This spring saw the start of the first Hydrogen Republic Germany idea competition, created and funded by the German education ministry. As part of the initiative, a total of EUR 56 million will go to 71 partner organizations involved in 16 basic research projects. Additionally, three industry-led hydrogen flagship ventures named H2Giga, H2Mare and TransHyDe will focus on answering fundamental questions about hydrogen economies, in order to provide a scientific basis for new product developments and application scenarios.
Once again, the two major German political parties lock horns over the national hydrogen strategy, increasing pressure on the governing coalition to decide before the summer recess. In early May, twelve MPs from the Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) circulated a statement demanding a rapid escalation in renewable hydrogen facilities and calling for new partnerships with African countries.
Hot on the CDU’s heels, the Social Democrats (SPD) issued their version, pressing for a more ambitious hydrogen strategy and faster capacity additions.
Who can make the most of hydrogen and fuel cells? This question seems to have sparked a fierce competition between several German government ministries since late 2019 as they are vying with each other for control over the debate. Their tug-of-war began spreading through the political landscape when hydrogen became an issue to campaign on early this year, prior to the Hamburg state elections. Although the Christian Democrats were the ones who actively promoted the technology for a while, public opinion seems to have shifted in favor of what the Social Democrats are planning to do with it.
Hardly anyone had expected such a rush. 300 participants were expected. But then 600 registered, and finally 700 came to the stakeholder conference for the National Hydrogen Strategy on 5 November 2019 in Berlin. However, the great interest is not really surprising, as a total of four federal ministries sent out invitations.
In the middle of the summer break, Federal Economics Minister Peter Altmaier announced what the hydrogen and fuel cell industry has been waiting for for many years: a hydrogen strategy for Germany.