including Elon Musk’s new baby (the real one, not his SPACE X),  X AE A-XII opt for a FCEV,  when he will be a rebellious teenager…