Green Hydrogen and Ammonia Imports Are Cost-Competitive Solution to Europe’s Dependence on Fossil Fuels in Heavy Industry
New RMI report details how green hydrogen and ammonia imports can help displace imported fossil fuels in European industry and shipping, if policymakers take coordinated action now
Boulder, CO – May 12, 2022
Europe can only achieve its climate and energy security goals with a rapid deployment of imported “green” hydrogen and ammonia made from renewable energy — powerful, low-carbon energy sources that can replace fossil fuels and feedstocks in key parts of the economy.
A new RMI report finds imports of green hydrogen are already cost-competitive and can substitute most fossil fuels used by European heavy industry, weaning sectors off Russian natural gas. With current and expected natural gas prices, green ammonia imports are cheaper than fossil-based “gray” ammonia and can be deployed in the shipping sector as a green bunker fuel as well as in established chemical industries.
“Every day that Europe waits to enable green hydrogen and ammonia imports is money squandered,” said report coauthor Thomas Koch Blank, senior principal at RMI, an independent nonprofit focused on transforming the global energy system for a clean, prosperous, zero-carbon future.
The report outlines the actions that European policymakers should take in expanding the REPowerEU initiative and other upcoming regional policy decisions, including creating straightforward incentives focused on infrastructure for industrial hubs, as well as supporting a certification system and import rules that prioritize low-carbon fuels.
“Promoting the development of hydrogen and ammonia hubs in key industrial demand centers — especially those where ammonia is already being imported and used in the chemical and fertilizer industries — will be a crucial first step in developing the emerging green hydrogen supply chain,” said report coauthor Oleksiy Tatarenko, RMI principal and secretary of the Green Hydrogen Catapult.
Including green hydrogen and ammonia in trade policy with renewables-rich countries like Australia, Brazil, Chile, North African nations, and Ukraine will enable imports to reach the continent as early as 2024.
“There is a significant business opportunity for these countries — one which business leaders and policymakers should be keen to engage on,” said coauthor Natalie Janzow, senior associate at RMI.
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Alexandra Wall, Strategic Communications Manager of the Climate-Aligned Industries Program, RMI
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RMI is an independent nonprofit founded in 1982 that transforms global energy systems through market-driven solutions to align with a 1.5°C future and secure a clean, prosperous, zero-carbon future for all. We work in the world’s most critical geographies and engage businesses, policymakers, communities, and NGOs to identify and scale energy system interventions that will cut greenhouse gas emissions at least 50 percent by 2030. RMI has offices in Basalt and Boulder, Colorado; New York City; Oakland, California; Washington, D.C.; and Beijing.