Image: EESC

The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) intends to initiate a procurement procedure for a study on the role of hydrogen in decarbonizing resource- and energy-intensive industries (REIIs).

This announcement is made in accordance with Annex I.14 of Regulation (EU, Euratom) 2018/1046 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 July 2018 on the financial rules applicable to the Union’s general budget, to award a low-value contract following a negotiated procedure. It is being publicized in advance of the procurement procedure to provide interested economic operators with the opportunity to express their interest in participating as a tenderer in the forthcoming procurement procedure.

All economic operators based in the European Union, the European Economic Area, or countries that have signed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement and who have demonstrated experience conducting studies on similar themes are eligible to participate.

The various resource- and energy-intensive industries (REII) sectors (chemical, steel, cement, ceramics, glass, and paper) have developed road plans for gradually decarbonizing their manufacturing processes in order to meet the EU’s 2030 and 2050 greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. Decarbonisation of industry will be directly dependent on the availability of adequate, affordable low-carbon energy sources to enable low-carbon industrial production.

Hydrogen is a critical and strategic component of achieving the European Green Deal’s and Europe’s clean energy transition goals, and the availability of large quantities of hydrogen for the substitution of carbon, which is currently used as a reducing agent in many manufacturing processes, is a critical factor in decarbonizing manufacturing processes in REII sectors.

However, projecting hydrogen demand is currently difficult. This is because there are currently no credible scenarios based on estimates of the capability to generate the required massive amounts of electric energy from renewable sources at affordable prices. Along with energy availability, efficient transportation of these resources from the point of production to the point of consumption is required, as is pricing that enables EU industry to compete fully.

The study should offer an overview of some of the major problems associated with the use of hydrogen as a renewable energy source in the context of the REIIs, including hydrogen production, the necessary infrastructure for safe storage, and transportation networks.

Concentrating on the steel industry, the study should next go deeper into the issues of green hydrogen utilization and energy pricing. Additionally, it should examine the steel industry’s anticipated hydrogen requirements in the European Union between now and 2050, taking into consideration the EU’s progressive implementation of the hydrogen plan and complementary actions supporting industrial decarbonisation in the sector.

The study should draw conclusions from its findings and make tangible policy recommendations to the EU on how to gradually decarbonize manufacturing processes in the REIIs, particularly in the steel sector, through the use of green hydrogen.

Desk research should be conducted to compile information and data from relevant studies, publications, scientific papers, and other sources of information. A quantitative examination of available data and statistical projections may also be necessary to determine the hydrogen requirements of the steel sector in the European Union from now to 2050.

Nedim Husomanovic

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