In-depth

Made in Europe

20 major electrolyser manufacturers, including Nel Hydrogen, Siemens Energy and Thyssenkrupp Nucera, are working together to support Europe’s hydrogen industry and curtail the influx of cheap Chinese imports.

As reported by the Financial Times (paywall) and Reuters, the manufacturers have together signed a letter calling on the European Commission President nominee Ursula Von der Leyen to ensure a level playing field and require more “made in Europe” standards for the industry.

“I don’t want to give up on Europe. If we don’t create demand for European technology in Europe, we squander the opportunity for European OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] to win,” says Nel Hydrogen CEO and President Håkon Volldal.

A key message in the letter is that Chinese subsidies for state-owned hydrogen companies create a skewed playing field that puts European manufacturers at a significant disadvantage. This is happening as the EU is getting tougher on trade with China.

The push for European resilience criteria is aimed at supporting the build up of a resilient value chain in Europe as well as Europe’s ambitions to become a leader in the production of renewable hydrogen. Renewable hydrogen is seen as a key way to reduce emissions from heavy industry and heavy duty transport. The EU wants to produce 10 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen and import another 10 million tonnes by 2030, as part of its plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

European manufacturers want important parts of the electrolyser production process (cell assembly, cell stacking and surface treatment) to be made in Europe for the next round of funding from the EU’s hydrogen bank later this year. The results of the EU hydrogen bank pilot auction reveal that less than half of the awarded projects plan to rely on European technology.

Nel Hydrogen and the other electrolyser manufacturers hope that their efforts will lead to new rules that support the development of European renewable hydrogen value chain and help European electrolyser manufacturers compete against Chinese imports.

Read the full letter here.

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