According to the Skies and Seas Hydrogen-fuels Accelerator (SASHA) Coalition, it was positive to see an emphasis by the EU on reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 90% by 2040 compared to 1990 levels, but how will it affect the shipping and aviation industries?
his ambitious target is not only aligned with the EU’s commitments under the Paris Agreement but also reflects the urgent need to address climate change and its far-reaching consequences in all sectors, the Coalition notes. This includes prioritising hard-to-abate sectors such as shipping and aviation.
While the SASHA Coalition applauds the inclusion of international shipping in the EU’s 2040 targets, it urges the Commission to not overlook international aviation in its decarbonisation ambitions. The Coalition also supported the following ideas surrounding the new EU legislation:
Stimulating investment and innovation
The announcement provides a clear policy direction, highlighting the central role that green hydrogen should play in achieving emission reduction targets. This clarity fosters investor confidence and encourages innovation in green hydrogen production, storage, and utilisation technologies tailored for maritime and aviation applications.
To support the widespread adoption of green hydrogen in shipping and aviation, significant investments in infrastructure will be necessary. This includes the establishment of hydrogen refuelling stations for aircraft and port facilities equipped for hydrogen fuelling of vessels. Policy frameworks need to prioritise the development of such infrastructure, ensuring seamless integration into existing transportation networks.
Regulatory frameworks and standards
EU-wide policy initiatives will be required to establish regulatory frameworks and safety standards for the production, storage, and transportation of green hydrogen in maritime and aviation operations. Clear guidelines and certification processes will ensure the safe and efficient use of hydrogen as a fuel, addressing concerns related to handling and storage.
The EU’s commitment to climate neutrality and the recognition of green hydrogen in their pathway towards carbon neutrality by 2050 presents opportunities for international cooperation and collaboration. By engaging with international partners, the EU can work towards harmonising regulations, sharing best practices, and facilitating the global adoption of green hydrogen in the shipping and aviation industries both within the EU and internationally.
Economic and social implications
The transition to green hydrogen in shipping and aviation will have economic and social implications. Policies need to prioritise a just transition, ensuring that workers in industries affected by decarbonisation are supported through retraining and job placement programs.
Additionally, measures should be implemented to address any potential cost disparities between traditional fuels and green hydrogen, promoting equitable access and affordability.
What’s the policy path for green hydrogen?
The European Commission’s announcement sets a precedent for the development of a clear policy trajectory for the future of green hydrogen in the shipping and aviation industries. At the same time, achieving any of the proposed 2040 climate targets relies heavily on Europe’s ability to fulfil its 2030 goals, which are more than double the projected 3Mt figure, under the Fit for 55 legislative packages for aviation and shipping.
This legislation mandates binding targets for hydrogen and low-carbon fuel usage in industry and transport. Success hinges on the determination of European institutions and Member States to accelerate the establishment of a hydrogen market through adequate EU, state and market support mechanisms, facilitating private capital investment.
By providing a framework for investment, innovation, and collaboration, EU policymakers can pave the way for a sustainable and resilient transportation sector that contributes to global efforts to combat climate change.