Hydrogen discussed as a key factor to achieve climate goals

Ljubljana, 31 January - A debate in Ljubljana on Tuesday heard that hydrogen is one of the key factors with which the EU member states will achieve the pursued climate goals, so it is necessary to step up related activities, with cross-border cooperation being of great help to individual countries.

A hydrogen charging station.
Photo: Daniel Novakovič/STA
File photo

Vesna Nahtigal, the director general of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), one of the hosts of the Slovenian-German Hydrogen Day, noted that the competitiveness of industrial production in the EU was dropping in light of high energy prices.

"The only solution is to take even more decisively and quickly the path of low-carbon circular economy to achieve the green transition," she said at the event co-hosted by the Slovenian-German Chamber of Commerce and the German Embassy.

The debate agreed that in order to achieve this goal, more attention needs to be paid to hydrogen, in particular green hydrogen, as this is an energy source and fuel that, instead of carbon dioxide, produces water as a by-product.

Nahtigal noted that the GZS supported several hydrogen projects, including the North Adriatic Hydrogen Valley project, adding that cross-border cooperation was of great help in the promotion of progress in the field of hydrogen energy.

Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation Igor Papič said hydrogen technologies would help de-carbonise the power production in Slovenia, adding that the country could serve as a location for major demonstration projects in this field.

While admitting that the technology is not yet fully ready and still too expensive, Papič believes that there is still enough time to prepare it, with Slovenian and German companies being ready to cooperate in such projects.

German Ambassador Natalie Kauther said that green hydrogen was the energy of the future, noting that the German government had prepared a framework for improving hydrogen production.

Since 2021 Germany has invested more than EUR 8 billion euros in 62 hydrogen-related projects, she said, adding that Slovenia and Slovenia and Germany were on a similar path when it came to hydrogen.

Dagmar von Bohnstein, the head of the Slovenian-German Chamber of Commerce, said that the two countries could help each other in hydrogen technologies and in achieving carbon neutrality goals.

Storage of energy produced from renewable sources is meanwhile a greater challenge, which is why the chamber will host an event on this topic in March, she announced.

Stefan Wenzel, the parliamentary state secretary at the German Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, said there was "no other technology for decarbonising the iron and steel industries and part of the chemical industry than hydrogen."

Wenzel believes that hydrogen could help the EU achieve its climate goals and improve energy efficiency and security. While development of hydrogen technologies is a pan-European effort, this should be encouraged at the global level, he added.

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